The Trump Administration and the future of the U.S. - Mexico Border

Professor James Cooper, Director of ACCESO, Publishes New Book - Environment and Law in Amazonia: A Plurilateral Encounter

In April 2013, a new edited, interdisciplinary collection about the role of law and the environment in the Amazon region, was published by Sussex Academic Press in the United Kingdom. 

Co-edited by ACCESO Director Professor James Cooper and Professor Christine Hunefeldt of the Department of History of the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), the book is the result of a May 2010 international conference, which was co-sponsored by the Center for Iberian and Latin American Studies at UCSD and the International Legal Studies Program at California Western School of Law (CWSL) with support from Title VI of the U.S. Department of Education.

The book is a collection of essays from the various experts including journalists, diplomats, academicians, geographers and social scientists as well as lawyers.  It is truly an interdisciplinary effort and includes a DVD with two films - one by Renzo Zanelli and one by Professor James Cooper.  Claes Andreasson, of Swedish and US National Public Radio, wrote a chapter and narrated one of the videos on the DVD.  He passed away during the final stage of editing of this book and the book is dedicated to his memory.  

Amazoniais transnational in nature and reflective of the changing landscape of legal practice today.  Increasingly, our lawyers are being asked to help solve problems that transcend border and legal cultures and challenge traditional state actors and institutions.  “By providing many perspectives by so many nationalities, this book contributes to the expanding literature that links indigenous activism, corporate profiteering, and regional problem-solving.  

Traditionally books about the environment are not inclusive of this many perspective and the kind of plurilateral thinking that went on at the May 2010 conference as reflected in this volume,” explained Professor James Cooper.

Univision Reports on ACCESO Leadership concerning Rule of Law Efforts in Latin America

Professor James Cooper, Director of Proyecto ACCESO, continues to appear in the Spanish language media to push for the strengthening of the rule of law throughout the Americas. 


In late July, he was featured in a Univision News report on the judicial reform sweeping Latin America and the role that Proyecto ACCESO has played in these reforms by training the lawyers and judges of the legal sectors in many of the countries undertaking the reform process. 


You can view the report here:  

IP Week pictures

ACCESO looks to new reforms for a probation system in Chile

As Chile returns the reigns of government to the Concertación, we see many of the same people working in judicial reform issues.  Minister of Justice José Antonio Gomez is back at the helm after much time in Congress as a Senator. He served as Justice Minister in the early 2000’s and worked towards the criminal procedure reform together with former Sub-secretary of Justice Jaime Arrellano, who is now at the helm of the Centro de Estudios de Justicia de las Americas.  It is the same faces and often the same institutions. 


Together with the Chilean authorities, faith institutions, and social services, a new probation system will be cobbled together.  This is not for the faint of heart – it will take ten to fifteen years to accomplish it.  Legal reform the first time round – in the late 1990s to reform the Codigo Proceso Penal – took many years to accomplish, but it got done.  Chile needs to expand its penal punishment system and include some elements of rehabilitation and a concern for reintegration into society. 


For some commentary in Chile about this, please see


Julia Yu, a California Western School of Law student who interned with Fundación Paz Ciudadana, the main proponent of a probation law project in Chile, explains that “this non-profit research think tank influences how laws are made and resources appropriated by new state projects.  It’s exciting to see how movements are created; it’s where public policy goes into real effect.”  For some of the foundation’s work, please see


Proyecto ACCESO will be working in the coming years with other stakeholders in helping build a probation project in its criminal law and social service system.  Visit this website again soon for more information on the reform movement and its new activities.  

The International Legal Studies Program Spring 2016 Events at California Western School of Law

International Legal Studies Program Spring 2016 Events

at California Western School of Law



January 21 –  12:10 p.m., 2G

Summer Study Abroad Programs Information Event



February 3 – 2:40 p.m., MMR

“The Proliferation of Specialized International Courts”

Colonel Linda Murnane, Special Tribunal for Lebanon, The Hague



February 18 – 10:50 a.m., LH2

International Legal Practice in Asia Panel Discussion

Kam Li, Procopio, Cory; John Grimley,; Bill Hornung, Price Horne; and Tara Shah, Conventus Law, Hong Kong



February 19 - 10 a.m.- 3:30 p.m., Boardroom

“Privatization in the International Arena” Conference, co-sponsored by University of California, San Diego, Institute for International, Comparative and Area Studies

Speakers include Paul Verkuil, Former Chair of the Administrative Conference of the United States; Mark Borkowski, Assistant Commissioner, U.S. Customs and Border Protection; Professor Gallya Lahav, SUNY at Stony Brook; Professor Fernando Dias de Simoes, University of Macau; and Michael Flynn, Global Detention Project.



March 3 - 12:10 p.m., 2F

“The OAS Legal System in the Twenty-First Century” 

Luis Toro Utillano, Organization of American States



For more information, please contact Professor James Cooper at  


California Western School of Law and the Fiscalia Nacional (Attorney General) of Chile, signed a cooperative agreement,

California Western School of Law and the Fiscalia Nacional (Attorney General) of Chile, represented by Sabas Chahuán Sarrás, signed a convenio (cooperative agreement).

