Doug Surtees, associate dean academic in the College of Law.
Doug Surtees, associate dean academic in the College of Law.

Law and business partner up

There is a considerable amount of overlap and common knowledge at the intersection of business and law.

Starting in September, high- achieving, management-minded students can use those commonalities towards a combined juris doctor (JD) and master of business administration (MBA) program, offered collaboratively from the College of Law and the Edwards School of Business. Those who hunker down can finish both degrees in as little as three years.

There is currently a combined JD and bachelor of commerce (BComm) program, in which students can complete the majority of the business degree and finish it alongside their JD. However, the new JD/ MBA addition is "a true partner- ship," explained Doug Surtees, the associate dean academic in the College of Law.

There are some business classes that relate very closely to law, and can be counted as credit units towards the JD. He listed Financial Management Analysis, an MBA course, as an example. "Obviously, that's very important to any lawyer practicing in business law," he said.

Conversely, there are law classes that may appeal to students in the business program, such as mediation, negotiation, and labour and employment law, and count as course credit towards the MBA. "Those relate very directly to people managing people," said Surtees.

With that overlap between law and business in mind, the dual degree is targeted towards those with a broad interest in management, said Surtees, because both the MBA and the law degree are great tools for management.

"The kinds of students we think it will appeal to are those interested in managing their own legal firm, or people who are interested in being a lawyer as in-house counsel for private corporations," he said. "Definitely we'll have interest from people with a corporate law bend, and some of those people— though it may not be a goal at the start—might end up in their own businesses," said Surtees.

He named Edwards alumnus and namesake Murray Edwards (BComm'82) as a notable example of the law-business intersection. "That might not be the initial goal of a student, but as they develop in their career, they might head down that direction."

Share this story