AUWCL Students Participate in World Bank's Law, Justice and Development Week

Nov. 4, 2019

From Nov. 4-7, the World Bank will host Law, Justice and Development (LJD) Week 2019, bringing together the global community interested in using law and justice tools to contribute to development.

Since 2014, the Program on International Organizations Law and Diplomacy (PIOLD) at American University Washington College of Law has been a co-sponsor of LJD Week, with AUWCL program faculty and students supporting conference events and participating in a myriad of ways. We spoke to three PIOLD students about their involvement with LJD, participation with law and development groups on campus, and their recent internship and externship experiences with organizations like the World Bank and IMF.


2L Max Kaplan serves as AUWCL’s Law and International Development Society (LIDS) president, and is currently an extern at Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the U.S. development finance institution where he works on loan, guaranty, and tripartite agreements representing the U.S. government in the role of lender, insurer, and guarantor.

Max Kaplan
Max Kaplan

What is your role as LIDS president? What previous experiences prepared you for the position?
I help coordinate all aspects of (LIDS), including connecting with outside organizations and organizing students to produce substantive research for INGOs and IOs on a variety of topics. We also have an ongoing blog covering a variety of international development topics. Previously in the organization, I was a research editor for research on disruptive technology for the World Bank last spring.

Before coming to AUWCL, I worked with an international legal charity in London and was a project manager for a local development organization in western Ghana. Both these experiences helped me develop a broader understanding of the development sector, and the practical knowledge to understand how LIDS can affectively help international organizations.

What enticed you about studying and working in international organizations, law, and development?
Having lived abroad for two years before coming to law school, I appreciate the need for strong multilateral relations and the role international organizations play in maintaining those relations. My particular interest is a bit different than most, having lived in the communities and seen how positive and negative the effects of IO programming allows me to understand the practical reality that exists and the end of many projects. This allows me to go beyond the rhetoric and see how projects can actually make progress in this world.

What is your involvement in LJD week?
I have organized 20 student volunteers for the LJD week with the bank to assist with their programming. Additionally, I have organized five student leaders to represent the AUWCL community. I am particularly interested in the role the Bank sees tech playing in the promotion of the rule of law and development of justice programs, and how the bank intends to incorporate tech to achieve its goals in development finance better.


2L MJ Kim serves as vice president for LIDS. Over the summer, she worked at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as a legal intern, and is currently working at the World Bank’s Investigations and Forensic Audit’s Unit under the Integrity Vice Presidency.

MJ Kim
MJ Kim

What enticed you about studying and working in international organizations, law and development?
I am originally from Seoul, South Korea, but I have studied and worked in five different countries including Russia, Ukraine, Belgium, and the United States. Living in different countries, I developed a profound interest in international affairs from an early age. I studied Russian Literature and International Relations in university and dreamed about working for an international organization. I wanted to serve the public interest on a global scale. After graduating from university, I started my career as an economist in the International Department of the Central Bank of Korea, where I worked with foreign central banks and international organizations such as the IMF. Working closely with international financial institutions, I wanted to learn more about this field. I enrolled in the Graduate of International Studies where I focused on International Cooperation. I also received an advanced master’s degree in European Politics and Policies in Belgium through a dual degree program.

After receiving my graduate degrees, I did a fellowship at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington D.C., where I conducted independent research on Soviet Foreign Policy. Having worked on macroeconomic and foreign policies, I realized that policies largely resemble and comprise of laws. I became very interested in legal studies and decided to enroll in law school.

Staff and faculty attend world bank event
World Bank Law, Justice and Development Week 2019.

Tell us about your internship at IMF. How do you feel AUWCL prepared you for that experience?
As part of the 2019 Fund Internship Program, there were 60 students from 33 different countries. Most of the interns were Ph.D. students in economics, but we all shared the common interest in working in an international organization. In fact, I was the only JD candidate and a legal intern. Since I was the only intern in the Legal Department, I got to work with many attorneys on various issues. I wrote briefs on national bankruptcy legislations and a developing country’s currency reform. I also wrote a memo related to WTO cases and data trade. Occasionally, I helped review and edit upcoming publications. I also met with many attorneys individually who gave me valuable advice and insight.

My first year at AUWCL definitely me prepare for this internship. One of my professors sat down with me and helped me prepare for the interview. Legal research and writing skills I had learned from the legal rhetoric class and seminars were also very useful. Also, having done the write-on competition and received additional training from the Law Review, I felt more comfortable doing written assignments.

What is your involvement in LJD week?
I am a coordinator for one of the sessions titled “Data Governance and the Fourth Industrial Revolution: Preparing Our Future Lawyers?” I manage the speakers’ schedule and logistics as well as the guest list. I have also shared my thoughts on the topic and possible questions for the panel discussion with the moderator. I am working part-time at the World Bank this semester, so I occasionally have quick meetings with the staff at the Bank. I plan to attend as many sessions as I can to hear from experts from different fields.


2L Timothy Schmeling serves as president of the European Law Association, vice president and outreach director for the Lambda Law Society, chief of staff for the SBA Senate, and is a member of ADR. This semester, he is interning with a member of Congress, assisting the legislation team with data collection, research, and drafting various policy proposals.

Timothy Schmeling
Timothy Schmeling

What enticed you about studying and working in international organizations, law and development?
I have always been curious about consensus-driven organizations and organizations that require participants to work together to achieve mutually beneficial solutions. Because of this, I have always asked questions and made connections with people who think differently than I do to broaden and expand my thinking. I also really like talking and traveling, so studying international law is an easy way to combine these two interests.

You worked with the World Bank last spring on the Land and Poverty conference. How do you think AUWCL prepared you for that role?
I am currently on my second short-term contract with the World Bank, in an expanded role, for the same conference next March. My work consists of a lot of data management and attention to detail. It also requires that I communicate effectively and efficiently with folks from all over the world. AUWCL prepared me for my first experience with the World Bank, and now continues to provide me the foundation for success in my second role, by fostering an environment of multiculturalism and interdisciplinary discourse to welcome all perspectives and opinions. As much as it pains me to say, the Legal Rhetoric writing practice has proven fundamental to my success as a conference manager, as I am communicating daily with senior economists and other key conference stakeholders. 

What is your involvement in LJD week?
I am responsible for recruiting, interviewing, hiring, training, and managing a team of 30 conference assistants. Although this is not directly law related, I do see myself in a leadership role in the future and the soft-skills I'm nurturing in this role will pair well with my legal education.

To learn more about PIOLD and AUWCL's other International and Comparative Law programs, click here.