My Rule of Law Summer By Morgan Van Beck

My Rule of Law Summer By Morgan Van Beck

My decision to intern with the International Law Institute was an easy one. Last year, in the Summer of 2022, I worked with the Guatemala Human Rights Commission (GHRC) in Washington DC, and I knew that I wanted to return. While with the GHRC, I traveled to Guatemala and witnessed what rampant corruption and the deficiency of the rule of law looks like. I returned with a renewed value for the law and was immediately intrigued by the ILI’s slogan “Fostering Prosperity through the Rule of Law.” I was also interested in law school, so ILI felt like the perfect place for me. A week after coming back to the United States following a semester in Spain, I started in ILI’s office in Georgetown. I’m very grateful that I had the opportunity to spend the summer at the ILI, and I learned a lot about myself and what I want for the future.
During my 10-week internship, I was able to meet and learn from people from around the world. Sitting in on seminars and attending site visits with participants were also valuable for learning about various aspects of law and what I might be interested in pursuing in the future. Something that I didn’t expect was the sense of camaraderie I would feel. With the GHRC, I was the only intern and one of only a few staff members working in the United States. The friendships I forged with the other interns and some of the staff members made saying goodbye hard. One staff member, in particular, went out of his way to set up zoom meetings for us with past interns to learn about their career paths and what they took away from their time at the ILI. These sessions gave me a great insight into how to realistically approach life after graduation.

One week into my internship, Mark Walter, the ILI’s new Executive Director, moved back to DC from Singapore, and I had the opportunity to start working directly with him on projects to refresh the ILI rather than continuing to prep course materials for seminars like I had been doing. This made me appreciate ILI more because I got to really dive into its rich history. By going through old records, I was able to watch the growth and evolution of ILI as it administered educational seminars and development projects around the world. I learned that ILI is so much more than what we did in Washington DC. I was awed by the number of lives that ILI had touched through the decades and around the world. Now, ILI is going through a transition period to revive its global reach and significance, and I feel lucky to have been a part of that. I also had the chance to work on content for our new website. I think that this was one of the most valuable parts of my internship because technology is only going to become more and more prevalent in the future. Working to bring ILI’s website and other aspects of its functioning into the 21st century has equipped me with skills that I’ll need wherever I end up after graduation.

Going into this summer, I wanted an answer to the question of whether I wanted to go to law school. While I still don’t have an answer, this summer taught me a lot about myself, and I’ll be much better equipped to navigate the law school or grad school process when I do decide. I know that I’ll always have friends back at the ILI in DC, and I’m looking forward to seeing what exciting developments are in store for the organization.

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