International Law Section Enews
Message from the Managing Editor
By Emilio Varanini
Welcome to the first e-newsletter of 2016 with more to come. The International Law Section is off to a great start but we have a lot coming up in this coming year so stayed tuned. California has an important role to play on international and immigration issues, and, as you can see from the various events, photos, and articles herein, the International Law Section is in the forefront of it all. Participation in the International Law Section is a great opportunity to get in on the ground floor of it all.
Message from the Chair
By Harumi Hata
Dear International Law Section Members:
Welcome to the Winter/Spring 2015-16 issue of the International Law Section E-Newsletter!
As Chair of the International Law Section and on behalf of the Section’s Executive Committee, I thank you all for being members of the International Law Section, and welcome to the Winter/Spring issue of the e-Newsletter.
As Chair of the International Law Section, my goal is to enhance the Section’s connections and interactions with its member - by presenting substantive and other informative information through the Journal, CLE webinars, live CLE programs, e-Newsletters, networking receptions and other events. To that end, the Section’s Executive Committee Members, Advisors and volunteers are working on programs and events for this year, including the CLE programs to be offered at the Annual Meeting in San Diego in the Fall and an all-day CLE conference in November this year at which we hope to bring together you and the foreign lawyers from the foreign bar associations with which the Section has Friendship Agreements.
The most recent issue of the Journal was mailed at the end of December 2015. The Journal is mailed to each member’s address on file with the State Bar of California. The e-Newsletter and information regarding CLE webinars, CLE programs, networking receptions and other events are distributed by the State Bar of California via email to each member’s email address on file with the State Bar of California. Please review and verify that your contact information in the State Bar of California’s records is current and complete.
In addition to our written publications, we hope that you are connected with the Section on Facebook (www.facebook.com/calbarils), LinkedIn (http://www.linkedin.com/groups/International-Law-Section-State-Bar-5078694/about) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/calbarils).
The International Law Section presents many CLE programs throughout the year. The Section is the “home” for immigration practitioners, and we present many CLE programs, including webinars, on immigration topics. Many of the immigration programs offer information of interest to both immigration and non-immigration lawyers. In addition, we present CLE programs on other substantive topics. Please refer to the information disseminated by the State Bar of California, and we hope that you will attend the programs on the day of their respective offerings. The webinars are subsequently available for purchase in the State Bar of California online library.
As mentioned above, the International Law Section has entered into Friendship Agreements with foreign bar associations, including those in Australia, France, Japan, Mexico, Spain, the United Kingdom, and Vietnam. As one of the collaborative initiatives with the foreign bar associations, we plan to hold an international conference in Los Angeles on November 4, 2016. It will be an all-day CLE conference on topics of interest to international practitioners in various fields of law. The conference will offer networking opportunities with the members of the International Law Section and with the visiting delegations from the foreign bar associations. Please stay tuned for additional information regarding the conference. Meanwhile, please save the date of November 4, 2016, on your calendar.
Prior to the international conference in November 2016, the International Law Section will plan to present several CLE programs at the 89th State Bar of California Annual Meeting to be held in
San Diego on September 29 - October 2, 2016. We hope that many of you will attend the Annual Meeting.
During the Annual Meeting, we will present the Warren M. Christopher International Lawyer of the Year Award at a Reception to be held in the evening on Saturday, October 1, 2016. Please save the date of October 1, 2016, on your calendar. We look forward to seeing many of you at the Reception.
Also, the International Law Section is presenting “Careers in International Law” program for the JD and LLM students at various law schools in California throughout the year.The program continues to be well received by the JD and LLM students and has been a great way to introduce and promote the International Law Section at the various law school campuses.
We would welcome your participation in the International Law Section. Please let us know if you would like to become more involved with the International Law Section. This is your Section, and your voice and participation are critical to the Section’s success.
If you would like to volunteer your time for the International Law Section, please contact Julie Martinez, who is the State Bar of California International Law Section administrator, at Julie.Martinez@calbar.ca.gov or at 415-538-2523.
Thank you again for being members of the International Law Section. We look forward to seeing you at the programs and events presented by the International Law Section this year.
Chair, International Law Section
Introduction of 2015-2016 International Law Section Officers
Chair: Harumi Hata (email@example.com) is a Partner at Seyfarth Shaw LLP, with 30 years of legal experience. Harumi was born and raised in Japan and is a native Japanese speaker. Harumi represents clients, including companies based in the U.S., Asia/Pacific Rim and Europe, on corporate, business and transactional matters, most of which are cross-border and international in nature. Harumi first joined the International Law Section’s Programs Committee in 2009 and, then, the Executive Committee in 2010. Harumi previously served as the 2013-2014 Secretary and the 2014-2015 Vice Chair prior to the current service as the Chair. Harumi has been active in the legal community. Harumi currently serves on the Board of Trustees of the Los Angeles County Bar Association (LACBA). Harumi also serves on the Board of Governors of the Japanese American Bar Association (JABA) and as JABA’s Co-Vice President. Harumi served as the Chair of LACBA’s Business and Corporations Law Section during the 2011-2012 bar year. As the Chair of the International Law Section, Harumi would appreciate the International Law Section members’ support and active participation in 2016 and beyond.
