It is important to recognize:1.In the U.S., the J.D. is a graduate degree. People attend law school in theU.S. after having earned a bachelors degree; and2.The J.D. provides the academic qualification to become admitted to thebar in the U.S.
There is a difference between a J.D. that is “ABA approved” and a J.D.that is not “ABA” approved. An “ABA Approved” J.D. will allow one to takethe bar exam in any U.S. state. A J.D. that is NOT “ABA Approved” willNOT allow one to take the bar exam in any state, but will normally allowone to take the bar exam in some U.S. states.
Canadian law schools and the J.D. degree – Joint LLB./J.D. Programs
Over the last decade, three Canadian law schools (Windsor, Ottawa andOsgoode) have partnered with U.S. law schools to offer a joint LL.B./J.D.program. In each case, the students would earn two degrees:
a Canadian LL.B. degree
Canadian law schools – converting the LL.B. to the J.D.
When a Canadian law school changes from the LL.B. to the J.D. (which they allare or will), it should be seen as an "LL.B. with a name change. A J.D. from aCanadian law school is not an “ABA Approved” J.D. In other words a CanadianJ.D. degree will not allow one to take the bar exam in any U.S. state. (There aresome U.S. states which will allow Canadian law graduates - whether an LL.B. or J.D.) - to take their bar exam.)Hence, graduates of Canadian LLB./J.D. programs will have earned an ABAapproved J.D. in addition to a Canadian law degree.
Why are Canadian law schools converting the J.D.?
It is the view of many Canadian law schools that the J.D. is better regardedinternationally. Although I am unwilling to express an opinion on that, I will refer you to the following articles: