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An Interview with Sarah Ettedgui, Foreign Law Intern

Today’s interview is with Sarah Ettedgui, a foreign law intern working with Nicolas Boring at the Global Legal Research Directorate, Law Library of Congress.

Describe your background.

I was born in Montreal, Quebec, in Canada. My mother is Sephardic (Jewish of Moroccan and Spanish descent) and my father is Salvadoran, which has enabled me to learn four languages – French, English, Hebrew, and Spanish.

What is your academic/professional history?

I completed a psychology degree (B.Sc.) in 2014 and a civil law degree (LL.B.) in 2017 at the University of Montreal. I passed the Quebec bar examinations last December and will begin my legal apprenticeship (articling) in January 2019. I am currently completing a common law (J.D.) degree at the University of Montreal.

While working on my civil law degree, I participated in a summer exchange program in international and comparative law at the University of Costa Rica. My team’s personal project focused primarily on a comparative approach to intellectual property rights and, more specifically, on patents granted to pharmaceutical companies.

Sarah Ettedgui. [Photo by Donna Sokol.]

How would you describe your job to other people?

I am an intern for the Global Legal Research Directorate and work under the supervision of Nicolas Boring, foreign law specialist for French-speaking jurisdictions. We receive requests from the U.S. Congress, executive agencies, the federal judiciary, as well as from the public, and conduct research in our assigned jurisdictions, which include France, Belgium, Luxembourg, and other French-speaking countries, mainly located in Africa.

As part of my duties and responsibilities, I am to provide legal briefs and report on the most recent legal developments in my assigned jurisdictions. In addition to this, I am to write articles for the Law Library’s blog In Custodia Legis and for the Global Legal Monitor.

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 represented an opportunity to perform meaningful and unique work in a collaborative environment. The Library of Congress is the world’s largest library and one of its missions is to preserve and promote knowledge and creativity, not only for lawmakers and jurists, but also for the benefit of the public. I wanted to contribute to this specific mission while developing my own legal and research skills by having my work reviewed by a highly qualified team of foreign legal specialists.

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

Considering my cultural background and identity, I have always been interested in Judaic studies and Jewish history. I came here knowing that the Library of Congress had the world’s largest library collection, including an impressive Hebraic collection. I was still stunned when I got the chance to witness some of the collection’s treasures, following my meeting with Dr. Ann Brener, Hebraic Area Specialist of the African and Middle Eastern Division of the Library.

The Library holds thousands of volumes printed either partly or entirely in Hebrew, including a 15th century copy of Maimonides’ משנה תורה (Repetition of the Torah) and a 16th century copy of מורה נבוכים (Guide for the Perplexed). Being able to see, read, and hold those books, which are a part of my heritage, was not only interesting, but very touching as well. I feel very privileged to have amazing colleagues, such as Ms. Ruth Levush, who made my meeting with Dr. Brener possible.

First book of the Hebrew Bible to be printed was the commentary of David Kimhi on the Psalms, published in 1477. Church authorities in Italy heavily censored these religious texts, with entire passages crossed out by the censor’s pen. In the photo displayed here, the owner has handwritten in the margin all that was initially crossed out by the censor. [Photo by Sarah Ettedgui.]

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

I am proud to be the oldest daughter of a family of seven children (Miriam, Bina, Rachel, Ethan, Golan, and Ness). I wanted to mention this because my greatest wish is for all of them to one day grow up, read this blog, and find their own way to educate themselves, and also preserve and promote knowledge for others.

One Comment

  1. Hanna
    August 22, 2018 at 12:59 pm

    I believe we all have a mission on earth. Those who have the privilege of recognizing it, pursuing it and reaching it will not only get the satisfaction of having achieved a great project, but most importantly will have touched their loved ones and the whole humanity. You are one of the amazing women of this world, engaged in the beautiful road called success!! Continue, for the whole world is watching!

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