Osgoode signs memorandum with NYU School of Law

“Start spreading the news! I want to be a part of it, New York, New York!”

In a bold move, officials from York’s Osgoode Hall Law School signed a joint memorandum of understanding with officials from the New York University School of Law on Tuesday. The agreement brings together two legal worlds, providing students at both institutions with an opportunity to earn, through a combined program of study, a Juris Doctor (JD) degree from NYU and a bachelor of laws (LLB) from Osgoode.

osgoode signingOsgoode Dean Patrick Monahan and Dean Richard Revesz of NYU School of Law signed the agreement during a ceremony in Osgoode’s newly renovated Moot Court.

Right: From left, Richard Revesz and Patrick Monahan

“This memorandum will permit students to spend two years at Osgoode and two years at NYU School of Law,” said Monahan. “At the end of four years of study, students will graduate with an LLB from Osgoode and a JD from NYU. This reduces what would normally be six years of study to four years. Students will have to be admitted to both institutions in order to participate in this program.

shirts“This new program allows both Osgoode and NYU to develop a joint degree that enhances the standing of both schools and the joint JD-LLB program is second to none.” said Monahan. “I expect that students from across Canada will be attracted to this program by both institutions’ rich curriculum, outstanding faculty, commitment to social justice and our national and international reputations. This is a powerful, collective drawing card.”

Above: Revesz, left, and Monahan trade shirts and caps after signing the memorandum of understanding to create a joint degree program between Osgoode and NYU

The juris doctor degree is the certification most accepted for practice in the US. In the legal arena, the JD is viewed as the equivalent to a doctor of philosophy or PhD. The NYU School of Law, located on Washington Square in Greenwich Village, is one of the oldest law schools in the US, founded in 1835.

Present at the ceremony were Canada’s Consul General in New York, Pamela Wallin and US Ambassador to Canada Paul Cellucci, along with Lorna R. Marsden, president and vice-chancellor of York University.

In his opening remarks, Monahan paid special tribute to Osgoode professors Craig Scott and Alan Hutchinson. “The concept of a joint LLB-JD program involving Osgoode Hall Law School and a leading US law school was Professor Scott’s idea,” said Monahan. Scott served as Osgoode’s associate dean of research and graduate studies. During his term as associate dean, Scott identified potential US partners and initiated the discussions with a number of US law schools. “Our current associate dean of research and graduate studies, Alan Hutchinson picked up where Professor Scott left off and initiated and completed the discussions with NYU,” said Monahan.

Marsden congratulated both schools on their initiative. “At York University, we pride ourselves on our international education,” said Marsden. “This joint law program is a superb example of one of York’s larger efforts to increase our outreach and our international programs. We think that you are an exceptional partner to be establishing this program with and in doing so, this will give a great advantage to our students and your students – tomorrow’s lawyers – to really work in a world where law is without borders.”

In his remarks, Cellucci praised both Osgoode and NYU. “I want to congratulate both law schools,” he said. “This type of collaboration is very important for Canada and the United States. There are 26,000 Canadian students studying in the United States and only 4,000 Americans studying here in Canada. I think it is clear that we need to attract more Americans to study in Canada. I believe that this program will help do that. It will add tremendously to our mutual understanding.”

Wallin added her congratulations to both Osgoode and NYU and commented on how Canada’s annual trade with the Home Depot head office in the state of Georgia exceeds the total amount of trade with all of France. “There are 300 international treaties governing dealings with Canada and the US,” said Wallin, noting that the two countries have a rules-based relationship founded in law. “This joint program is crucial because it is about getting the right people in the right room to talk about what matters and this program does just that.”

NYU Dean Revesz highlighted the benefits for students. “This is a great day for both NYU and Osgoode Hall Law School,” he said. “NYU is a global law school and we have a large number of students who are non-US citizens. Forty per cent of our graduates come from 60 different countries. It is enriching for all of our students. Graduates of this program will be smarter, better informed and better lawyers with an international influence. The world needs law graduates who can interact with the legal systems in other countries.”

The joint agreement will throw open employment opportunities for graduates and is in keeping with both schools’ move to go global. Tuesday’s agreement recognizes that to practise law, graduates must have an ability to deal with legal systems from other countries.