Monday, July 14, 2008

The Attorney Multipass

July 2008 Issue
By Jill Schachner Chanen
ABA Journal

From his office at Butzel Long’s Detroit headquarters, lawyer Richard Rassel can watch the massive 18-wheel trucks driving across the Ambassador Bridge from Michigan into Windsor, Ontario, Canada.

Most of those trucks started their long journey north to Canada from Mexico, crossing through three countries with three distinct legal systems, observes Rassel, the firm’s past chairman and current director of global client relations.

In some ways that journey is a fitting metaphor for the needs of most businesses these days.

As foreign trade becomes more common for even the smallest of businesses, a need for lawyers versed in multiple legal systems has emerged. And now the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law is stepping for­ward to help fill this need.

Earlier this year the law school launched a dual-degree program with Mexico’s Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey, a private law school in the Mexican state of Nuevo León. The program is modeled after UDM’s 8-year-old dual-degree program with the University of Windsor Faculty of Law in Ontario, which allows law students to obtain combined J.D./LLB degrees in three years.

That program has had a total of 120 students studying in both countries since its inception. And its dual-degree grads have found their way to big law firms in Toronto, New York City and Chicago, among other cities, where they have put their international legal and language skills to work, says UDM law school dean Mark C. Gordon.

Read the whole article here.

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