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Northwestern Law Partners with London's College of law

New J.D. degree gives eligible U.K. students direct access to New York bar exam

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March 25, 2010 | by Hilary Hurd Anyaso
CHICAGO --- Northwestern University School of Law has partnered with the College of Law in London on a new degree program, making the College the first legal education provider in the U.K. to offer a Juris Doctor degree as well as direct access to the New York bar exam.

In the U.K., students whose first degree is in a subject other than law must take the one-year Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL), which qualifies them to continue on with either the one-year required Legal Practice Course (LPC) for solicitors in training or Bar Professional Training Course (BPTC) for barristers in training, before starting their apprenticeships in law firms.
 
Starting in September, full-time GDL students at the College of Law who go on to successfully complete its LPC or BPTC and an additional 22 weeks of course instruction provided in part by Northwestern Law faculty in London, will be awarded a U.S.-style College of Law J.D. degree and therefore will be eligible to sit for the New York bar examination. College of Law faculty will also provide instruction in the 22-week session.

Previously U.K. non-law graduates first would need to qualify as a lawyer in the U.K. and then complete an LL.M. master's degree in the United States before being able to sit for the New York bar exam.

As part of the partnership, Northwestern Law initially plans to offer approximately four electives per year in substantive areas of U.S. law such as constitutional law, administrative law, legal reasoning, trusts and estates, as well as various aspects of commercial and transactional law.

"We are pleased to join with the College of Law on this important initiative, which aligns with our emphasis on providing today's law graduates with the skills they need to work cross-culturally and cross-jurisdictionally," says David Van Zandt, dean of Northwestern Law. "This strategic partnership with the premier provider of legal education and training in the U.K. and a primary feeder to London's top law firms will further strengthen our global presence."

"This initiative raises us well above our competitors and is a vindication of our commitment to maintaining quality and standards," said Nigel Savage, chief executive of the College of Law. "The program also will attract the very best overseas students to the College thus helping to sustain London as a legal services and legal education hub."

The New York State Court of Appeals and the New York State Board of Examiners have approved the College of Law's new program.

The College of Law is the leading provider in the U.K. of the LPC, the BPTC and the GDL. For more information on London's College of Law, visit http://www.college-of-law.co.uk.