Co-Vice Chair: Mark Danis (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a Vice President – Associate General Counsel at The Clorox Company. Mark’s responsibilities include management of U.S. litigation, regulatory, marketing, social media, privacy, and data security/cyber security. Prior to joining Clorox, Mark practiced for 25 years as a litigator with Morrison & Foerster LLP. Mark practiced at the firm’s Tokyo office from 2006-2010. Mark joined the International Law Section’s Executive Committee in 2012, and serves as the Editor-in-Chief of The California International Law Journal. Mark received his J.D. from Hastings College of the Law, and his undergraduate degree from U.C. Berkeley.
Co-Vice Chair: Enrique Hernandez (Enrique.email@example.com) is a licensed attorney in Mexico and in California. Enrique’s practice includes representing clients in international tax planning and related international matters, particularly Mexican and US-Mexican legal matters. Enrique represents clients in the development of business transactions, worldwide investment and financing structures, planning for worldwide income and estate and inheritance taxes. Enrique served as the Treasurer of the International Law Section during the 2014-2015 year. In addition, Enrique is an active member of The State Bar of California Taxation Section’s International Committee, where he served as Chair of the Executive Committee, International Section Treasurer and Executive Commission.
Treasurer: Will Pao (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a counsel at O’Melveny & Myers LLP’s Los Angeles office. A seasoned litigator, Will focuses on three main areas: (1) securities litigation, (2) litigation involving financial-services clients, and (3) litigation and investigations involving Chinese companies. Prior to law school, Will was a Fulbright Scholar in China, and lived in China and Taiwan for two years. Will speaks Chinese fluently. Will first began serving on the International Law Section’s Executive Committee in 2010, when he joined as an Advisor, and became an Executive Committee member in 2012.
Secretary: Alexandra Darraby (email@example.com) is the Principal in the Art Law Firm. Alexandra is counsel to creative sectors in the arts, new media, performance, entertainment, fashion, publishing, nonprofits, technology and architecture. As legal advisor to pioneering clients, Alexandra counsels clients on innovative strategies in intellectual property, technology, trade, business transactions, estates and trusts, public art and development projects, with an emphasis on international transactions. Alexandra joined the International Law Section’s Executive Committee as an Advisor in 2013-14, as an Executive Committee member in 2014-2015, and an officer (Secretary) in October 2015.
A Warm Welcome to the Executive Committee Members and Advisors
We welcome the following members of the International Law Section Executive Committee for 2016, in addition to the Officers listed above: Maria Chedid, Lizbeth Flores, Margrette Francisco, Bill Gay, Mary Hansel, Karla Haynes, Michael Newman, Neil Popovic, Josh Surowitz, and Emilio Varanini. In addition, Catherine Brilliant and Theresa Leets serve as the Advisors. They are ready and willing to let you know of the latest initiatives of the International Law Section and are always looking for volunteers to help with those initiatives.
Three of the newest members of the Executive Committee have provided accounts well-worth reading as to the connections of state and federal government agencies in California with international issues. Well-worth reading for those who think that international issues start and stop with Washington D.C.
A Warm Welcome to a New State Bar of California Staff
We extend a warm welcome to Annie Tsai, who joined the State Bar of California in August 2015, as an Assistant to Julie Martinez, who has been serving as the Section Administrator for the International Law Section for over 23 years. Annie’s positive impact has already been seen at our events.
As we welcome Annie, we would like to thank Stephanie Carmen, who served as the Assistant to Julie Martinez in the past several years. Stephanie Carmen now serves as the Section Administrator for the other Sections of The State Bar of California. We thank Stephanie for her past service to the International Law Section and wish her well in her promoted position with The State Bar of California.
International Law Section Executive Committee
For the October 2015 - October 2016 term, the Executive Committee consists of a total of seventeen Executive Committee Members and two Advisors. On November 20 and 21, 2015, the Executive Committee Members and Advisors held a Long Range Planning Meeting. Blessed with a nice Southern California weather, some of the Executive Committee Members and Advisors took a photograph together.
International Law Section Sub-Committees
The International Law Section has a number sub-committees designed to further the mission of the International Law Section. We would welcome our International Law Section members to become involved in one or more of the sub-committees. If you are interested in serving on any of the sub-committees, please contact the International Law Section’s Section Administrator, Julie Martinez (Julie.Martinez@calbar.ca.gov), with a copy of your resume and a brief statement of interest.
- Social Media (Website, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn)
- Webinars (including joint webinars with other State Bar of California Sections and other bar associations)
- Live programs, including programs at the Annual Meeting
- 2016 International Conference (live program) to be held on November 4, 2016
- Law Students (including “Careers in International Law” programs at law schools in California)
- Northern California/Central California
- Southern California (Los Angeles County/Orange County)
- Southern California (San Diego County)
- Networking Mixers
- External Relations
- Public International Law
If you have any questions about your Section membership, please do not hesitate to reach out to me or any of the other Section Officers.
