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An Interview with Kathryn McNickle, Foreign Law Intern

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Today’s interview is with Kathryn McNickle, a foreign law intern working with Clare Feikert-Ahalt at the Global Legal Research DirectorateLaw Library of Congress.

Kathryn McNickle in the great hall of the Library of Congress.
Kathryn McNickle is an intern at the Law Library of Congress. Photo by Kelly McKenna.

Describe your background

I am from Bangor, a town near Belfast, in Northern Ireland. I am part of the Washington Ireland Program Class of 2019, which brings 30 students to the United States for eight weeks. The program, focusing on service and leadership, is celebrating its 25th year and takes a wide variety of students from all over the island of Ireland to learn from each other and from the experiences we have in the U.S. All of us complete an internship in either Washington, D.C., or New York, and I was lucky enough to get the Law Library!

What is your academic/professional history?

I received a B.A. (Hons) in politics and modern history from the University of Manchester, in England, and am currently completing a LL.M in human rights law at Queen’s University Belfast. I am particularly interested in socioeconomic issues and women’s rights,  and these are the subjects my Master’s dissertation focuses on. I have worked for several nonprofit organizations during my studies.

How would you describe your job to other people?

Very varied! I work in the Global Legal Research Directorate, under the supervision of Clare Feikert-Ahalt. I have located and researched legislation from the United Kingdom, Ireland, and the Caribbean and written reports on subjects as wide ranging as campaign finance laws, misinformation on social media, and Brexit. As well as helping Clare respond to requests from Congress and international organisations, I have submitted blog posts for In Custodia Legis and articles for the Global Legal Monitor on legal issues from home, which has been very interesting!

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

I wanted to build my research skills, particularly in legal research, and there seemed no better place than somewhere holding over 2.9 million items! I also wanted to get more experience in writing outside of an academic setting, so writing a mixture of reports, blogs, and articles has been really useful. It is amazing to get such great opportunities in such a prestigious establishment!

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

The sheer scale of the collection is incredible; I felt so overwhelmed by the size of the basement stacks the first time I went by myself! I also have to say, the architecture of the Jefferson Building amazed me, it is such a beautiful building!

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

I did Irish dancing for about eight years when I was younger – I was never competitive, but loved it!

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