The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is a multilateral development bank focused on developing Asia, but with members from all over the world. AIIB's investments in infrastructure and other productive sectors seek to foster sustainable economic development, create wealth and improve infrastructure connectivity.
To complement its existing group of experienced lawyers, AIIB has established a Legal Associates Program (LAP) to facilitate the hiring of young lawyers who not only have the technical skills, enthusiasm, and ambition needed by the Bank, but can also bring new perspectives and innovative ideas to the workplace.
The program is modelled after various other successful recruitment initiatives implemented by several other multilateral financial and development organizations and is now open for a third intake round.
AIIB Legal Associates. (From left to right: Goktug Ersoy, Kezia Paladina, Bjorn Torsteinsrud, Kabita Parajuli, Thomas Dollmaier)
A Win-Win for Young Talents and AIIB
The principal aim of the LAP is to bring in young lawyers, and to form them to become in-house lawyers to cater to AIIB’s broad legal needs, both for private and public sector operations, as well as institutional issues. Hence, the program is open to highly promising candidates who, to be eligible under the Program, need to: (a) have an advanced law degree from a recognized educational institution; (b) have a minimum of two years relevant legal professional experience; (c) be admitted to practice law in a jurisdiction; (d) be proficient in English; and (e) have passion for development and commitment to AIIB’s overall mission, goals, and purpose.
Selected lawyers need to be able to work in a multi-cultural and multi-ethnic environment, and in an institution of global goals. In addition, the selection process will focus on: (a) the candidates’ professional independence and maturity; (b) their ability to maintain discretion and their sensitivity required for operating in a multi-cultural setting; (b) their demonstrated strong legal knowledge to support drafting legal documents and to carry out research; (c) their ability to identify and critically analyze legal issues and provide solutions; (d) their ability and versatility to work in teams; and (e) their communication skills and ability to present information in a clear and concise manner.
Learning Opportunities and Exposure
The LAP began in 2021 with the hiring of five Legal Associates (LAs) with fixed employment contracts. Upon their joining the AIIB, they were engaged in intensive training (on-the-job as well as in classroom setting) on and about the fundamentals of lawyering at AIIB on development operations and well as other institutional and governance matters.
After the initial intensive six-week-long training, each LAs is paired with a seasoned lawyer. The LAs’ scope of work includes the provision of legal advice, legal research, drafting of legal documents and provision of general legal support to AIIB operations, all under the supervision of senior lawyers in the Legal Department. In addition to the core training, and the general guidance of the seasoned lawyer, the LAs are also assigned mentors with experience to help prepare lawyers for a career in AIIB and to give them overall day-to-day guidance, as and when necessary. On top of everything, their direct managers continue to provide constant guidance and supervision and to ensure a fair allocation of work.
LAs under the LAP are given intensive training on the policies, products, and operations, as well as institutional and governance aspects of AIIB, both practical as well as theoretical. This aspect of the LAP curriculum ensures that LAs become well versed on how to operationalize and to find solutions to operational challenges, mitigate legal risks in operations financed by AIIB, and assist the internal clients to prepare quality projects. These trainings are provided by many in-house experienced lawyers, as well as by prominent established lawyers from many other international organizations. This not only help LAs understand AIIB’s core legal work, but also help them become familiar with the practice of other international financial institutions. Separately, LAs are also given the opportunity to attend selected training programs on operational themes conducted by AIIB’s Central Training Unit.
One significant aspect of the Program is the intra-unit rotation of LAs, allowing them to work in all the units within the Legal Department. These rotations are aimed at helping the LAs to develop and apply skills across the business and be familiar with as large a model as possible. Rotations are, thus, a core component of the curriculum, providing LAs the exposure to understand how AIIB and the Legal Department operate. It allows them to learn how to align their skills to priority areas, and other challenging environments, while dealing with a variety of internal and external clients. Indeed, throughout the program, the LAs have opportunity to collaborate with different departments, and to be exposed to a variety of projects and initiatives. Broadly, they are provided enough exposure to work on and develop a skill set on issues concerning climate finance, and private as well as public sector issues. They are able to work with sovereign as well as nonsovereign clients, as well as regional as well as nonregional countries. In view of the AIIB’s Corporate Strategy, such broad experience is useful, and these opportunities are not only valuable in their career but also a productive and efficient investment from the perspective of AIIB.
After completing about a year at AIIB, the current LAs have expressed satisfaction in their work and with the opportunity to learn from an international financial institution that is AIIB. From a management standpoint, they have proven to be a real asset to the Legal Department. AIIB is now looking for the next batch of young lawyers who will benefit from the same intensive training and can be assets to the Bank.
The AIIB is now accepting applications for the 2023 Legal Associates Program. All interested applicants can submit via AIIB Career Site.
Application closes on 05 February 2023 (Beijing midnight time GMT+8).