The California International Law Journal
The second publication of The California International Law Journal for 2015 has been released in December 2015. We are now working on the first publication of The California International Law Journal for 2016 with a number of interesting articles for that edition already in the pipeline. This is not an edition of The California International Law Journal that should be missed.
The California International Law Journal is soliciting articles for its second edition in 2016. If you are interested in submitting an article, please contact Mark Danis at firstname.lastname@example.org and/or Emilio Varanini at Emilio.Varanini@doj.ca.gov. Mark and Emilio in particular are looking for articles on the Trans-Pacific Partnership or the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership for a special issue in the Fall in conjunction with our special Transnational Law Summit: International Law in the 21st Century to be held in Los Angeles, California, on November 4, 2016.
While most articles offer practical advice and strategies for practitioners handling transnational matters, we also would like to publish academic articles that may be of interest to our readers. Topics may include anything that pertains to private or public international law, including commercial transactions and developments, arbitration and litigation, immigration, intellectual property, privacy, data protection, criminal, environmental, and human rights. Standard articles range from 15-25 pages, double-spaced. Short articles range from 4-8 pages, double-spaced. If selected for publication, we will assign an editor to work with you on finalizing your article.
Many of the webinars previously presented by the International Law Section as well as information as to upcoming webinars are available in The State Bar of California library available by clicking here.
These webinars include cutting edge topics on international and immigration law. Since the 2015 Annual Meeting of The State Bar of California in Anaheim, the International Law Section has presented the following webinars, and, as indicated above, these programs are available in The State Bar of California library:
05/18/2016 - Immigration Executive Action: Election Year Updates on DACA and DAPA
This Webinar provides the latest updates on Pres. Obama’s Deferred Action programs (DACA, DACA II and DAPA), along with practice tips to preserve future green card eligibility, avoid deportation, and overcome criminal and security grounds of ineligibility.
06/01/2016 - Updates in Australian Trademark Protection & Enforcement
Credits: 1 Participatory MCLE Credits
This webinar is an update on Australian trademark protection and enforcement and the pitfalls to watch out for in Australian trademark matters.
2014 International Trade Update: Customs Track, Year in Review
Credits: 1.25 Participatory MCLE Credits
Seasoned experts from CBP and the private bar review notable events in customs practice during the last year.
2014 International Trade Update: Judicial Discussion
Participate in a discussion with the Chief Judges of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit and the U.S. Court of International Trade.
2015 Effective Advocacy in International Arbitration: Initial Procedural Hearing and Disclosure
Once the arbitral tribunal has been selected, the parties and the tribunal work together (although not always in complete harmony) to establish the framework for the arbitration, including the initial procedural hearing, terms of reference and procedural orders, disclosures, etc….
2015 Effective Advocacy in International Arbitration: Initiation of Arbitration, Emergency Relief and Interim Measures
The initial stages in an international arbitration can have a profound impact on the ultimate resolution of a dispute.
2015 Effective Advocacy in International Arbitration: Merits Hearing
How do the merits hearing in an international arbitration differ from a trial in U.S. litigation?
2015 Effective Advocacy in International Arbitration: Post-Award
What happens after an international arbitration award is issued?
Other upcoming events include the following: (1) May 10, 2016 (F-1 Visa Issues); (2) May 3, 2016 (Business of Art and Risk Management); and (3) June 7, 2016 (International Art: Trade and Tax).
Live Programs Update
2015 Annual Meeting Programs Presented by the International Law Section Were As Follows:
- “Aerospace, Defense and Export Controls: A Regulatory Minefield” on October 8;
- “International Law: EB-5 Immigrant Investor Update” on October 9;
- “Unaccompanied Minors: An International Law Approach to the Humanitarian Crisis at the U.S. Border” on October 9
On October 9, 2015, in connection with The State Bar of California Annual Meeting, Mary Hansel (Founding Chair of the Public International Law Committee) and Deepali Lugani (Member of the Public International Law Committee) moderated a panel on the international human rights implications of the recent U.S. detention of migrant families at the border. The panel featured distinguished panelists Peter Schey (lead counsel for the Flores litigation regarding family detention in Dilley, Texas), Brian Hoffman (lead attorney for the CARA Pro Bono Project in Dilley, Texas) and Shana Tabak (Assistant Professor at Georgia State University with a focus on the intersection of family detention and international law).
At the time of the 2015 Annual Meeting, the Executive Committee of the International Law Section held a meeting, followed by the ceremony for bestowing International Law Section’s most prestigious award. Attendees from the Mexican bar association, ANADE, were Jose Juan Mendez, Fernando Cervantes and Blanca Villaseñor. Attendees from the various bar associations in Japan included Messrs. Masahiro Nakatsukasa, Nobuaki Matsuoka, Kazuto Yamamoto, Ichiro Fujimoto, Nobuyuki Kondo and Kazuki Asada of the Osaki Bar Association; Mr. Yoshihiro Takatori of the Daiichi Tokyo Bar Association; and Ms. Tomoe Sakamoto of the Hiroshima Bar Association. Pictures and more information are provided below.
Members of the International Law Section Executive Committee and the Bar Associations in Mexico and Japan, meeting together in October of 2015.
