By Vanessa Frank Garcia

The Mexican American Bar Association is planning another wonderful trip with participation open to all, including judicial officers. Taking place Spring, 2012, the focus of the week-long trip to Guatemala will bethe exploration of the Civil (Roman) Law tradition and its intersection with vibrant pre-Columbian legal traditions governing large swaths of this diverse nation. Our Guatemalan colleagues will also be eager to learn from us about U.S. and California law. With a population of about 15 million people, there are over 20 nationally recognized languages in Guatemala, most predating the European arrival. Beginning in the capital, Guatemala City, we will meet with law professors and private attorneys and enjoy great food and some sightseeing. Then we’ll head out to the Western region, home to some of the culturally richest indigenous communities in the Americas. There, we will meet traditional leaders of these Mayan communities and gain a deeper understanding of traditional legal models. With the 1996 conclusion of Guatemala’s civil war, pre-Columbian culture and language have gained official recognition and support. The legal systems are no exception and pre-Columbian jurisprudence continues to develop. The Land of Eternal Spring is always a beautiful place to visit, and in late Spring it is less “touristy.” We hope to time our trip to conclude immediately prior to Holy Week (Semana Santa), allowing you to extend your stay to enjoy this colorful and festive time. We have space for 30 attorneys. Family members can “tag along.” No Spanish is required. If you are interested in participating, please email Vanessa Frank Garcia at vanessa.frankgarcia@gmail.com. Vanessa Frank Garcia practices primarily immigration law in Oxnard. She graduated from Stanford Law School and has traveled extensively in Guatemala with her family.

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