This week’s interview is with Dante Figueroa, a senior legal research analyst at the Law Library of Congress. Dante is not new to In Custodia Legis; he has written many guest blog posts.
Describe your background.
I was born in Concepción, Southern Chile, in a green and rainy land. I am the oldest of three children, one of whom is also a lawyer and the other a diplomat. I entered law school after high school and began law clerking at the age of 19. While growing up, I loved literature and history but was bad at mathematics. Perhaps this is the reason I decided to study law. Playing volleyball was one of my great passions for many years. This choice of sport made me a bit awkward in a soccer-crazed country. Following law school I moved to Santiago, Chile’s capital, where I practiced law for about 10 years.
What is your academic/professional history?
I obtained my licenciatura de derecho (J.D. equivalent) in 1992, and later obtained Master of Laws (LL.M.) degrees from the Washington College of Law in 1997 and the University of Chile in 1999. I met my wife, who is also a lawyer, in 1997 while studying in Washington, D.C. We got married in 1999 and she moved to Chile with me where we lived until 2002, when we moved back to Washington, D.C. In Chile, I worked as general counsel for two cities, a utility company, an agricultural development agency and as a staff attorney for the Chilean agency for international cooperation. My last job in Chile was with a large Chilean law firm where I practiced corporate law.
I have taught law as an adjunct professor for over 20 years both in Chile and the United States, have given many presentations on different legal topics in the United States, Latin America, Germany and Italy, and have written extensively on the topic of comparative law.
How would you describe your job to other people?
I do research and write reports on Italian, Vatican City and canon law. I have also done simultaneous English-French translations for the Global Legal Information Network (GLIN).
Why did you want to work at the Law Library of Congress?
I had come to the Law Library of Congress as a researcher while a graduate student at the Washington College of Law, and was able to appreciate the vastness of its resources. The whole concept that a single library could have significant legal sources for most of the countries of the world was just mind-boggling for me. These are the reasons that attracted me to apply for a job at the Law Library of Congress by the end of 2005.
What is the most interesting fact you have learned about the Law Library of Congress?
Among many, the fact that the Law Library of Congress has helped to reconstruct or replenish several foreign law collections around the world that, due to different reasons, have been destroyed.
What’s something most of your co-workers do not know about you?
I love outdoor life. I am an avid biker and have run fourteen marathons, including the Boston Marathon and a 50-mile race. Until 2006, when I began working here, I consistently finished among the top 10% of the fastest runners in the Washington, D.C. area local races. In addition, I very much appreciate cultured conversation and the aesthetic beauty found in art in general. For this reason, the Library of Congress’s Jefferson building is my favorite place around the Capitol Hill neighborhood.