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An Interview with Chris Brain, Foreign Law Intern

Today’s interview is with Chris Brain, a foreign law intern working in the Global Legal Research Directorate of the Law Library of Congress under the supervision of Clare Feikert-Ahalt, a senior foreign law specialist covering the United Kingdom

Photo of Chris Brain, foreign law intern, during the Call to the Bar at Gray’s Inn. The robe is the traditional barrister robe and the building is the Hall at Gray’s Inn. Courtesy of Chris Brain.

Describe your background.

I am from the United Kingdom (UK), born and raised in the South of England. I grew up playing soccer and guitar – both of which I still do. I chose to study law at university after discovering an initial interest in the subject and found my interest grew through study and actual legal experience. I am now in New York completing a master of laws degree (LL.M.) and taking the New York bar exam before going back to England where I intend to enter legal practice.

What is your academic/professional history?

I am currently completing the LL.M. program at Cornell Law School, having started in January 2021, and I will be graduating in December 2021. Prior to attending Cornell, I completed my bachelors of law degree (LL.B.) at Swansea University from 2016-2019, and then I completed the English and Welsh Bar Course (plus LL.M.) at BPP University from 2019-2020. I was called to the Bar of England and Wales by Gray’s Inn this summer and am looking to enter practice as a barrister in the next year.

How would you describe your job to other people?

I carry out research on legal questions – usually related to the UK – for members of Congress and the public. I also write GLM articles and blog posts for the Library on legal developments in the UK. Due to the pandemic, I am working remotely.

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

I saw this internship as an opportunity to continue building upon my research skills within a global context, which I could take with me into my future career. I also thought this would be a good opportunity to learn more about U.S. law and writing, which will aid me in my coursework at Cornell and in my career in England.

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

I found it interesting to learn about how much the Library does for the public to help their understanding of law, from answering queries from the public to publishing articles in the Law Library’s blog, In Custodia Legis.

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

I became a soccer referee at age 14 and was an assistant referee on the ninth and tenth tiers of the English soccer system at age 17.

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