New law degree to prepare graduates to practice in US, Canada
A new degree at the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law will now prepare students from the U.S. and Canada to seek bar admission in both countries, expanding the job market for new attorneys and creating new opportunities for international law practice.
The North American Law Degree will allow students to graduate, within three years, with a J.D. designed to allow them to immediately seek licensure in Canada without further coursework, in addition to qualifying them for bar admission in the U.S., making the College of Law’s J.D. program unique among U.S. law schools. Dean Douglas Sylvester, a dual citizen of the U.S. and Canada and a graduate of both Canadian and U.S. schools of higher education, believes the degree will be an invaluable opportunity for future attorneys.
“I have seen firsthand the benefits of obtaining higher education and skills that are applicable to the legal and business environments in both countries,” Sylvester said. “We expect our North American Law Degree will increase the diversity of our student body and attract students interested in dual bar admission. We are confident the program will prove attractive to a large and growing segment of Canadian companies and law firms looking to hire attorneys who will be authorized to practice law in both Canada and the United States. We intend to work closely with the Federation of Law Societies of Canada to ensure our program meets the highest standards for Canadian licensure.”
The North American Law Degree will comprise:
• A comprehensive curriculum in Canadian law
• A three-year program that seeks to fulfill all substantive J.D. bar requirements in common-law Canada and the U.S.
• The ability for third-year students to take the Arizona bar exam in their final semester and focus on the licensure process in Canada immediately after graduation
• Unparalleled experiential learning opportunities through clinics and externships
• A J.D. from one of North America’s most respected law schools
Eugene Meehan, Q.C., former Executive Legal Officer of the Supreme Court of Canada, past National President of the Canadian Bar Association and a practicing member of the bars in both Canada and Arizona, believes ASU’s program is innovative and strategically important.
“ASU’s just-announced North American Law Degree program is a forward-thinking, forward-planning initiative,” said Meehan, currently the founding partner of Supreme Advocacy LLP in Ottawa. “This program contains an essential incongruity: on the one hand it is explosively creative and new; on the other hand it is remarkable that nobody thought of it before. But Dean Sylvester and his faculty are not just thinking about it, they are doing it.”
R. Glenn Williamson, chief executive officer and founder of the metropolitan Phoenix-based Canada Arizona Business Council, is working with Sylvester to promote the new degree north of the border.
“ASU is showing a leadership role in creating this program, as there remains a lack of lawyers experienced in handling cross-border deals. As deal flow among small- to medium-sized businesses increases between the U.S. and Canada, more options are needed for handling cross-border legal issues than just the few trained specialists in big firms,” Williamson said.