International Law and Immigration

International Law and Immigration Section Travels to Spain and Japan

By Theresa Leets 

California Lawyers Association’s International Law and Immigration Section (ILS) represents CLA in its relations with foreign bars and collaborates to produce educational programs, provide opportunities for CLA members to engage with foreign peers and promote the rule of law throughout the world. This year, Josh Surowitz coordinated a trip to Barcelona, Spain, and Harumi Hata is coordinating a multi-city trip to Japan. 

Registration for Japan Trip Still Open

If you are learning about these trips for the first time, there is still time to sign up for the California delegation to Japan. Consider joining a diverse group of California attorneys, judges and our foreign bar friends on a five-day trip that includes meetings with the Osaka, Dai-ichi Tokyo, and Kanagawa Bar Associations from October 17–21, 2023. All CLA members are welcome.

Did you know October is one of the best months to travel to Japan? Not too hot, not too cold. And this trip commences in Osaka. Osaka is described as the best food city in Japan. Looking for a mystical experience? Kyoto is the cultural capital of Japan. The delegation will experience a tea ceremony at the Kyoto Kodai-Ji Temple. Need some last-minute MCLE? This is your opportunity to brush up on privacy law and learn about arbitration and mediation from a panel of distinguished international lawyers. Want to see what the practice of law looks like in Japan? The delegates will visit both the Osaka High Court and District Court, along with the Japan International Mediation Center. In Tokyo, delegates will visit the Supreme Court and meet with Justice Michiharu Hayashi. In Yokohama, visits include the District Court and the District Attorney’s Office. Lunch and dinner are hosted by each bar association, allowing multiple opportunities to meet new friends and expand your network. We hope you can join us.

Adventures in Barcelona 


The Barcelona Summer Law Conference exemplified the educational programs, cultural experiences and opportunities to engage with foreign peers these trips provide. The Barcelona Bar hosted the conference in their centrally located office at the Ilustre Colegio de La Abogacia de Barcelona. We were minutes from Gaudi architecture wonders Casa Mila and Casa Botllo on Passeig de Gracia Avenue, Barcelona’s most iconic and exclusive avenue.

The first day included a presentation on comparative sports law. The Barcelona Bar hosted lunch in their building, which was formerly a palace. Imagine catered lunch each day in a palace with marbled floors and Roman columns as you network with colleagues adjacent to the third largest law library in Europe. The afternoon program compared the role of the compliance officer in the United States and Europe. The group then toured the Gaudi-designed UNESCO World Heritage Site and Catholic basilica, La Sagrada Familia.

Day Two included panels on shareholder rights and consumer mediation and arbitration. The afternoon included a tour of the Barca Museum, a pilgrimage site for futbol fans around the world. Catalonians are quick to let you know that their beloved sport is a religion, and this museum proved it.

Day Three began with discussions about cybersecurity, followed by a discussion on global mobility and immigration. The group visited the Picasso Museum and was greeted by Eva Soira Puig, Barcelona’s Director of Innovation, Research and Visual Arts. The museum houses an extensive collection of artworks by Pablo Picasso, with a total of 4,251 pieces in five adjoining medieval palaces. The group ended the day with dinner at a landmark restaurant with more than a hundred years of history, La Venta, which offered excellent traditional Catalonia cuisine and breathtaking views of Barcelona.

Day Four started at the Barcelona City of Justice with a tour of Catalonia’s highest court. It included a discussion with the President of the High Court of Justice of Catalonia, Jesus Maria Barrientos Pacho. The group returned for its final program to discuss business and investment between Spain and California. The Barcelona Bar hosted its annual Summer Dinner at Red Fish Restaurant, a fashionable seafront venue serving tapas, seafood and cocktails as hundreds of local lawyers socialized and enjoyed the sunset.

On Day Five, we ended the Summer Law Program with a closing ceremony and a trip to the Pere Ventura Cava Family Wine Estates. You can explore their collections here.

Explore the World with ILS

Considering an international trip? Join your like-minded peers in the legal profession and combine education with fun by signing up for our trip to Japan or a future excursion. We would love to see you.

Theresa Leets is Vice Chair of CLA’s International Law and Immigration Section and Assistant Chief Counsel, Legal Division, California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation.

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