International Law and Immigration

Ca. Int'l Law Journal 2019, VOL. 27, NO. 2


Joshua Surowitz* ILS Chair

Iam very pleased and honored to have the opportunity to serve this wonderful Section during our 2019-2020 California Lawyers Association (CLA) Fiscal Year. Though we are not one of the largest Sections of the CLA, the International Law Section (ILS) is one of the most important and universally germane. Practitioners of law in California of almost every kind work with foreign nationals and issues that pertain to internationally oriented and cross-border matters. We coordinate with attorneys from Bar Associations in foreign jurisdictions to the benefit of all CLA members, but particularly for the members of our Section, and plan and execute educational programs and events for the most compelling and relevant topics for the CLA and International Law practitioners everywhere. There is no better example of this than the October 2019 Multi-Bar Delegate Conference in Prague co-hosted by the CLA ILS, the Czech Bar Association, and the American Bar Association International Law Section. As our new ILS Chair, in addition to our outgoing Section Co-Chairs, I had the honor of signing a new Friendship Agreement with the Czech Bar on behalf of the CLA ILS. The memorialization of our new friendship and the entire Conference was a very special time for both of our organizations, and an excellent start to a relationship that should be of benefit to our respective members for years to come. Our participants and friends were so happy with the Prague Conference that they have already begun to plan a Multi-Bar CLE Conference with the Barcelona Bar Association, tentatively scheduled for early July 2020, in Barcelona, Spain.

The ILS is indeed the authorized representative of the CLA to enter into and maintain Friendship Agreements with Foreign Bar Associations. We currently have active and productive Friendship Agreements with the Barcelona, Czech, Malaysia, Marseille, Osaka, and Daiichi Tokyo Bar Associations, as well as the Vietnam Lawyers Association, and ANADE Mexico Bar Association. We have not only created and maintained these relationships but filled them all with life in recent years. Representatives from each of these jurisdictions have recently attended our CLA Annual Meeting and other CLA/ILS functions, and we have found this creates an extremely valuable and fulfilling opportunity for all ILS members, and equally so for the members of our fellow friendship organizations. This year we are already planning to form new friendships with foreign bar associations in several important international jurisdictions.

Not only may all ILS members participate in the programs and events we have with our Foreign Friends, but we strongly encourage ILS members to get involved at a higher level, and in fact proposing new relationships with foreign bars for consideration is a right all ILS members have. That is how I became involved in the ILS myself, through the relationships I had made doing business in Barcelona. The ILS supported me and very soon I was invited by the Chair of the "Foreign Bar Relations Committee" to join and get involved in Committee business, eventually leading to our Friendship Agreement with the Barcelona Bar Association. This is the very kind of opportunity all ILS members have, not only to get involved through foreign bar contacts or with the Foreign Bar Relations Committee, but to be involved with ILS at a high, committee-level engagement in general. Any ILS member can request to be on one of our committees, and we certainly encourage that participation. There are several committees ILS members can join, including:

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