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Meet the first graduating class of the Global Professional LLM

The Global Professional LLM is an executive-style degree in international business law, open to lawyers and non-lawyers (photo by Jon Horvatin)

Today, the Faculty of Law celebrates its first graduating class of an innovative new degree program: the Global Professional LLM.

Launched in September 2011, the GPLLM is a unique, executive-style degree  in international business law. The 25 graduates of the inaugural class picked up their hard-earned degrees Nov. 13 – but the credentials are already gaining notice.

“The designation draws attention,” says Brian Soye, vice-president at Realstar Group, “and although it’s not yet widely recognized, I have found that the curiosity it piques opens the door to a conversation about the nature of the program.”

Through a combination of evening and weekend courses, working lawyers and non-lawyers brought their own career experiences to classes, which examined the impact of globalization on laws, legal institutions and markets from a broad multi-disciplinary and comparative legal perspective.

It was exactly the kind of program that lawyer Alan Luk was looking for.

“I was attracted by the components and the faculty of the GPLLM program,” Luk says. “The degree has refreshed my analytical and research skills, and highlighted local and global business and legal issues, particularly mergers and acquisitions, international arbitration and corporate governance.”

For securities litigator Matthew Scott, a move in-house to CI Financial Corp., one of Canada’s largest publicly traded fund companies, had him seeking a broader awareness of issues outside his area of practice.

“I now have a far better understanding of corporate law matters, as well as law and economics,” says Scott.  “Also, the program challenged me to consider legal issues from different and more scholarly perspectives.”

Led by academic advisor Professor Michael Trebilcock, a world-renowned law and economics scholar, the curriculum included courses taught by top adjuncts from the international legal and business worlds. But many GPLLM grads commented that the diversity of the student body was also equally remarkable.

“This is the best part,” says Luk. “Our class comprised people from a variety of different professions, with different backgrounds. Lawyers formed the majority, but we also had an accountant, several business executives and engineers too. Everyone contributed in the class discussions and group presentations. We also formed a LinkedIn chat group to share articles and topics related to our coursework.”

That LinkedIn group will come in handy, Soye says.

“My impressive classmates contributed greatly to my learning, and I am fortunate to have this elite group as a new circle in my professional network,” says Soye.