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Stephania Alvarez. Photo by Stephania Alvarez.

An Interview with Stephania Alvarez, Foreign Law Specialist

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Today’s interview is with Stephania Alvarez, a foreign law specialist covering South and Central American countries. Stephania recently joined the Global Legal Research Directorate of the Law Library of Congress

Describe your background

I was born in Cali, Colombia, to a Colombian father and an American mother. I spent a decade of my childhood in Florida, where I grew up speaking English and Spanish. Then, I moved back to Colombia where I stayed until 2021. Soon after, I moved to Paris, France, for a year, and since 2022, I have been living in Washington, D.C.

What is your academic/professional history?

My academic journey commenced at a Christian school in Cali, Colombia. Afterward, I enrolled at Icesi University, where I initially pursued anthropology. However, a few semesters in, I discovered my passion for law and opted for a dual degree. I graduated with bachelor degrees in law and anthropology from Icesi University in 2021. Immediately following my graduation, I was accepted into a double master’s program with Sciences Po Paris, France, and Georgetown Law Center. This program enabled me to earn a Master of Environmental Policy and a Master of Laws in environmental and energy law, respectively. My professional experience includes internships at several institutions, including Earthjustice, Georgetown University Law Center, and Tecnoquímicass S.A.

How would you describe your job to other people?

My passion for legal research led me to apply and become a legal research fellow at the Law Library of Congress in the Global Legal Research Directorate under the supervision of Hanibal Goitom. Currently, I serve as a foreign legal specialist. When asked about my job, I explain that it involves responding to legal research requests related to South and Central American jurisdictions from Congress, federal agencies, and private patrons. This entails drafting letters, emails, memos, and reports in response to these requests. Additionally, I contribute to the Global Legal Monitor, the Law Library’s online publication covering legal news and developments, by writing articles about legal developments in these regions.

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

My aspiration to join the Law Library of Congress was fueled by a deep-seated interest in legal research and a desire to be in public service. I saw working for this prestigious institution as an invaluable opportunity to hone my legal research skills. The prospect of supporting Congress and government agencies with legal research, coupled with research on diverse jurisdictions and legal subject matters within the Global Legal Research Directorate, was a compelling factor.

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

An interesting fact is that the Library of Congress is one of the oldest federal cultural institutions in the nation and the largest library in the world. Similarly, the Law Library of Congress is the largest law library in the world, housing one of the most extensive collections of rare law books and foreign gazettes in the United States.

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

One of my greatest enjoyments is traveling and experiencing different cultures. I am also an avid rock climber and have a hobby of reading books on psychology and human evolution.

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  1. Interesting background accomplished by this woman. I would like to have some more insight into the library’s use remotely as I research questions about the Supreme Court’s process of deciding a case.

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