The University of Toronto Faculty of Law plans to offer a Global Professional Master of Laws degree this fall, combining business and law. It is the result of law graduates requesting such a field of further study. It has been two years in the making, with more intensive work in the past 18 months, involving consultation with the wider community.
“The faculty has done a lot of consultation and academic research to identify important areas of study such as trade, investment, and the globalization of institutions. International commercial arbitration is a huge area that was not significant in the past but is now a larger issue,” said Dean of the Faculty of Law, Professor Mayo Moran.
Standard courses will be offered in law and globalization, public and private international law, and business. Coupled with these core courses will be optional courses, such as international tax, public and private partnerships, international arbitration, intellectual property, and the Internet.
The GPLLM aims to fill the holes in education that are the product of our rapidly changing world.
“We are trying to bring people up to speed on areas that have changed in very critical ways in the past 10 years,” said Moran.
“Lawyers are trained to think of what could go wrong and to be conservative. They are not that well-equipped on business issues because they are so professionally risk adverse,” said Moran. “Business leaders will bring a larger perspective of what we want to accomplish and what are new trends. They are more forward looking.”
Moran believes business executives without a law degree will absolutely have a more challenging experience than those formally educated in law. However they have created spots for business leaders because the faculty is very interested in what strengths and expertise they will provide. They are business leaders who have a lot of interaction with lawyers and legal aspects in their field, so the connection between business and law is a close one.
“Businesses and firms will perceive employees graduating from this program as very, very attractive,” says Moran. “Lawyers are generally very interested in life-long learning.” Because the demand is so high, Moran added that “there have even been firms that have to limit the number of employees that will be allowed to sign up for this program.”
The University of Toronto will be the first in North America to offer a program of this kind.