2016 Annual Meeting (September 29 - October 2, 2016) in San Diego
As we have done in prior years, the International Law Section is planning to present programs at The State Bar of California Annual Meeting this year. This year’s Annual Meeting will be held on September 29 - October 2 in San Diego.
The State Bar of California will distribute the information and details regarding the Annual Meeting in coming months. We hope that you will attend the Annual Meeting and register for the programs presented by the International Law Section.
2015 Warren M. Christopher International Lawyer of the Year Award
At the Annual Meeting in October 2015, the International Law Section held a Reception at which we presented the 2015 Warren M. Christopher Award to the Honorable John V. Roos, the former U.S. Ambassador to Japan. The Award Reception was held at the Anaheim Marriott on October 10.
The International Law Section annually recognizes and honors a California lawyer for distinguished service in the promotion of the rule of law internationally or for significant achievement in the practice of international law. The recipient of the first such award was the late Warren M. Christopher, esteemed lawyer, diplomat and politician and the 63rd Secretary of State. Subsequently, the award was named in his honor.
As indicated above, the 2015 Warren M. Christopher Award (our fifth annual award) was presented at a Reception held on October 10, 2015, during The State Bar of California Annual Meeting.
The Reception attendees included the former State Bart of California President, the Honorable Holly Fujie, former Award recipient Mr. Al Golbert accompanied by his wife, and former Award recipient Professor Robert Lutz of Southwestern Law School.
In addition, we were honored that the Consul General of Japan in Los Angeles, Mr. Harry H. Horinouchi and his wife attended the event and gave a speech.
The reception was well-attended by members of the International Law Section, members of foreign bar associations who have entered into friendship agreements with the International Law Section, and well-wishers for Ambassador Roos. The International Law Section also thanks a number of sponsors, listed in the e-newsletter, without whom this event would not have been possible. Click here for pictures on Facebook.
The International Law Section Chair Harumi Hata, along with the Award recipient Ambassador Roos, the Consul General of Japan in Los Angeles, Mr. Horinouchi, and Mrs. Horinouchi.
We thank the following sponsors for supporting and sponsoring the Award Reception:
O'Melveny & Myers LLP
Seyfarth Shaw LLP
Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati
Golbert & Associates
Honyaku USA Inc.
Japanese American Bar Association (JABA)
On January 15, 2016, the Executive Committee of the International Law Section met in San Francisco and then participated in joint meetings and receptions of the different Sections of The State Bar of California. This gave them a chance to meet colleagues and even foreign attorneys from different countries.
The Chair and Members of the Executive Committee meeting with Uzzi Raanan, a Member of the Executive Committee of the Business Law Section and its Vice-President of Marketing and Outreach, and Zuocheng ("Jason") Hao, formerly a legislative staffer with the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress of the People's Republic of China and now studying at Stanford University.
As we have done in the past, the International Law Section is presenting the “Careers in International Law” programs at various law schools throughout California this year. As many of you know, each program, geared towards both law students, including LLM students, and practitioners, features a panel of seasoned attorneys in the international law arena, and the panelists speak about their career paths to pursuing an international law practice, provide advice about starting or growing an international law practice, and answer questions from the program attendees. In collaborating closely with the law schools which host the programs, the International Law Section continues to expand and deepen the relationships with various law schools and law students in California. The American Bar Association’s Section of International Law has continued to serve as a co-sponsor of the programs.
This year, thus far, we have presented the “Careers in International Law” program at Golden Gate, UC Berkeley, UC Davis, McGeorge, Loyola, California Western, and Thomas Jefferson. We plan to hold the “Careers in International Law” program at various law schools through the rest of 2016 and in 2017.
We will hold various programs in other law schools in Northern and Southern California in 2016 such as the Whitter Law School program described under Network Events in this Newsletter. If you would like to volunteer to be a panelist at any upcoming program or know of any law school in California that may be interested in holding such a program in 2016 and in 2017, please contact Karla Haynes at email@example.com.
Members of the Executive Committee and other lawyers speaking to law students at the “Careers in International Law” program.
The International Law Section has been working with various bar associations in foreign countries, including exploring opportunities to co-present programs, webinars and other events in California and abroad. To formalize the working relationships, we have entered into Friendship Agreements with some of the foreign bar associations, such as ANADE (Associación Nacional de Abogados de Empresa, Colegio de Abogados, A.C. of Mexico), the Law Council of Australia, the Barcelona Bar Association, the Daiichi Tokyo Bar Association, the Osaka Bar Association, the Bar Association of Toulouse, the Law Society of England and Wales, and the Vietnam Lawyers Association. We are reaching out to other foreign bar associations.
As reported above, representatives of the Daiichi Tokyo Bar Association, the Osaka Bar Association, the Hiroshima Bar Association, and ANADE attended The State Bar of California Annual Meeting in October of 2015, including the Warren M. Christopher Award presentation reception on October 10, 2015.
Gift of Friendship from the Osaka Bar Association presented at the October 2015 meeting.
Members of the International Law Section Executive Committee, together with the ANADE representatives, hard at work in October of 2015 planning events for the coming years.
Members of the Osaka Bar Association and the Daiichi Tokyo Bar Association providing valuable insights and perspectives to the International Law Section.
