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An Interview with Damian Terbiler, Foreign Law Intern

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Today’s interview is with Damian Terbiler, a foreign law intern working in the Global Legal Research Directorate of the Law Library of Congress.

Describe your background. 

A photo of Damian Terbiler standing with arms crossed.
Damian Terbiler, foreign law intern. Photo courtesy of Damian Terbiler.

I was born in Poland and raised in Melbourne, Australia. My parents brought me to New York City for the first time when I was 13 years old and I have been determined to move to the city ever since. I am thrilled that in December 2020 this dream finally became a reality.

I love the pace of the city and the friendliness that I’ve experienced across town. I cannot wait to continue exploring the United States for the rest of 2021!

What is your academic/professional history?

I knew early on in high school that I wanted to study law. After graduating, I moved to Australia’s capital, Canberra, to undertake my undergraduate law degree (LL.B.) and a bachelor of arts degree at Australian National University. During my LL.B., I worked as a research assistant for the Centre for International and Public Law, which spurred my interest in comparative constitutional law.

After completing my LL.B. in 2017, I worked as a graduate lawyer at the Australian firm Johnson Winter & Slattery, where I worked as a commercial trial attorney primarily representing Australia’s corporate regulator, the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC).

I had the desire to do an LL.M. since completing my undergraduate degree and last year I was accepted to New York University. My LL.M. focuses on constitutional law and civil rights in the United States. I am a staff editor for the Journal of Legislation and Public Policy and I also do pro bono work for the Open Society Justice Initiative on a climate-justice project.

How would you describe your job to other people?

I assist Kelly Buchanan, a foreign law specialist, on research into discrete areas of law in the Asia-Pacific region. My focus is mainly on researching parts of Australian law and I help with reports in response to requests that Ms. Buchanan receives from the U.S. Congress and federal agencies. Due to the pandemic, I am working remotely from New York.

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

I thought working at the Law Library would be a fantastic way of learning about a range of areas of law. Thus far, my research has touched on consumer law, the automobile industry in Australia and the U.S., and on family law. I would never have explored these fascinating areas outside of this internship and I think that this will help me to develop into a well-rounded attorney. I am also passionate about different constitutional structures and the internship is providing valuable insight into the federal legislative process in the U.S.

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

It was very cool to see that the Library of Congress has preserved the original papers of George Washington.

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

I am a very keen tennis player! I’ve been struggling to find tennis players in New York since moving here but I’m hoping to continue with this passion as New York gradually reopens.

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