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An Interview with Niousha Riahi, Global Legal Research Intern

Photo Credit: Donna Sokol

Photo Credit: Donna Sokol

Today’s interview is with Niousha Riahi, an intern with the Global Legal Research Center of the Law Library of Congress.

Describe your background.

I have just completed my L.L.B. degree at l’Université de Montréal.  I am passionate about human rights and am committed to volunteering and working for human rights causes. I therefore contributed to legal research projects for the Iranian Unicef office and for the Ligue des droits et libertés (League of Rights and Liberties), Québec  Section.

I love to learn about different areas of law. During my studies I gained experience in diverse subjects by interning at Canada’s Department of Justice and by participating in several competitions at the National Model United Nations 2012, the Jean-Pictet moot court, and at the Aboriginal Law (Plan-Nord) discussion forums. I also worked as a legal assistant at a private law firm that specializes in immigration and administrative law.

How would you describe your job to other people?

The Law Library of Congress conducts legal research in foreign, international and comparative law. The requests come from the United States Congress, other federal agencies, and courts, as well as from individuals. The responses to requests vary and include analytic reports, memos and reference information.

My work as a foreign law intern is to contribute to legal research projects involving Canadian legislation and common law, under the supervision of Mr. Tariq Ahmad. Foreign law interns are encouraged to participate in the Law Library blog, In Custodia Legis, and I intend to contribute a blog post on a Canadian legal topic. I look forward to the experience of using what I have learned (this summer) to contribute to the Law Library’s blog.

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

The work in Law Library of Congress enables me to further my study by conducting research in a variety of fields of law from different countries. Having a keen interest in legal research, I have found the experience of conducting research and preparing responses to the Law Library’s diverse clients very stimulating. The Law Library offers an immense and impressive collection of legal resources from all around the world. Its ambiance encourages mutual exchanges between colleagues and makes it a unique place for young lawyers to work.

In addition, living in Washington, D.C. is a real asset. Washington has lots of events and conferences given by notable institutions; it has beautiful parks and flowers in which one can jog in the evening; and visiting the Smithsonian ensures you will never feel bored during the weekends.

What is the most interesting fact you have learned about the Law Library of Congress?

My experience at the Law Library of Congress is really rich in terms of learning. The most interesting fact that I have learned is to be courageous and not fear the unknown. It was  here I came to understand that there is no legal question which cannot be researched or answered. The law experts of the Law Library of Congress can conduct legal research on any field of law from any country or jurisdiction, analyze it and explain the information to requesters who may not necessarily have any legal expertise.

In addition, I believe that the outstanding work of the Law Library of Congress is inspired by cooperation between its employees. Each foreign legal expert and each member of the editorial group and administrative staff collaborate together to work efficiently and joyfully. 

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

I have lived without my parents since I was fifteen years old as they have moved back to Iran. Since that time, I have mostly lived with my elder sister and recently my elder brother who left France to join us in Montreal.

I adore dancing and I have participated in a few performances, notably, in festival de Weekends du Monde de Montréal in the summer of 2013.

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