{ subscribe_url: '/share/sites/library-of-congress-blogs/law.php' }

An Interview with Andrew Winston

Today’s interview is with Andrew Winston, a legal reference librarian in the Public Services Division of the Law Library of Congress.

Andrew Winston / Photograph by Donna Sokol

Andrew Winston / Photograph by Donna Sokol

Describe your background.

I grew up in Virginia and went to college and law school there.  I studied Ancient Greek and Latin as an undergraduate, went to law school and practiced law, and then went to library school and began a career in law librarianship.

What is your academic/professional history?

I went to college and law school at the University of Virginia.  After law school, I practiced corporate and securities law, first at Cahill Gordon & Reindel and then at LeClairRyan.  I later decided to pursue a long-held interest in law librarianship and studied library and information science at Drexel University.  I then served as a law librarian in the American Law Division of the Congressional Research Service under CRS’ Graduate Recruit Program.  After working at CRS, I served as Research & Instructional Services Librarian in the University of Richmond School of Law’s William Taylor Muse Law Library before joining the Law Library of Congress.

How would you describe your job to other people?

I help people find the legal information and knowledge they seek.  Reference librarians at the Law Library of Congress field an incredible range of questions from patrons in Washington, D.C., across the country, and around the world.

Why did you want to work at the Law Library of Congress?

The Law Library has the largest and most comprehensive collections of legal materials in existence, covering not only the United States, but also all of the other jurisdictions of the world and many former nations.  Although a wealth of legal information resources are available online for free, like the U.S. and foreign legal materials that are in the Law Library’s Guide to Law Online portal, or in subscription databases available in the Law Library’s Reading Room, the Law Library holds many materials available only in print or microform.  The Law Library’s collection enables me to engage with and resolve legal reference and research questions that I would not be able to answer anywhere else.  I also have the opportunity to work with and learn from a team of law librarians who are among the most talented and experienced in the profession.

What is the most interesting fact you’ve learned about the Law Library?

The Law Library is a closed stacks library, which means that nearly 99% of its print collection is housed in compact shelving in cavernous underground storage rooms covering an area nearly the size of two U.S. football fields.  Patrons desiring to review books held in the closed stacks simply submit an online request for them; requested materials are usually delivered to the Law Library Reading Room for use within approximately an hour.

What’s something most of your co-workers do not know about you?

I once lived in London and tended bar at a traditional Irish pub in the Kennington neighborhood.

I am also a descendant of Henry Clay, U.S. senator, member of the House of Representatives, diplomat, and secretary of state.  The Library of Congress has an extensive online collection of digital resources relating to Clay’s political career.  This collection includes, among other things, an account of a duel fought by Clay documented in letters from Devall Payne to his wife Hannah.  Readers of In Custodia Legis will know that, by doing so, Clay, who practiced law in Kentucky, violated the laws of that state; perhaps his actions also contributed to the oath against dueling lawyers in Kentucky have been required to swear since 1891.

A Guide to Chinese Legal Research and Global Legal Collection Highlights: Official Publication of Chinese Law

If you got a chance to read my previous posts on Chinese legal research, Who Makes What? and Administrative Regulations and Departmental Rules, you know that under China’s Law on Legislation, the National People’s Congress (NPC) and its standing committee make laws; the State Council makes administrative regulations; and the ministries and commissions under the […]

Introducing the Indigenous Law Portal

At the recent American Association of Law Libraries Conference, Jennifer Gonzalez, Jolande Goldberg and I had an opportunity to unveil a new Indigenous Law Portal. The Indigenous Law Portal brings together collection materials from the Law Library of Congress as well as links to tribal websites and primary source materials found on the Web. The […]

International Arbitration Law in Mexico – Global Legal Collection Highlights

This is a guest post by Dante Figueroa, a senior legal information analyst at the Law Library of Congress.  Dante is a frequent contributor to In Custodia Legis. His recent posts include Introduction to Roman Law – Global Legal Collection Highlights, Introduction to Canon Law – Global Legal Collection Highlights, Resources and Treasures of the […]

What Legal Processes are Available to the Journalists Imprisoned in Egypt?

The following is a guest post by George Sadek, a senior legal research analyst at the Law Library of Congress.  George has previously written various posts related to Egyptian law for In Custodia Legis, including about the constitutional developments in the country in the past couple of years. As has been widely reported and discussed […]

New Recommended Formats Specifications

The Library has just released its new Recommended Format Specifications, a more current set of specifications for “identifying preservable content.” Library staff, including subject matter and technical experts, joined the team led by Ted Westervelt, head of acquisitions and cataloging for U.S. Serials – Arts, Humanities & Sciences at the Library of Congress, so they could […]

English Translations of Post-Second World War South Korean Laws – Global Legal Collection Highlights

The following is a guest post by Sayuri Umeda, a senior foreign law specialist at the Law Library of Congress. It continues our Global Collection Highlights Series. Sayuri previously contributed a post on Japanese family law to this series. She also recently wrote a post on the laws and regulations passed in the aftermath of the Great […]

Laws of Tanzania – Global Legal Collection Highlights

On April 26, 2014, Tanzania celebrated 50 years of the Tanganyika and Zanzibar union.  A former German (1880s-1918) and British (1919-1961) colony, Tanganyika (now commonly referred to as mainland Tanzania) became independent on December 9, 1961.  Zanzibar, which also saw successive colonial rulers (p. 15), including under Portugal, the Busaidy Dynasty and Britain, gained its […]