Today’s interview is with Milica Škaro, a foreign law intern working with Peter Roudik, Assistant Law Librarian of Congress for Legal Research, in the Global Legal Research Directorate of the Law Library of Congress.
Describe your background.
I grew up in the city of Niš, birthplace of the Roman emperor Constantine the Great, located in the southern part of the Republic of Serbia, known for its exquisite cuisine, specific dialect, welcoming culture, and loud, warm-hearted people. I moved to Belgrade to pursue my bachelor’s studies at the University of Belgrade Faculty of Law. After graduating in 2017, I continued my legal education and earned an LL.M in employment law from the same university in 2019. I have been living in New York City for the past year, pursuing an LL.M in environmental and energy law at the New York University School of Law (NYU). Over the summer, I came to Washington, D.C., for an in-person internship at the Law Library of Congress while prepping to sit for the New York State Bar.
What is your academic/professional history?
Throughout my career, I have focused on my two passions – law and youth empowerment. After finishing my bachelor’s studies, I continued developing my legal knowledge, pleading, and writing skills by practicing corporate, commercial, mergers and acquisitions, and employment law as a legal associate. It was also important to me to take the next steps in academic and research work. I defended with honors my first master’s thesis on the topic of protection from occupational stress in Serbia. I successfully rounded up all that experience by passing the attorney’s bar exam in Serbia.
Before coming to New York, I also worked with the Novak Djokovic Foundation on improving preschool education conditions in the Western Balkan region. My role on the team was related to the Foundation’s digital communications and its cooperation with partners and donors on various corporate social responsibility projects. I had the opportunity to learn more about how to engage with relevant stakeholders and overcome obstacles when it comes to implementing sustainable and policy-related projects. But what really made that part of my career unique was seeing the immense joy on children’s faces when they entered new preschools where they can play, learn, and grow with their peers.
The combination of the legal and NGO work I did, actually inspired me to pursue an LL.M. degree at NYU in environmental and energy law. I wanted to learn more about the different aspects of sustainability and development, and how that reflects on the policy work and further changes in the private sector.
How would you describe your job to other people?
The internship at the Law Library of Congress opened the door for me to a rare chance to analyze and interpret the legal systems of Western Balkan countries for Congress and federal agencies in the United States. By assisting my supervisor, Peter Roudik, I cover the inquiries related to laws and regulations of several countries: Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia, Slovenia, Croatia, and Albania. As part of the Global Legal Research Directorate, I report on new legislative developments through Global Legal Monitor articles and provide legal opinions, research papers, and memoranda for Congress and federal agencies.
Why did you want to work at the Law Library of Congress?
To write and research at a 190-year-old institution with the largest law collection in the world – it’s every law geek’s dream!
I didn’t even know that the Law Library of Congress was such a diverse working environment with foreign law specialists from all over the world. An opportunity to read their work, meet them and hear about their experience is very enriching. It inspires me to further develop my writing and comparative analysis skills, while I also get to learn how to provide legal opinions to U.S. federal institutions.
What is the most interesting fact you have learned about the Law Library of Congress?
The first landmark I visited the first time I came to the U.S. back in 2017 was actually the Thomas Jefferson Building. I was absolutely amazed by the Main Reading Room. The fun fact I heard then was that all three buildings of the Library of Congress are connected with long underground tunnels. Little did I know that I would be going back and forth in those tunnels in the future.
What’s something most of your co-workers do not know about you?
My dream is to be a legal expert working on creative projects and ideas by day and a singer in a rock band by night.