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A photo of Legal Research Fellow Louis Gilbert outside the Library of Congress Madison Building
Louis Gilbert, legal research fellow, outside the Library's Madison Building. Photo by Louis Gilbert.

An Interview with Louis Gilbert, Legal Research Fellow

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Today’s interview is with Louis Gilbert, who is working in the Global Legal Research Directorate of the Law Library of Congress as a legal research fellow.

A photo of Legal Research Fellow Louis Gilbert outside the Library of Congress Madison Building
Louis Gilbert, legal research fellow, outside the Library’s Madison Building. Photo by Louis Gilbert.

Describe your background.

I was born and raised in Paris, France. My mother is American and my father is French, so I grew up speaking both English and French at home. I have been living in Washington, D.C., since 2018, and though I sometimes miss Paris, D.C. continues to grow on me.

What is your academic/professional history?

After high school, I studied law at Université Paris Ouest Nanterre. I was lucky enough to be accepted into a double degree program, which gave me the opportunity to obtain an LL.B. from the University of Essex as well as a French License de Droit from Paris Ouest. After studying law in England and France, I was accepted into another double degree program between Nanterre and American University in Washington, D.C., where I obtained an American J.D. and a French master’s degree in comparative law.

I am admitted to the D.C. bar, and so far I have had the opportunity to work for law firms, international organizations, and the European Commission in Brussels, Belgium.

How do you describe your job to other people?

I tell people that my job is to respond to legal research requests concerning French-speaking jurisdictions from Congress, the judiciary, federal agencies, and members of the public. I also help write reports on legal and legislative developments in the French-speaking jurisdictions I cover.

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

I first wanted to work for the Library of Congress after hearing alumni from my school praise the work environment. I also wanted to work in an environment that would allow me to switch between reading and writing in English and French throughout my work day. What really pushed me to apply was the idea that the work in the Global Legal Research Directorate involves not only researching multiple jurisdictions, but also switching between varied legal subject areas.

Ultimately, it’s the friendliness of the people I have met working here that makes me want to stay.

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

I learned that in addition to its extensive physical collection, the Library also houses over three million sound recordings. I also learned that the library maintains a database of free-to-use audio that includes music recorded by the U.S. government, field recordings, and other recordings dedicated to the public domain. As a music producer, this resource is a goldmine of interesting sounds to sample from!

What’s something that most of your co-workers don’t know about you?

While most of my coworkers know that I am an avid painter, I actually started my creative journey as a music producer. I make soundtracks for documentaries and produce instrumental tracks (beats) for rappers I meet around the D.C. area and New York.

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