The Vice President of the Osaka Bar Association, Mr. Masahiro Nakatsukasa, presenting the International Law Section with a token of friendship, accepting for the International Law Section is the 2015-2016 Chair, Harumi Hata.
The Law Society of England and Wales. In 2014, the International Law Section and The Law Society of England and Wales, for which the International Law Section Executive Committee Member Alexandra Darraby is the liaison, signed a Friendship Agreement. In 2015, the International Law Section, for the first time, joined LEGAL LONDON, with the Litigation Section’s biennial meeting. Ms. Darraby chaired the inaugural program at LSEW, empaneling London and California lawyers: Wanted Dead or Alive: Publicity Rights on Both Sides of the Pond.” The program contrasted California’s celebrity rights with other protections adapted in the UK and was hosted at the offices of the Law Society of England and Wales.
A delegation from the Law Society of England and Wales, led by its Chair, will be in San Francisco on August 4-9, 2016, for a ceremony to commemorate the official signing of the Friendship Agreement. The International Law Section members who are interested in attending may contact Julie Martinez (Julie.Martinez@calbar.ca.gov).
Other Foreign Bar Associations? If you have contacts at any foreign bar association which may be interested in entering into a Friendship Agreement with the International Law Section, please contact Enrique Hernandez (firstname.lastname@example.org) and/or Michael Newman (email@example.com).
On October 9, 2015, in connection with the Bar’s Annual Meeting, Mary Hansel (Founding Chair of the Public International Law Committee) and Deepali Lugani (Member of the Public International Law Committee) moderated a panel on the international human rights implications of the recent U.S. detention of migrant families at the border. The panel featured distinguished panelists Peter Schey (lead counsel for the Flores litigation regarding family detention in Dilley, TX), Brian Hoffman (lead attorney for the CARA Pro Bono Project in Dilley, TX) and Shana Tabak (Assistant Professor at Georgia State University with a focus on the intersection of family detention and international law).
American Bar Association Section of International Law (ABA SIL)
The International Law Section has been working with the American Bar Association’s Section of International Law in exchanging information and supporting each other’s programs and events.
This fall, the International Law Section was a Cooperating Entity for the ABA SIL’s 2015 Fall Meeting in Montreal. The 2015 Fall meeting occurred on October 20-24 and featured panel presentations on a variety of international law topics, committee events and receptions. The International Law Section’s Executive Committee Member, Karla Haynes (pictured below - most right), presented at the Fall Meeting and was co-chair for “The Treacherous Road to a Global Workforce: The Complex Intersection of Export Controls, Employment, Immigration and Data Privacy laws” panel program.
On November 3, 2015, the International Law Section partnered with the ABA Section of International Law (“ABA SIL”) for a webinar program "Accountability and Sustainability: Views from Practice on Global Environmental and Social Performance Standards". The program featured a discussion on the regional practice of developing and implementing environmental and social performance standards to prevent or reduce project impacts from significant infrastructure projects. The expert panelists explained how the implementation of performance standards is relevant to attorneys in private practice, government practice, and civil society.
The ABA SIL held its Spring Meeting on April 12-16, 2016, with Justice Breyer as a luncheon speaker. Its 2014 Spring Meeting in New York attracted over 1,600 participants. For year’s Spring Meeting, an even larger turnout of leading attorneys, government officials, in-house counsel, academics and NGO lawyers was expected.
Members of the Executive Committee at the panel program.
International Bar Association (IBA)
The State Bar of California’s International Law Section is one of only five U.S. state bar associations that are members of the International Bar Association (IBA). The IBA, established in 1947, is the world’s leading organization of international legal practitioners, bar associations and law societies. The IBA influences the development of international law reform and shapes the future of the legal profession throughout the world.
The IBA Council is the governing body of the IBA. The IBA Council’s membership includes two representatives (“IBA Councillors”) of each member organization who serve as the key liaisons between the IBA and the International Law Section. For the 2014-2015 year, the IBA Councillors representing the ILS were Harumi Hata, current ILS Chair, and Elizabeth Foster, former ILS Chair. For the 2015-2016 year, the IBA Councillors representing the ILS are Harumi Hata, current ILS Chair, and Alexandra Darraby, current ILS Secretary.
At the IBA Council’s meetings, each bar association member has the opportunity to discuss issues and problems facing its own members. In addition, the IBA’s Bar Issues Commission (BIC) supports the interests of member organizations.
Through this membership and various other modes of cooperation with the IBA, ranging from multi-day conferences to on-line webinars, the International Law Section seeks to increase the footprint of our activities and to share knowledge and networking opportunities that may be of interest to all of our members.
Elizabeth Foster represented the International Law Section at the IBA’s 2015 Annual Meeting, held in Vienna in October 2015. The Bar Issues Commission presented several seminars of interest to members of regional bar associations, including “Dual qualification - enhancing your career prospects through qualifications,” and “What does the future hold for small law firms and what is the role of bar associations in helping these small law firms prepare for this future?” One of planning topics discussed in Vienna was the third annual “Silicon Valley/Silicon Beach” multi-day seminar series, to be held in Southern California in early 2017. This popular conference deals with topics of interest to business owners and entrepreneurs and their lawyers and attracts delegates from California and around the globe. Please watch for details in a future issue of this E-Newsletter.
