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An Interview with Felicia Stephan, Foreign Law Intern

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Today’s interview is with Felicia Stephan, a foreign law intern working with Jenny Gesley on research related to the laws of Germany and other German-speaking jurisdictions at the Global Legal Research DirectorateLaw Library of Congress

Describe your background.

I am originally from Tübingen, a small town in the south of Germany, where I grew up with an older sister. Both of my parents are librarians and with the internship at the Law Library of Congress, I am finally following in their footsteps.

Felicia Stephan standing in the great hall of the Library of Congress.
Felicia Stephan. Photo by Donna Sokol.

What is your academic/professional history?

I studied law in Heidelberg, Germany, with a focus on public international law. During my studies, I spent an exchange semester in Turku, Finland, and I worked as a research assistant both for a law firm and for a professor.

After graduating from law school in January 2017, I worked as a research and teaching assistant for a professor with a focus on human rights law and international humanitarian law, and I started writing my PhD thesis in the field of international dispute resolution.

Since August 2017, I am pursuing an LL.M. degree at the George Washington University Law School with a specialization in international and comparative law. After this semester and the internship, I will participate in a program on human rights law at the University of Oxford and finish my PhD back in Germany.

How would you describe your job to other people?

I work as a legal intern in the Global Legal Research Directorate of the Law Library of Congress. I am assigned to assist in conducting research on several jurisdictions (Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, the Netherlands, and the European Union) and to contribute articles on recent developments in these jurisdictions for the Law Library’s Global Legal Monitor.

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

I attended a comparative law class last semester and was fascinated when I learned about the comparative and international law research and reference services provided by the Law Library to Congress, courts, federal agencies, and the public. The Library’s amazing collection, the largest in the world, plus the intersection with politics convinced me instantly.

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

It is a unique institution which collects publications from countries all over the world; in some instances, the Law Library’s collection is even more extensive than in the country itself which guarantees the continuing existence of many rare books, even in the case of loss in the country of origin.

I was really fascinated by the tunnels which connect the different buildings of the Library and Congress. One can even find a Dunkin’ Donuts down there!

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

Typically German, one of the first things I bought here in Washington was a bike (which I now rarely use as my Americanization proceeds rapidly), and untypically German, I tend to be late most of the time (but of course only in my free time).

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