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Pathways to the Profession: Christen Farr L’13

June 21, 2012

Editor’s Note: Each summer Penn Law students hone their skills through a wide array of private and public sector internships across the country and around the world. Generous financial support and fellowships for international and public interest work enable students to pursue diverse assignments in the U.S. and abroad. This dispatch from Christen Farr L’13, is one in a series of firsthand accounts by Law School students about how their summer employment opportunities are preparing them for their legal careers.

Farr is working in Istanbul, Turkey, at the International Finance Corporation, a member institution of the World Bank, whose mission is to support private sector development to create opportunities to escape poverty. A joint degree student concurrently pursuing a Master’s degree in International Studies with a focus on the Middle East and Arabic, Farr is one of 10 Penn Law International Summer Human Rights Fellows (ISHRF) and the 2012 recipient of the Mead Fellowship in Law and Economic Development.
I decided to start my internship at IFC’s legal department in Istanbul as early as possible to avoid the usual slow-down in business activity that comes during Ramadan, which begins at the end of July this year.
Since starting in early May, the experience has been fantastic. The day I arrived the team took me out to a lunch and introduced me to everyone at the office, which made me feel very welcome. The Istanbul office is actually part of a big effort at decentralization from the IFC in Washington and the “IOC” (Istanbul Operations Center) was one of the first regional offices. The office has 13 lawyers – two French, two Turkish, one Palestinian/Jordanian, one South African, etc – and I’ve worked with a number of them so far.
IFC’s work focuses on providing credit or equity financing, as well as advisory services to the private sector players in the developing world. Since I arrived, I’ve been involved in drafting and reviewing loan agreements, guarantees and contracts for advisory services. Occasionally, I’ve been asked to do research on available financial instruments in various jurisdictions or the legal environment for investment either for possible investments or for a legal workshop in July. My most interesting research project so far focused on the post-revolution investment environment in Tunisia, where I spent the last two years before law school. My coursework in Accounting for Lawyers and the Global Research Seminar on Islamic Finance have been very helpful to me as I undertake my work at IFC.
Istanbul itself is crowded and traffic-y but absolutely beautiful. I am living in an apartment I share with a cafe-owner and his girlfriend in a building with an incredible view of the Bosphorus, including the Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosque. I have never had such an amazing place to drink my morning coffee and occasionally watch the sun go down.
-  Christen Farr