Summer 2019 - Hennick BizLaw Internship at World Bank Group!
By: Sydney McIvor
JD’2021 and Summer 2019 Recipient of the Hennick Centre Business Law Internship Award
This summer I was able to participate in an internship with World Bank Group (WBG) in Washington DC. I chose this internship because it combined many of my areas of interest, including economics, policy, and international law. The student placement is with the Insolvency & Debt Resolution division within the Financial Competitiveness & Innovation Global Practice team (FCI GP). The object of FCI GP is to grow markets of developing countries and foster the development of the private sector. Within this division, the insolvency team seeks to provide technical assistance in the development of insolvency frameworks to client countries. Robust insolvency regimes are important for building strong markets because they reduce uncertainty for creditors leading to more investment in an economy. They can also reduce job loss by allowing for the rescue of viable businesses or by selling of a company as a whole, rather than in piecemeal liquidation.
My responsibilities involved working for a team of lawyers from all over the world with extensive experience in both the private and public sectors. Work primarily handled by the team included: (1) reviewing and making recommendations on legislation; (2) providing training to judges, Insolvency Practitioners (IPs) and policy makers, and; (3) updating the Principles for Effective Insolvency and Creditor/Debtor Regimes aiming to set international standards for effective insolvency regimes.
This internship was the best possible experience for the summer following my first year of law school. I was exposed to legal and policy work, while gaining valuable experience within an international organization. In preparation for intensive work in insolvency law, WBG organized a session with Osgoode Professor Emeritus Tom Johnson, who provided us an overview using Canadian examples. I also learned quickly in context. The insolvency team was extremely busy, and I was able to start doing substantive work almost immediately. WBG works with many internationally renowned consultants and so I had the opportunity to not only learn insolvency law and policy, but to learn it from leading professionals and experts in the field.
My work was extremely varied and rewarding. I interpreted legislation, prepared notes for reports, reviewed journal articles, compiled data, and communicated directly with consultants and government representatives from client countries. One notable project I worked on involved reading both the personal and corporate insolvency acts of a client country, then preparing notes on how these could be amended to better support micro and small businesses. Many of my draft recommendations, and entire paragraphs that I had prepared, were incorporated into the report which went directly to key policy-makers in that country.
An important highlight of this internship is the opportunity to travel on missions with the team. I assisted with the coordination and logistics of two events in Europe that I was also invited to attend. There is a lot of value in these missions because they provide the opportunity to speak with stakeholders in their communities and directly understand the potential impacts of reformed insolvency frameworks. Another highlight of travelling on missions was getting to spend a lot of time with the consultants working the mission and being able to ask questions about their work.
Overall, I had an absolutely fantastic experience in this internship and developed many useful skills. I think that this is an excellent opportunity for a student who is self-sufficient, interested in policy, with a background in business or economics.
About the World Bank Group
The World Bank Group (WBG) is a multilateral organization headquartered in Washington, D.C., whose members include 189 member countries with the mandate to provide funding and knowledge for developing countries. Its five institutions share a commitment to reducing poverty, increasing shared prosperity, and promoting sustainable development. The WBG also provides technical assistance to countries interested in improving their debt resolution, insolvency, and alternative dispute resolution (ADR) systems, through advising governments on legislative and institutional reforms.