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Guatemala Purple

Guatemala Courses — May 28 to June 20

U.S. and Latin American law students must enroll in four (4) semester units of credit.

The Central American Migration Corridor — two (2) units, graded

  • Professor Raquel Aldana, University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law
  • Language — Taught in Spanish

At least three significant migration waves characterize the journey north for thousands of Central Americans. The first, provoked by Guatemala’s bloody 36-year civil war, involved thousands of political asylum seekers in Mexico and the United States. The second wave of immigration, provoked by natural disaster, displaced thousands of environmental and economic refugees. Most recently, primarily women and children are fleeing Central America’s largely private violence when their own governments refuse or are unable to protect them. This course will focus on the social and legal disruptions produced by these waves of migration in the receiving nations, with a focus on Mexico and the United States. Students will study and critique the responses of the sending and receiving nations to the phenomena of mass Central American outmigration.

Commercial Law for Foreign Investors in Guatemala — two (2) units, graded

This course uses the United States Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to examine the legal framework regulating foreign investment in Central America and Mexico. With ratification of CAFTA-DR, Guatemala opened its doors not only to trade but also to foreign investment, including from U.S. companies looking to do business in Guatemala. While the CAFTA-DR includes norms that govern the relationship between foreign investors and Member States, the domestic laws of each Member State continue to provide the central regulatory structure that governs relations among the parties, including in the areas of commerce, intellectual property, labor and the environment. This introductory course examines the principal commercial norms that apply to foreign investors in Guatemala, with special emphasis on the law of contracts. The course will examine the comparable norms applicable under NAFTA, and will also discuss how CAFTA's ratification has promoted rule of law reforms in Guatemala in the areas of commerce, intellectual property, labor and the environment.

Lawyering Across Borders — two (2) units, graded

  • Professors Julie Davies and Luis Mogollón and teachers from Academia Antigüeña de Español
  • Language — Taught primarily in Spanish

This course will prepare students with intermediate Spanish proficiency to represent Spanish-speaking clients in the U.S. legal system or to work in Spanish on transnational matters involving Latin America. The class will allow students to practice legal skills in Spanish, such as client interviewing, and client counseling, through simulations and group exercises.

For about half of the class hours, students will work with their individual language instructors on assignments for the Lawyering Across Borders course. Intensive legal Spanish language instruction will be fully integrated with the rest of the course curriculum.

For Pacific McGeorge students only, this course meets the law school’s professional skills course requirement.

The Law of U.S.-Latin American Foreign Relations — two (2) units, graded

  • Professor John Sims, Pacific McGeorge School of Law
  • Language — Taught in English

This course will explore the legal principles governing the relations between the United States and Latin America. Topics to be considered, in the context of that relationship, include the law of treaties; customary international law; international organizations; the interaction of Congress and the President on foreign relations, the use of armed force, and covert actions; and aspects of such problems as the protection of human rights, the environmental issues raised by mining and other large-scale extractive activities, workers’ rights, and the rights of indigenous peoples. Some of the historical events that will be considered include the CIA’s overthrow of the government of Guatemala in 1954, the Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961 and the subsequent protracted U.S. trade embargo of Cuba, the U.S. occupation of the Dominican Republic in 1965, the Pinochet regime in Chile, the negotiation of the Panama Canal treaties, the invasions of Grenada and Panama, the Iran-Contra affair, and more recent developments affecting the development of democratic institutions and processes of accountability.

Spanish Language Academy — no law school credit

Students enrolled in Lawyering Across Borders have individual tutors at a leading Spanish language school. Some hours are dedicated to working on projects for Lawyering Across Borders but typically students spend a total of three (3) to four (4) hours per day with their tutor working on Spanish conversation and grammar. This is included in the tuition of Lawyering Across Borders. Some students not in Lawyering Across Borders may want to have Spanish lessons. If the Spanish school can accommodate the requested tutoring, the student would pay the Spanish school directly. Lessons will correspond with each student's individual goals and proficiency level.


Contact Ly Lee, Summer Abroad Programs Coordinator
Pacific McGeorge School of Law
3200 Fifth Ave.
Sacramento, CA  95817
Email | Phone: 916.739.7021 | Fax: 916.739.7363