International Law and Immigration

CLE Panel Topics for the CLA Annual Meeting

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The Executive Committee of the International Law Section is formulating CLE panel topics for the CLA Annual Meeting in Monterey in October 2019.

If you are interested in participating as a panelist, or would like to nominate a panelist, please contact Nikki Smith at:

If you are interested in submitting a panel topic proposal, the form for doing so is here. Please note that the deadline for submissions is April 19, 2019.

A list of topics under consideration follows:

1.           International Environmental Law.

1.1.        Panel highlighting how California continues to lead and engage with the international community to address climate change and promote innovative green technology.  In coordination with the Environmental Section, this panel will include panelists from government, academia and industry for an update on (A) California’s legal framework for addressing climate change in accordance with Paris accord, other international pacts, and regional international initiatives such as cap and trade emissions markets; and (B) legal developments in promoting and protecting green technologies in a growing international market. California has been at the forefront of green technology including solar energy. We could look at emerging products/trends like solar sidewalks with a view to what this means for attorneys.

1.2.        California at the crossroads of climate change  – panel discussion on the adequacy of our current and proposed treaties, regional accords and US/California laws that deal with increasing human migration due to adverse effects of climate change. Each panelist could focus on a different practice area, such as immigration law, corporate governance, sustainability, and shareholder rights; environmental law liabilities, and litigation trends.

Consider a panel discussion with representatives from friendship associations from Asia and Europe, and Latin America, to compare issues they encounter and legal solutions.

   2.           International Sanctions Law.

2.1.        Panel addressing how international sanctions affect transactions and practice.  Consider inviting practitioners advising on compliance with U.S. sanctions law to address specific transactions involving sanctioned persons and jurisdictions, such as:

2.1.1.    Commercial, real estate or fine art transactions;

2.1.2.    Entertainment performance engagements; and

2.1.3.    Gifts, bequests, trust management.

3.           International Arbitration.  The following panels on the California International Arbitration and Conciliation Act (CIACA) would be appropriate:

3.1.        Introduction to CIACA;

3.2.        International arbitration procedure and discovery;

3.3.        Application of the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (New York Convention); and

3.4.        Ethics in international arbitration (non-admitted lawyers were previously barred from practicing in CA because the State Bar and CA Supreme Court could not discipline non-admitted lawyers) – what ethical rules apply?

4.           International Litigation.  Series of practical panels on:

4.1.        Obtaining jurisdiction over parties in other countries;

4.2.        Conducting international discovery – walk through how to obtain admissible deposition testimony in a foreign jurisdiction and to obtain admissible records located there;

4.3.        Privacy concerns in conducting international discovery and investigation; and

4.4.        Enforcing CA court judgments in foreign jurisdictions.

5.           International Asset Protection / Judgment Enforcement / Ethics.  Panel to address effectiveness and ethics of offshore asset protection strategies.  Possible case studies to examine:

5.1.        Use of offshore trustee to hold assets (such as interests in CA limited liability companies that hold assets in CA for beneficiaries located here);

5.2.        Investigation, attachment and seizure of funds held in offshore accounts;

5.3.        Consider addressing reported practices Mossack Fonseca employed in Panama.

6.           Immigration Law Every California Lawyer Needs to Know in Today’s Environment.  Panel to address immigration law basics with discussion of contemporary events:

6.1.        Key immigration law concepts every CA attorney should know;

6.1.1.    Overview of visa and asylum basics;

6.1.2.    Overview of immigration procedure;

6.2.        Key immigration issues of which every CA attorney be aware given our foreign national population and fast-changing immigration landscape;

6.3.        Advising Employers on Navigating Immigration Law Requirements; and

6.4.        Current Events Affecting Immigration Practice and Clients – DACA (nearly 1 million “Dreamer” kids in limbo under current Administration policy), Executive Order 13769 (“Muslim Ban”), Asylum Seeker Influx, Delayed visa processing / increased denial rates.

7.           Advising Foreign Business Entities on Structuring US Business Operations.  Panel to address structural options for limiting liability risk and administration commitments, with overview of tax consequences.

7.1.        Whether or not to form a US subsidiary;

7.2.        Evaluation of foreign business structure;

7.3.        Determination of US business structure;

7.4.        Evaluation of tax issues as decisions are tax driven;

7.5.        Limitation of liability;

7.6.        Employees vs Independent Contractors or Consultants;

7.7.        Use of holding companies;

7.8.        Government filings;

7.9.        Obtaining necessary licenses and permits; and

7.10.     Licensing, distribution and related issues

 8.           Immigration Law/Sanctuary Clinic. Panel to discuss how to help when you encounter someone who is stopped, questioned, or arrested by federal or other government agents challenging their legal status.  Hold one or more practical workshops, maybe one each day of the conference. Provide a toolkit including checklist, do’s and don’ts and resources to enable non-immigration law attorneys help individuals who are stopped.  This has happened at the airports, on the streets, leaving home, school, church, restaurant or court. Explain the detainee’s legal rights. Identify pro bono opportunities to help at immigration legal aid centers. Perhaps provide a table with materials in the exhibition/vendor area, and ask for knowledgeable  attorneys or paralegals to volunteer a couple of hours to answer questions and share experiences.

9.           Representing Clients in Cross-border Transactions.  An experiential discussion in cultural aspects of  cross-border transactions in Mexico, Brazil and other selected Countries in South America. This could include panelists from our friendship bar associations, and include discussion of bribery/corruption red flags and elimination of cultural bias components.

10.   I Spy Global  Bribery and Corruption Risks. Panel discussion providing the basics on how to spot red flags in transactions to avoid bribery, money laundering and other corruption. Cryptocurrency and emerging risk areas could be included as examples or hypothetical situations. This could be developed with Corporate or Criminal Law Section. 

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