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Canadian Law Schools Convert the LL.B to J.D.

Canadian Law Schools Convert the LL.B to J.D.

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Published by John Richardson
Why Canadian law schools are converting their LL.B. degree to the J.D.
Why Canadian law schools are converting their LL.B. degree to the J.D.

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Categories:Types, Research, Law
Published by: John Richardson on Apr 29, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Canadian law schools convert the LL.B. degree to J.D. degrees
Copyright © 2009, John Richardson. All Rights Reserved.http://www.prep.comhttp://www.lawschoolbound.orghttp://www.lsatstudygroup.comhttp://www.lawschoolbound.caThose of you who are considering law school in North America must understandwhat North American law degrees are, how they relate to the process of becoming a lawyer, and the difference between an ABA (American Bar Association) approved J.D. and a non-ABA approved J.D. Furthermore, youshould understand how the joint LL.B./J.D. programs work at Canadian lawschools (For an article on LL.B./J.D. programs in general see:http://www.prep.com/LW.pdf )This article should be seen as an update to an article I wrote a number of yearsabout “How To Become A Lawyer In North America” which appears here:http://www.trininetwork.com/news/lawart3.htm
North American Common Law Degrees
All of the U.S. states and Canadian provinces (with the exception of Louisianaand Quebec) are based on the “common law” tradition. Quebec and Louisianaare based on the “civil” law tradition. This article will focus on the common lawdegrees. In the United States law schools award the J.D. (Juris Doctor). Canadais part of the British Commonwealth. Canadian law schools, until recently, haveawarded the LL.B. (Bachelor of Laws).
More On The LLB.? – The Role It Plays Towards Becoming A Lawyer 
The LL.B. degree is a designation which means “Bachelor of Laws”. It is thebasic law degree which has been offered by law schools in the BritishCommonwealth. It is by definition an undergraduate degree. In the U.K., it iscommon for students to study law as an undergraduate subject. Canada has 15law schools which traditionally offered the LL.B. degree. After earning thisdegree, students would use this degree as the academic qualification tocomplete the licensing process to become a lawyer in a Canadian province.
More On The J.D. – The Role It Plays Towards Becoming A Lawyer 
The J.D. degree is a designation which means “Juris Doctor”. An interestingarticle about the origins of the J.D. may be found here:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juris_Doctor#Canada
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
a U.S. J.D. degree which is ABA approved.For an earlier article I wrote on these degrees see:http://osgoode.yorku.ca/media2.nsf/5457ed39bc56dbfd852571e900728656/e108170e7921e81285256f95005c0dd1!OpenDocumentThese degrees continue to be popular. But, a number of Canadian law schoolsare now changing their LL.B. degrees to J.D. degrees.
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:
– Rationale for changehttp://law.queensu.ca/students/lss/jdProposal.html Canadian Lawyer reports that Dalhousie is also considering the change fromLL.B. to J.D.
What Canadian law schools have converted to the J.D.?
At the present time the following schools have converted their LLB. degrees toJ.D. degrees:
University of Toronto
University of British ColumbiaThose considering the transition include:
University of Western Ontario
University of Calgary
- change under consideration:http://mcgilljd.blogspot.com/Note also the followingFacebook groupwhich makes it clear that the Universityof Calgary is also making the switch to the J.D.
University of British
- change made:http://www.law.uwo.ca/News/Sept_08/JD.htmlMy prediction - it won’t be long until the LL.B. has become extinct in Canada.

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