This year’s IBA Annual Meeting will be held in Washington, D.C., on September 18-23, 2016. The deadline to register for the lower rate applicable to IBA Members is July 1, 2016, so please register now when you can take advantage of this lower rate. For more information as to the Annual Meeting, please click here: http://www.ibanet.org/Conferences/Washington2016.aspx. For more information about the IBA generally, please click here: www.int-bar.org.
The International Law Section hosts or participates in many networking events designed to introduce people to the work of the International Law Section or to international law events. For example, on March 16, 2016, the International Law Section presented the “Career in International Law” program at Whitter Law School.
As mentioned above, we are very happy and privileged that the International Law Section’s Executive Committee now includes the staff counsel representatives from the California Department of Justice, the California Department of Business Oversight, and the United States Securities and Exchange Commission. As a way to introduce these new additions further, we include the following updates/highlights from these governmental agencies which we hope would be of interest to the international practitioners.
The California Department of Justice.
Emilio Varanini has submitted an article published at the end of this newsletter, discussing some of the international work of his office. That article reflects his view and not that of his office or the California Attorney General. That article makes it clear that States such as California have an important role to play on international issues even in our federalist system.
The California Department of Business Oversight.
The Department of Business Oversight (“DBO”) deals directly with issues that resonate in the immigration field and internationally. For example, the DBO handed down an order in October 2015 shutting down a pyramid scheme involving digital currency: http://www.dbo.ca.gov/Press/press_releases/2015/USFIA%20Release%20on%20Desist%20and%20Refrain%20Order%2010-01-15.pdf.
DBO Moves to Stop Arcadia-Based Securities Fraud Scheme Linked to Digital Currency
Sellers Billed ‘Gemcoin’ as Better than Bitcoin
SACRAMENTO – The California Department of Business Oversight (DBO) moved to stop an alleged Arcadia-based securities fraud scheme that markets a digital currency called Gemcoin, billed as better than Bitcoin. DBO officials estimate the fraud has victimized hundreds of Californians and thousands nationwide.
“All investment fraud is intolerable, but this Gemcoin scheme ranks high on the egregious scale,” said DBO Commissioner Jan Lynn Owen. “The perpetrators’ claims are outlandish and disturbing, and their unlawful conduct required quick action to help prevent further victimization.”
The DBO issued an enforcement order against US Fine Investment Arts, Inc. (USFIA) and three of the firm’s executives that alleges they have unlawfully sold securities without the DBO’s approval, and lied to and misled investors in offering and selling the securities. The order requires USFIA and the officers to “desist and refrain” from further violations. USFIA is based in Arcadia, CA.
The three officers named in the order are: President Steve Chen; Vice President of Investor Relations Leonard Stacy Johnson and spokesman Weiwen (Wayne) Zhao.
The alleged investment scheme centers on the gemstone amber. USFIA claims to own amber mines across the globe, and that the value of those assets totals more than $5 billion. USFIA claims those “hard assets” back Gemcoins. That is one reason Gemcoins are superior to Bitcoin and other digital currencies, USFIA has told investors.
In presentations and other marketing material, USFIA has touted Gemcoin as “the new gold rush” and a “business opportunity 100 years in the making,” the DBO order says. The order alleges USFIA also has advertised “unstoppable growth” by Gemcoin since the initial issuance in 2014.
The DBO order cites a Feb. 8, 2015 investor presentation held at the Marriot Mission Valley in San Diego. In the presentation, USFIA representatives said a $10,000 investment would earn investors 66,000 Gemcoin at the then-current price of 15 cents per Gemcoin. According to the order, USFIA said investors would reap a “guaranteed” profit in 60 days, claiming, “The price will never go back, it will only go up. It will go up to $1.00.” That would represent an increase in value of more than 650 percent, the order notes.
USFIA has claimed the State of California has endorsed Gemcoin. That claim is false. Here’s how the investment scheme has worked, according to the order:
USFIA marketed and sold investment contracts for set amounts of $1,000, $2,000, $5,000, $10,000 or $30,000. The contracts entitled investors to some amber jewelry and “reward points” that subsequently could be redeemed for Gemcoins.
The operation also had a pyramid scheme aspect, the order alleges, in that USFIA promised investors they could earn additional reward points if they recruited new investors. At some promotional events, USFIA “purported to give away cars, trips, luxury purses and other valuable items to persons who had recruited a large number of new investors,” the order alleges.
As a further illustration of the international and immigration issues that California often faces and the role that the DBO and its local partners can play, please see the attached story from February of 2016:
Torrance bank manager honored by sheriff’s department
By City News Service
Posted: 02/04/16, 1:43 AM PST |
TORRANCE >> The commercial manager of the Bank of the West’s South Bay branch in Torrance has been honored by the sheriff’s department for stopping a 74-year-old woman of being conned out of hundreds of thousands of dollars, the department announced today.
