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An Interview with Marie-Philippe Lavoie, Foreign Law Intern

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Today’s interview is with Marie-Philippe Lavoie, a foreign law intern with the Global Legal Research Directorate (GLRD). This summer, Marie-Philippe is assisting the GLRD with Canadian law research requests. She is currently completing her LL.M degree in international law at the University of Montreal.

Marie-Philippe Lavoie standing in the Great Hall of the Library of Congress.
Marie-Philippe Lavoie, foreign law intern. Photo by Donna Sokol

Describe your background.

I am from the Province of Québec in Canada. I grew up in a very French town by the seaside, small but lovely, called Rimouski.

What is your academic/professional history?

I completed my LL.B in Québec City at Laval University from which I graduated in April 2016. I am very interested in international and public law, which led me to complete a semester abroad in Italy where I got to learn about European law and meet with students from all around the world. I am currently completing my LL.M degree in international law at the University of Montreal, while working as a research assistant in the fields of trade law and human rights.

How would you describe your job to other people?

I have two types of responsibilities. First, I respond to legal research requests regarding Canadian law from the United States Congress, executive agencies, federal courts, and the general public. Occasionally, I will conduct research regarding the law of a French speaking country, such as France, Belgium, or Rwanda.  The second part of my job is to write articles for the Global Legal Monitor on recent legal news and developments in Canada.

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

I wanted to work at the Law Library of Congress because I knew it would be an amazing opportunity to obtain knowledge in various fields of law, as well as develop my legal redaction skills in English. One of the amazing aspects of the job is that it requires me to both conduct research in multiple fields of law and to research the law in multiple countries each of which has different legal frameworks. This forces me to step outside my comfort zone, but also gives me a better understanding of foreign law.

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

There are so many interesting facts about the Law Library, but I think what has surprised me the most is learning the reason why the HUGE collection of books is located in the subbasement:  there is no floor solid enough to hold them all!

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

I am a huge fan of dispersed camping and hikes that take days. The wilder the environment, the more I enjoy it (no electricity or running water)!  In 2015, I walked “The Way of St. James” (El Camino de Santiago) in the North of Spain.


  1. All the best from the fellow who had the privilege of being the Canadian law specialist from 1979 to 2011. Hope I get to say a proper hello someday.

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