The Fiscalia Nacional has hosted California Western students for internships over several years in Santiago, Chile, a placement at which students develop skills while gaining valuable international experience and a comparative perspective. Additionally, California Western has worked with Chilean legal and governmental officials to promote the rule of law and facilitates the transformation from an inquisitorial to an adversarial criminal justice system, similar to that of the United States. Through Proyecto ACCESO and the Chile Summer Program, California Western students work with and learn from Chile’s legal officials and scholars. The agreement formalized the long-standing relationship between California Western and Chile’s Fiscalia Nacional.


The convenio has five main objectives:

      I.         Exchange of legal officials and scholars from both institutions for investigation and assistance in areas of interest;

    II.         Facilitation of law student exchanges for an opportunity to participate in courses and other academic activities or programs, such as professional social services and professional internships;

  III.         Assist and promote the fulfillment of academic activities and projects;

   IV.         Organize and execute capacitation, workshops and conferences of academic courses in areas of interest;

     V.         Exchange of experiences in common areas.


The Dean and President of California Western School of Law, Niels B. Schaumann, said, “For several years, they have hosted California Western interns, all of whom describe great experiences. We thank them for their support of our programs and the opportunities they provide our students to develop legal skills while gaining valuable international experience. I am excited about the opportunities for additional cooperation that this agreement provides.”

Professor James Cooper, Director of ACCESO, Speaks at International Conference Organized by the Attorney-General’s Office of Chile

On November 26, 2013, Professor James Cooper, Director of Proyecto ACCESO, spoke at an international conference at the University of Chile about the evolving role of the public prosecutor in Chile.


Held at the beautiful Magna Aula at the Facultad de Derecho at the Universidad de Chile, this two day conference also brought a number of international experts including legendary legal reform founder Professor Alberto Binder, German criminal procedure expert Professor Dr. Kai Ambos, and Colombian prosecutor Yeni Fonseca who currently works on prosecuting human rights violations in Guatemala.  Attorney-General Sabbas Chahuán hosted the assembled team of experts as over 250 attendees from the Fiscalia Nacional joined in celebrating 15 years of this institution of law enforcement created in the early part of the criminal procedure reform of Chile.

ACCESO Director and CWSL Alumnus Publish Opinion Piece on the Changing Nature of Law and Politics in Guatemala

An opinion piece about the leadership changes in Guatemala by Proyecto ACCESO Director and CWSL alumnus Marcelo Rivas was published in the San Diego Union Tribune on September 17, 2015.  You can read it here:

A Spanish language version of the opinion piece appeared on October 15, 2016 in San Diego’s leading Spanish-language newspaper El Latino.  You can read it here:

Marcelo Rivas, a former officer cadet in the Guatemalan Army, was a participant in the Chile Summer Program in 2013.  He graduated from California Western School of Law in May 2015 and wrote the California State Bar Examination in July 2015.

TPP, Arbitration, and the Future of International Business

On June 30, 2015 at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile in Santiago, Proyecto ACCESO, with co-sponsors Librotecnia and the Chile-California Council, produced an international seminar on the Trans-Pacific Partnership.  You can see the poster for the seminar here.


Speakers came from the Chilean Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Felipe Lopeandia), the Chilean Institute for Intellectual Property (Sergio Escudero), the University of Macau (Fernando Dias de Samoes), the Santiago Chamber of Commerce (Macarena Letelier), California Western School of Law (Thomas D. Barton, James Cooper and Richard Page), as well as the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (Nicolas Cabo, Ignacio Garcia, and Gabriela Novoa).


In light of the stalled conclusion to the Doha Round (Development Round) of liberalized trade negotiations under the World Trade Organization, all eyes are on the TPP to break open traditionally protected countries and create systems of dispute resolution that protect investors as well as labor and environmental standards for all the countries negotiating – including Australia, Brunei, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, United States, and Vietnam. 



There also was a launch of the new book by Professors Thomas Barton and James Cooper on Intellectual Property Rights and Alternative Dispute Resolution, published by Editorial Librotecnia.




ACCESO Director Visits Universad de Católica with 20 U.S. Law Students


In May 26, 2016, Professor James Cooper, who was in Chile with 20 U.S. law students from two law schools - California Western School of Law and South Texas College of Law, spoke at Universidad Católica in Santiago, Chile.  

The class was held in conjunction with the class of Professor Jorge Sahd of Universidad Católica.  

Mexico Moot Court Finals

Proyecto ACCESO with the Institute for Criminal Defense Advocacy’s California Innocence Project at California Western School of Law won a grant in 2013 to create and rollout a national moot court competition in Mexico. 


The program, which started in 2014, was funded by the U.S. Department of State.  A final competition in Year One of the program occurred on July 13, 2015 in Washington DC. 


For more details, please see