So What Am I Actually Doing In Rome?

I am interning at the International Development Law Organization (IDLO), just minutes from my apartment in the Prati.  (Seriously - I get to work in six minutes!)  IDLO specializes in providing expert legal advice to transitioning countries in an effort to promote justice, human rights, economic growth, and effective governance strategies.  Specifically, I will be working with the Central Asia Team, with projects in Mongolia, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan. Information below from the IDLO website, with my added commentary.  I work with a fantastic team.  Margarita is the Director of the Central Asia Team, and Rimma is my co-worker.  They are both Russian, and they are both vivacious and motivated women.  It is a privilege to work under them, and they have both made me feel extremely at home.  By the time my summer is over, I will surely be speaking Russian as well as I am speaking Italian!


In 2011, IDLO opened an office in Dushanbe, with the stated aim of giving the entire Tajik judiciary a grounding in commercial law. To this end, we have partnered with the Supreme Court of Tajikistan, the Council of Justice and the Judicial Training Centre (JTC). The country, which is negotiating access to the World Trade Organization, has received minimal foreign investment to date. We are building the capacity of Tajik judges on topics including property rights, land contract and privatization disputes, creditor rights and secured assets, and corporate governance.

IDLO is also exposing Tajik judges to international good practice, providing access to legal resources through a commercial law library, and publishing judicial decisions. In July 2013, as part of IDLO’s Judicial Training Program, a delegation of 15 Tajik judges and the head of the JTC visited Rome and attended commercial law classes, court hearings and training sessions with their Italian counterparts.

This summer, we are working to draft the new Tajikistan Civil Code. I have already helped draft a proposal for a roundtable discussion that will encourage participation from local attorneys, judges, and the general public.


IDLO has been working with the government of Kyrgyzstan to establish a functional, credible and transparent legal system since the adoption of the 2010 Constitution. Through the Judicial Strengthening Program, we are collaborating with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) to build judicial independence, reduce corruption and promote the integrity of the judiciary. This involves publishing a manual on judicial ethics and professional responsibility, and producing updated judicial Benchbooks. We are meanwhile seeking to harmonize Kyrgyzstan’s Law on Civil Service, provisions of the Criminal Code related to corruption, and the Judicial Ethics Code, while taking steps to increase public awareness about judicial reform. IDLO is also helping to develop a Five-Year Medium Term Strategic Plan, with a Judicial Infrastructure Plan (2012-2017). We are committed to increasing human resources in the judiciary through the introduction of a standardized training program for judicial candidates and other professionals. This includes internships for court clerks and mentoring through Moot Court competitions.


As Mongolia carves out a future as a mining giant, IDLO is working with the government to ensure courts and legal institutions in the commercial law sector function more effectively, and to enhance business confidence in the judiciary. We are collaborating with the Supreme Court, the Judicial General Council and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) on a comprehensive judicial training program. It aims to enhance the capacity of 200 Mongolian judges, expanding their capacity to handle commercial law cases at every level of the legal system.

I actually created a before and after test on insolvency that was given to all 200 Mongolian judges. Wow! Although the test was fairly rudimentary, I think it is very cool that something I created was given to 200 real, professional judges!