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An Interview with Sheila Hollis, New Chair of the ABA Standing Committee on the Law Library of Congress

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This week’s interview is with Sheila Hollis, new chair of the ABA Standing Committee on the Law Library of Congress. Ms. Hollis is also chair of the Washington, D.C. office of Duane Morris LLP, where she specializes in domestic and international energy and environmental matters.

A headshot Sheila Hollis with a gray background.
Sheila Hollis, chair of the ABA Standing Committee on the Law Library of Congress. Photo Courtesy of Duane Morris LLP

Please describe your background.

Westerner, great affection for Colorado, Northern New Mexico, Wyoming. As a child, I lived many places, and traveled extensively with my mother. My very small, close family was one with Old World influence from lively Irish grandparents; I loved debate, philosophy, journalism, poetry and libraries, the sanctuaries of the restless soul.

What led you to select energy law as your practice area?

Energy law came to me. Left the West for a position at the Federal Power Commission, had a wonderful experience and decided it was right for me. Lots of excitement, big complex issues of energy shortages, colorful characters and continuous changes and challenges. My mother was a designer/draftsman-nuclear, geological, electrical and other; maybe I had absorbed a lot of energy already. My practice continues to present multiple fascinating and consequential issues, and my firm provides a supportive base for these representations.

As Chair of the ABA Standing Committee on the Law Library of Congress, what are your goals for the upcoming year?

My primary goal is to work with the Law Library to bring the support and cooperation of the American Bar Association, via our Committee, to aid, encourage and provide insights and relationships to benefit the Library of Congress in general and the Law Library in particular. My sincere wish is that all Americans, not only in government and the scholarly world, will realize and utilize the extraordinary treasure trove of knowledge that makes up the Library of Congress. And, let me add that: the world as a whole benefits from the resources of the library. The collections of the Library are a huge and critical source of information and guidance to all students of the law wherever they may be. The Law Library is a key foundation in the sharing of the principles of democracy, justice and the rule of law.

Following on the remarkable and continuing success of the Magna Carta Commemorations, my goal is to continue the dissemination of history and democratic foundational materials to the American people. Of course I will be standing on the shoulders of the leadership of the Library of Congress, David Mao, and my predecessor, former Chair Medaglia and the great staff of the Law Library and the ABA staff. Providing ongoing information to the ABA, its leadership, and its members on the Law Library, its multiple benefits to the profession, and the depth of its resources is a high priority.

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

The most amazing fact is comprehending that the materials in the Law Library come to life with its outstanding staff, who are the greatest resource of all–they animate the treasured volumes with their assistance and hard work.

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

My inexplicable attraction to old cowboy music and a curious love of fast English cars.


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