The Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University announced via a press release on its website that the school will provide students from the United States and Canada to obtain bar admission in both countries with a brand new North American Law Degree.
The degree will permit students to graduate within three years with a J.D. that helps them seek licensure in Canada immediately without added coursework. The program would also qualify the students for admission to the bar in the United States. The dean of the law school, Douglas Sylvester, is a dual citizen of the United States and Canada. He has graduated from schools in both countries as well.
“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.”
From the press release, the North American Law Degree will consist of the following:
• 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
The former Executive Legal Officer of the Supreme Court of Canada, Eugene Meehan, Q.C., said that the program is important and innovative. Meehan is also a previous National President of the Canadian Bar Association. He is a practicing member of bars in Arizona and Canada.
“ASU’s just-announced North American Law Degree program is a forward-thinking, forward-planning initiative,” said Meehan, who is 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.”