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6 THE LAWYERS WEEKLY March 18, 2005

LEGAL BUSINESS
New joint-degree programs offer glimpse into future of legal education
By John Richardson “an international world where
Toronto international awareness is be-
There is perhaps no closer eco- coming more and more crucial.”
nomic relationship than that of And even U.S. lawyers and
Canada and the United States. And firms are excited about the pros-
despite political differences, that pects. Willard Taylor, a partner at
relationship has grown – and con- Sullivan & Cromwell LLP in New
tinues to grow – at a remarkable York and a part-time professor at
rate. NYU, notes that the number of
The Canada-U.S. Free Trade Canadian lawyers and law students
Agreement of 1989 and the North who already go to New York is
American Free Trade Agreement, huge — largely because New York
which came into effect in the mid- is a “magnet for lawyers.”
1990s, were the catalysts for the His firm regularly interviews
current upsurge in trade between Canadian law students because of
the two countries. the firm’s international agenda.
When the first agreement was “Canada is a great source of good
signed, two-way trade of goods law students,” he said, “some of
and services was US$192.4 billion them speak French and Sullivan
a year. In 2003, that figure sur- Cromwell has an office in Paris.”
passed US$441.5 billion — more From a student perspective, he
than double the amount of 14 sees the already existing interest in
years earlier. New York as proof that there is “an
But that’s not all. There are appetite for an LL.B.-J.D. pro-
reportedly more than 300 treaties gram.”
governing trade between the two There is also early proof that
countries and the U.S. has become these degrees are an effective tool
an important market for all Cana- to combating the academic brain-
dian businesses — including the drain.
business of law, as legal issues According to the deans, early
with cross-border implications are evidence suggests that LL.B.-J.D.
becoming the rule rather than the Law students at Osgoode Hall Law School (above) will have greater career options thanks to the new programs are not only keeping
exception. LL.B.-J.D. program the school is offering in conjunction with New York University. strong law students in Canada, but
In response, some Canadian Photo courtesy of Osgoode Hall Law School are providing an opportunity for
law firms have left behind their Canadians studying law in the U.S.
east-west expansion plans, setting Canadian practising in the New The trend of offering these Dean Bruce Feldthusen of the to return to Canada.
their sights south instead. Torys York office, says lawyers in gen- unique degrees was set by the Uni- University of Ottawa agrees. “The Dean Monahan says that Os-
LLP and Blake, Cassels & eral must be better trained to deal versity of Windsor and the Univer- joint-degree provides training in oode’s new LL.B.-J.D. program is
Graydon LLP are two examples of with cross-border matters. sity of Ottawa when they became two legal systems, two legal cul- already attracting interest from
Canadian firms that have ex- “Every transaction has multi- the only Canadian law schools to tures and two national cultures,” he Canadians who were only consid-
panded their businesses to the U.S. jurisdictional aspects and needs allow students to earn both a Cana- noted. “In an era of globalization, ering top U.S. schools, but now see
because of the rapidly growing lawyers who are not only experts dian LL.B. and a U.S. J.D in the this will soon be a minimum re- the Osgoode-NYU joint-degree as
needs of Canadian clients with in their own jurisdictions, but who fall of 2001. quirement for many areas of the an opportunity for the “best of
American interests. can manage the process of multi- University of Ottawa students practice.” both worlds.”
Since its merger with New jurisdictional transactions,” she spend two years in Ottawa and two But the deans say these joint- And Dean Feldthusen has re-
York-based Haythe & Curley in explained. years at either Michigan State or degree programs were not the ceived interest in the Ottawa
Oct. 1999, Torys has established And as a result of the changing American University in Wash- result of a request or pressure from LL.B.-J.D. from Canadians in the
itself as a law firm that practises market, some Canadian law ington, D.C while Windsor stu- the legal profession. U.S. who see it as a way to return
U.S. law as well as Canadian law. schools have begun implementing dents earn the LL.B. and J.D. “The profession was not in- to Canada.
Its New York office has approxi- programs or degrees in conjunc- degrees by studying for three years volved at all,” said Feldthusen. From a student perspective, the
mately 75 lawyers – 70 American tion with American law schools in an integrated program at the “We have had to work hard to programs are becoming more and
lawyers and five Canadian lawyers that will better prepare Canadian- Universities of Windsor and inform the profession about the more popular.
who have passed the New York trained lawyers deal with cross- Detroit. program [but] in our case, the ini- The University of Ottawa pro-
State Bar – while its Toronto office border issues. Graduates of joint LL.B.-J.D. tiative came from the two U.S. law gram received over 300 applica-
has 250 lawyers. Approximately The latest example of such an programs earn separate Canadian deans. The U.S. schools increas- tions last year and it expects to
10 per cent of them have passed arrangement was announced in and American law degrees and can ingly want to take an international graduate 25 students per year
the New York State Bar as well, January when Toronto-based Os- take the Bar exam in Canada and perspective to legal education.” while the University of Windsor
with another five per cent on the goode Hall Law School announ- the U.S. That, according to Univer- Although the deans say these had 21 graduates in 2004 and
road to obtaining that designation. ced the creation of a joint LL.B.- sity of Windsor Faculty of Law initiatives were not driven by the expects that to increase to 29 grad-
As a result, the firm’s business J.D. program between the school Dean Bruce Elman, is a major profession, the response from uates by 2006.
has become increasingly cross- and New York University’s (NYU) benefit not only for students, but firms has been nothing but posi- Thus far, Osgoode has received
border. Case in point: Peter Jewett, law school. Osgoode students who for the firms where they will prac- tive and many of their lawyers are enormous expressions of interest,
the chair of the corporate depart- enroll in the joint-degree program tise once they’re called to the supportive of it. according to Dean Monahan.
ment in the Toronto office, re- will spend two years at Osgoode Bar(s). Blakes’ Virginia Davies noted Besides Osgoode, Ottawa and
cently headed a joint Canada-U.S. and two years at NYU. “Students who graduate from that the firm “is very enthusiastic Windsor, none of the other law
legal team that acted for the federal “Globalization is having a our integrated program have had about this initiative.” She sees it as schools in Canada have yet to offer
government in its sale of Petro tremendous impact on the profes- the benefit of studying the law of a “new integrated process for such a program. But with the
Canada — the largest equity sion,” noted Osgoode’s dean, Canada and the U.S. in an inte- people to get an education in both potential of a joint-degree to rede-
offering in Canadian history. Patrick Monahan. “Lawyers will grated fashion,” he explained. Canadian and U.S. law.” fine legal education, as well as the
Blakes’ American business require the skills and training to “Their value to a firm is that they Meanwhile Peter Jewett of increasing demand of the profes-
model is far different. It acts as a practise in different jurisdictions. are well equipped to research and Torys believes that LL.B.-J.D. pro- sion to offer more cross-border
foreign legal consultant in New The LL.B.-J.D. program is a write memos in U.S. law and can grams will “not turn out experts in services, many say it’s only a
York, advising U.S clients on reflection of the law school assist their firms in understanding U.S. law,” but, instead, graduates matter of time before other Cana-
Canadian law. catching up with this reality, as the what lawyers on the other side of will start their careers “with an dian law schools begin to offer
Lawyer Virginia Davies, a trend deepens.” the table are talking about.” exposure to both legal systems” in their own joint-degree programs.