Arizona’s North American Law Degree

One of the stories we missed in the lead-up to the holiday season was the announcement that the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University has created the North American Law Degree program. According to the law school website:

ASU’s North American Law Degree will include:

  • A comprehensive curriculum in Canadian law
  • A three-year program that seeks to fulfill all substantive J.D. bar requirements in common-law Canada and the U.S.
  • The ability for third-year students to take the Arizona bar exam in their final semester and focus on the licensure process in Canada immediately after graduation
  • Unparalleled experiential learning opportunities through clinics and externships
  • A J.D. from one of North America’s most respected law schools

Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law occupies spot #26 in the U.S. News best law schools rankings.

This is interesting because it represents a widening of competition for Canadians within the legal education market. Whether it will draw any students south who might otherwise have gone to Canadian law schools is unclear; and it still remains, so far as I know, that graduates from this program would have to satisfy National Committee on Accreditation requirement before gaining admission to a Canadian bar.

I can see that some students would be tempted by the climate — although I note that today, as it happens, the temperature in Tempe and that in Toronto are identical at -1C. (It is the case that in Tempe that will rise to 20C later in the week.) On that score, “snoweagles” might pay attention to the acute nature of climate change in Arizona.

One beef: my “North America” includes Mexico, which, last time I looked, shares a border with Arizona. A “NAFTA” degree . . . now that would be interesting.

[Note: this post was corrected 2013-01-15 4:59:46 PM to state accurately the name of the university in which the College of Law is located.]


  1. One beef: my “North America” includes Mexico, which, last time I looked, shares a border with Arizona.

    It is, of course, a North American common law degree, so assuming one doesn’t include Central America or the Caribbean in “North America” (both of which also have common law jurisdictions), I think they can get away with the title.

  2. I think you are confusing ASU, Arizona State, (aka high school) with the University of Arizona. Big mistake.

  3. @bruce: True enough. Better still if they called it exactly that.
    @carlos: Ah, thank you. I did indeed mess up in the first part of the entry. I will correct it now. ASU’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law is precisely the place I’m talking about — and the place that ranks 26th (if one cares about such things. From the site linked to in the post:

    The Arizona State University Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law leapt to the 26th spot, up 14 spots from 40th last year, following a 15-spot jump from 55th two years before that.

  4. All the more semi-licit competition for articling positions in Canada, notably Ontario. Potential students may note that the temperature in April in AZ often is well over 100 Fahrenheit – 40+ C. As with most of the sunbelt, productive activity depends on functional air-conditioning.