Teruichi “Terry” Horikawa became very concerned when a longtime customer said she was considering an investment in the spring of 2014. Horikawa arranged a lunch meeting with her and the person providing information about the investment. He then advised her against it until additional information was learned. Horikawa strongly recommended she seek advice from her children who are fluent in English and would better understand the complexities of the investment and any documents related to it.
The woman went to the bank on Sept. 9, 2014, in the company of a man and woman of East Indian descent who completed the necessary paperwork to transfer about $200,000 from her bank account to their own. However, the wire transfer could not be made because it was too late in the day. Horikawa checked bank records and learned that approximately another $200,000 had recently been transferred into the woman’s bank account from an escrow company. Horikawa surmised that the elderly woman had refinanced her real estate in order to make the investment.
The woman returned to Bank of the West branch on Sept. 12, 2014, with the female from the prior visit and a second woman, also of East Indian descent. This time the first female presented Horikawa with a power of attorney which had been notarized by the second female.
The power of attorney authorized the first woman to make financial decisions on behalf of the victim of the scam. Horikawa had noted that none of the East Indian individuals spoke Japanese and he knew the woman did not speak English. Horikawa began speaking to the woman in Japanese in order to ascertain if she knew what was happening. In speaking to her, Horikawa learned that she did not know anything about the company she was investing in, the specifics of the investment, or the refinance of her real estate.
Horikawa called Bank of the West fraud investigators to seek direction and advice. The bank’s investigators called the sheriff’s Fraud & Cyber Crimes Bureau — Elder Fraud Detail while the woman and the two East Indian women waited at Horikawa’s desk. Elder Fraud Detail detectives immediately began an investigation. The wire transfer was stopped and the woman’s money was preserved. It was later learned that the woman had already “invested” $80,000 with the company. Elder Fraud Detail detectives identified a bank account belonging to the company which contained a large sum of money and sought and obtained judicial authorization to freeze the company’s bank account.
Over the following year, the criminal investigation revealed a complex investment fraud scam. Detectives served more than 10 search warrants and court orders and seized thousands of documents. Detectives also worked with the Securities and Exchange Commission and the California Department of Business Oversight to complete the investigation. The case is under review by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
It is anticipated that the seizure of the company’s bank account will ultimately provide funds for restitution of the $80,000 the woman “invested” with the company.
The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) - SEC Highlights:
Hitachi: On September 28, 2015, the Securities and Exchange Commission charged Tokyo-based conglomerate Hitachi, Ltd. with violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) when it inaccurately recorded improper payments to South Africa’s ruling political party in connection with contracts to build two multi-billion dollar power plants.
The SEC alleges that Hitachi sold a 25-percent stake in a South African subsidiary to a company serving as a front for the African National Congress (ANC). This arrangement gave the front company and the ANC the ability to share in the profits from any power station contracts that Hitachi secured. Hitachi was ultimately awarded two contracts to build power stations in South Africa and paid the ANC’s front company approximately $5 million in “dividends” based on profits derived from the contracts. Through a separate, undisclosed arrangement, Hitachi paid the front company an additional $1 million in “success fees” that were inaccurately booked as consulting fees without appropriate documentation.
Hitachi’s misconduct violated the books and records and internal accounting controls provisions of the federal securities laws, specifically Sections 13(b)(2)(A) and 13(b)(2)(B) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.
Without admitting or denying the SEC’s allegations, Hitachi agreed to a settlement that would require the company to pay a $19 million penalty, and that would permanently enjoin it from future violations.
SAP / Vincente Garcia: On August 12, 2015, the Securities and Exchange Commission announced that a former executive at a worldwide software manufacturer has agreed to settle charges that he violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) by bribing Panamanian government officials through an intermediary to procure software license sales.
An SEC investigation found that Vicente E. Garcia, the former vice president of global and strategic accounts for SAP SE, orchestrated a scheme to pay $145,000 in bribes to one government official, and promised to pay two others in order to obtain four contracts to sell SAP software to the Panamanian government. He essentially caused SAP, which is headquartered in Germany and executes most of its sales through a network of worldwide corporate partners, to sell software to a partner in Panama at discounts of up to 82 percent. The excessive discounts enabled the partner to create a slush fund from its excessive earnings on the other end of the sales and tap that money to pay the bribes to Panamanian government officials so SAP could sell the software. Garcia, who lives in Miami, also received kickbacks from the slush fund into his bank account.
In a parallel action, the U.S. Department of Justice announced a criminal action against Garcia.
The SEC’s order finds that Garcia violated the anti-bribery and internal controls provisions of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Garcia consented to the entry of the cease-and-desist order and agreed to pay disgorgement of $85,965, which is the total amount of kickbacks he received, plus prejudgment interest of $6,430 for a total of $92,395.
The Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP): A Primer
By Alexandra Darraby, Secretary, International Law Section
TRANS PACIFIC PARTNERSHIP: The Short Version
On October 5, 2015, the Trans Pacific Partnership (“TPP”) was signed, an event of potentially radical significance to the U.S. and 11 other countries, a list that currently includes Japan, Australia, Canada, Peru, Viet Nam, Chile, Brunei, Singapore, New Zealand, Mexico, and Malaysia. The TPP is a multilateral trade agreement affecting 40% of global GDP, secretly negotiated among the 12 countries in diverse venues over many years. The “partners” agreed upon trade issues in some 37-38 separate chapters on topics ranging from goods, taxes, labor, the environment and IP. The TPP is an all-in pact, accounting in part for the lengthy negotiating process, from which signatories may not opt out, or in treaty language “reserve,” any chapter or any particular provision.
