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An Interview with Viktoria Simone Fritz, Foreign Law Intern

Today’s interview is with Viktoria Simone Fritz, a foreign law intern working with Foreign Law Specialist Jenny Gesley at the Global Legal Research Directorate of the Law Library of Congress.

Describe your background.

Viktoria Fritz, foreign law intern. Photo courtesy of Viktoria Fritz.

I was born and raised in Austria. So yes, I do own a dirndl and I absolutely adore our mountains, but only for vacation. I have one sister, who is three years younger than me, and we grew up in the city center of Graz, living with our parents and right next to our grandparents. Both of my parents as well as all my relatives are from Austria and we never moved or lived abroad. This is quite unfortunate if you enjoy travelling and experiencing other cultures like I do. However, I am now trying to get as much international experience as possible and hope to broaden my horizon with every step of the way.

What is your academic/professional history?

After graduating from high school, where I focused on project management and science, I started studying law at the University of Graz. For the final stage of my law studies, I decided to focus on the law of international affairs as well as arbitration law. Currently, I am writing my master’s thesis on commercial arbitration in Austria/the European Union (EU) and the U.S., and was able to do one part of my research at NYU School of Law. Over the years, I also participated in seminars, summer schools, and language classes abroad, for example in the U.S. and Italy. Additionally, I did several internships with a lawyer’s office in Graz and worked as a student assistant at the Institute of Civil Law, Foreign Private Law, and Private International Law at the University of Graz.

How would you describe your job to other people?

Due to the current pandemic, I am doing my internship remotely from my home office in Austria. I work for the Law Library Global Legal Research Directorate, specializing in the jurisdictions of Austria, Germany, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and the EU. In this context, I help prepare responses to congressional and public patron requests submitted to the Law Library. I use my legal research skills to find needed regulations and court rulings to explain the legal situation in a foreign country to a U.S. audience. Furthermore, I also prepare Global Legal Monitor articles or blog posts on recent topics, such as legislative proposals or court decisions. I really enjoy how diverse my tasks have been so far as no issue was like the other.

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

I have been to Washington, D.C. ,only once, several years ago, and to be honest, I did not know about the Law Library until a colleague of mine told me about it and the potential opportunities at the Library, even for foreign practitioners. I was immediately amazed by the work, the purpose, the astonishing collection and the important impact of the (Law) Library of Congress. I cannot wait to see and visit it in person one day. I really enjoy being part of the Law Library and being able to support its work with my particular background and skills. To gain but at the same time to contribute experience in such an exceptional setting is a great opportunity and true honor.

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

I was, and still am, awestruck by the extent and diversity of the Library’s collections of books, films, prints, and many other artefacts. So one interesting fact would definitely be the Library having the largest collection of books worldwide and the Law Library being the most comprehensive law library in the world. Since I am experiencing my internship with the Law Library remotely from Austria, I do all my research online and get get to use the Library’s extensive online collection. It helps me prepare various drafts for congressional requests and requests from public patrons when l am looking for certain books or documents. Since it is accessible from anywhere and for everyone, it is also a great tool for my master’s thesis research, which I enjoy very much!

I was also fascinated by the number of  GLRD staff and how each and every one is specialized in their job. Another intriguing feature I cannot wait to see in person that I have heard a lot about is the tunnel system; it fascinates me!

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

As a kid I did ballet for about 10 years, and I just recently started again. I also absolutely love and adore dogs. Unfortunately, I do not own one myself… yet. I am definitely looking forward to getting one in the future, and I occasionally take dogs from a shelter for a walk. Another fact most people do not know about me is that I wrote my high school thesis on dreams and their relationship to the subconsciousness. Finally, one of my hobbies is cars and Formula 1. I share this passion with my dad, so we enjoy attending motor shows, watching races, and test-driving new cars together.

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