neeD to Get an MbA and a law degree? There’s a program for that. In fact, there are two ways to add two of the most valuable and ynamic degrees to your resumé. you can either take a J.D., (Juris Doctor)/LL.b., or an MbA on their own, work for a little bit in either the legal or corporate worlds, and then take the other. If you’re a glutton for educational enlightenment or you’re looking to make the most efficient use of your time at university, you can do them both at the same time. Many law schools in Canada offer joint J.D./MbA programs, including: McGill University, the University of Alberta, the University of british Columbia, the University of Calgary, the
University of New brunswick,
the University of ottawa, the
University of Toronto, the
University of Victoria, The
University of Windsor, osgoode
Hall Law School of york University,
the University of Western ontario,
Queen’s University, Scuhlich
School of Law at Dalhousie
University, Université de Moncton
and Université de Sherbrooke.
The majority of these degrees
can be completed in four years.
At the University of Western
ontario, students who maintain a
full course load can complete the
requirements for both degrees in
three years, the amount of time it
takes to generally takes to just get
a law degree alone.
“It’s the only one of its kind
in North America,” says Fraser
Johnson, faculty director of the
London, ont.-based school’s
He says many of its students want
to practise corporate law, focusing
on areas such as insolvency.
Johnson says Western’s
program is experienced-based
as would-be students who don’t
have any real-life work experience
“I’ve never regretted
my education for
a day. I feel very
blessed to have both
[an LL.B. and MBA].”
— Larry Rosen, LL.B./MBA
can also be done part-time, usually over
four to six years.
Business people who can’t afford to
take time off from work to go back to
school can also enroll in the “
executive” version of the degree, which is
done on weekends and in short spurts
of one and two weeks.
There’s no question the financial
costs of getting an MBA are significant.
Critics say the worth of the degree has
been watered down because so many
people have it these days but the counter argument is that for many positions
across the Canadian economy, it’s now
MBA students are often warned at orientation sessions prior to starting their
studies that they will gain weight, lose
hair, fall out of touch with many friends
and family and possibly see their relationships break up before they graduate.
Tasked with providing the kinds of
graduates that are needed in the marketplace, it’s no surprise that educators agree that the combination of the
MBA and J.D. degrees (in recent years
J.D. degrees have started to replace
LL.B. degrees in Canada) is in growing
demand. In fact, it has been that way
for many years, as evidenced by the
number of schools that offer joint J.D./
Fraser Johnson, faculty director of
the MBA program at UWO, one of the
schools offering the joint degree, says the
need not apply.
“We don’t let people in who are
fresh out of an undergrad program.
you’ve got to be Ivey MbA-calibre
to get in,” he says, noting many of
its students are in their late 20s.
The joint J.D./MbA program at
the Schulich School of business at
york University in Toronto is seen
by many of its students as a means
of differentiating themselves from
their labour force competition.
“our degree does that,” says
Tom Johnson, co-director of the
that they are financially
literate. Corporate law firms
would prefer to have somebody
who is financially literate than
somebody who isn’t.”
york’s Johnson says its joint
program is the oldest in the
country, having started in 1972 and
its first graduates received their
diplomas in 1976.
He says between 10 per cent
and 20 per cent of its graduates
go to work for financial institutions
but their options aren’t limited to
business or law. Some of them
have also gone into government
to work in finance departments or
with regulatory bodies.
but if you’re just planning to stay
on the business side, Western’s
Johnson recommends sticking just
with the MbA.
“I tell our students don’t waste
your time going to law school (if
you’re going into business). Why
spend an extra two years getting
something you’re not going to
use?” he says.
Joint programs are also offered
at many universities in the U.S.
If you’re concerned about the
initial payoff, consider that some
prominent law firms south of
the border have given five-figure
signing bonuses to incoming
associates with the joint degree.