The October signing was historic and transfixed the media for weeks, but now the TPP moves from itinerant negotiators to national approval—in whatever form authorization takes in the “partner” nations. In the U.S., authorization requires Congressional approval, and the TPP will be fashioned into a bill that goes to Congress for vote, presenting tricky and uncertain timing issues in an election year. The approval process is theoretically fast-tracked under the Trade Promotion Authority that provides for time-limited debate, no amendment and an up-or-down vote. Pundits are predicting lame-duck timing on Congressional consideration.
The TPP is promoted stateside as a boost to “Made in America” goods and an elimination of 18,000 tariffs on American products, according to the U.S. Trade Representative.
TRANS PACIFIC PARTNERSHIP: The Long Term
Although the TPP is presented as a multilateral geographically sweeping deal, Japan and the U.S. are the key trade partners, and under a dual-track system, were engaged in bilateral trade talks as the TPP negotiations moved forward. The TPP has enormous implications for relations among the two countries on matters of cars, agriculture, trade secrets, labor, and more that undoubtedly will have more than economic consequences on market shares, taxes and tariffs. The reporting requirements, whatever they may turn out to be, may augur a level of transparency and harmonization that portends corporate and cultural changes.
The USTR Office web site presents the TPP as a win for American goods and American labor; in economic terms, that would indicate built-in global incentives in bottom line trade relief that has no zero-sum game.
Notes from Abroad: London
By Margrette Francisco, International Law Section Executive Committee Member
On July 1, 2015, the Law Society of England and Wales (LSEW) hosted the International Marketplace Conference 2015: Going Global at its office in London. The objective of the event was to bring together UK law firms focused on developing their international business with law firm leaders from emerging markets wanting to develop relationships in the UK legal community. The program, attended by attorney delegations from Argentina, Brazil, China, Columbia, Costa Rica, Egypt, Ghana, India, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Nigeria, Peru, and Rwanda, provided a dynamic forum where panels of industry experts shared strategy and insights on how to enter and prosper in the global legal market. Breakout sessions by country region allowed participants to network and discuss opportunities to conduct legal business in emerging markets in Latin America, Africa, Central Asia, India and China. The International Law Section has through events like this forged a close working relationship with LSEW. Future LSEW-hosted international events will be posted upon receipt of scheduled dates; the International Law Section urges those members who can to attend such events as LSEW is in the forefront of global issues.
Notes from Abroad: Vienna – The Imperial City
By Elizabeth Foster, 2013 - 2014 Chair, International Law Section
I was honored to represent the International Law Section at the 2015 Annual Meeting of the International Bar Association (IBA), held in Vienna, Austria this year. During the conference, I attended a magnificent evening of food, drinks and traditional Viennese music, hosted by a Canadian law firm and held in the Zeremoniensaal (Ceremonial Hall) of the Hofburg Palace. This spectacular venue provided a glimpse of what Vienna must have been like during the glory days of the Hapsburg Empire and its successor, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, which had its beginnings in the early 16th century and ultimately ruled an astonishingly large territory that included portions of present-day Austria, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland and the Ukraine.
Vienna was the capital of this Empire for nearly 350 years, from 1526 to 1867 (except, curiously, during a short period when the capital moved to Prague). The House of Hapsburg was the Empire’s principal ruler, and the Hofburg Palace their principal residence. Wandering around the gorgeous Ceremonial Hall, it was easy to imagine these feudal rulers appearing on the upper balcony, speaking down to the crowds gathered below. It was a far cry from the rule of law to which 21st Century lawyers are charged with furthering and promoting.
Yet few cities can match the imperial grandeur of Vienna. The pure white Lipizzaner stallions performing ballet, the angelic voices of the Vienna Boys’ Choir rising above the city, and opulent palaces such as the Hofburg that provide a delightful venue for modern-day lawyers to meet each other, discuss the rule of law, and drink champagne!
While in Vienna, I had time to visit just a few of its many museums. Here is something for everyone: museums covering art, history, music, architecture, and many other subjects. In fact, the beautiful MuseumsQuartier is one of the largest collections of museums in the entire world.
It was there that I noticed a very 21st Century method of art appreciation. At designated “Selfie Points” in a museum, one can document oneself as appearing in front of a reproduction, thus eliminating the crowds that would otherwise observe (and presumably, take photographs of themselves observing) these famous works of art on display all over Vienna. I wondered whether, at some point in the future, there will be an entire “Selfie Museum” housing reproductions of all the world’s masterpieces … thus eliminating the need to travel and actually see the originals?
For my part, I’d still recommend seeing the originals in Vienna. To be followed by a strong cup of Viennese coffee and an apple strudel at the Café Mozart, where such delicious morsels have been served since the glory days of the Hapsburgs.
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