Opening Statements

Be Seated

Posted Aug 1, 2010 12:12 AM CDT
By Leslie A. Gordon

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Thanks to an innovative cross-jurisdictional partnership between Northwestern University School of Law and London College of Law, U.K. law students can earn for the first time both an American-style JD and a seat at the New York bar exam.

Traditionally, British students whose first degree is in a subject other than law had to take the one-year graduate diploma in law, qualifying them to continue on with either the one-year legal practice course for solicitors (transactional lawyers) or the bar professional training course for bar risters (trial attorneys) before starting their required law firm apprenticeships.

But beginning this fall, London College of Law’s full-time GDL students who complete the solicitors or barristers course and a new 22-week third year—provided in part by Northwestern faculty—will earn a juris doctor from London College and be eligible to take New York’s bar exam.

Northwestern and London College had long been exploring ways to work together, according to James Lupo, Northwestern’s associate dean. Though the universities are still working out the third-year program details, Northwestern will send professors across the pond for several three-week intensive sessions at London College. They’ll teach U.S. business courses and core bar classes such as contracts, sales, evidence and procedure. Law firms in the U.S. and Europe have already “expressed excitement” to London College about the partnership, Lupo adds.

Nigel Savage, London College’s chief executive, hopes the partnership “will attract the very best overseas students, helping to sustain London as a legal services and legal education hub.”

New York’s Court of Appeals and the Board of Examiners approved London College’s new program—not surprising because New York is among the most welcoming states to foreign lawyers.

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