McGill adopts JD designation for common law degree


Published: 27Nov2019

Quebec’s Ministère de l’Éducation et de l’Enseignement supérieur has approved McGill’s request to change the name of the common law degree conferred on graduates of the Faculty of Law’s double-degree McGill program from a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) to a Juris Doctor (JD). The BCL/LLB program will thus become the BCL/JD program. Graduates will continue to receive two diplomas; starting at the spring 2020 convocation, those degrees will be a Bachelor of Civil Law (BCL) and a Juris Doctor (JD).

The LLB designation for common law degrees has fallen into disuse in Quebec and Canada and, until the change, McGill’s was the last Canadian law faculty to designate its common law degree LLB. In response to requests, we have increasingly explained that our common law degree is “JD equivalent.” The new designation will communicate unambiguously to outside stakeholders that the degree bearer holds the standard North American professional degree in common law.

This name change will not affect program requirements or objectives, admissions policies or procedures, or course content. Students will continue to benefit from a double-degree program that is proudly bilingual and rigorously pluralistic.

McGill’s Enrollment Services are discussing with the relevant authorities the option for graduates holding an LLB to request a JD diploma.

“We’re proud of the ways in which our integrated program is unique, but we never set out for one of our degrees to have a unique designation,” said Dean Robert Leckey. “This change will help our graduates in having their extraordinary legal education recognized in the many markets where their ambitions take them.”

FAQ - Designation Change from LLB to JD

Q: When will the JD degree designation come into effect?
A: The JD designation is effective immediately.

Q: I am enrolled in the BCL/LLB program. What does this change mean for me?
A: On completion of the program, you will receive two degrees: a BCL and a JD. McGill’s Enrolment Services will automatically modify your student record to reflect the name change. No action is required on your part.

Q: I recently applied to the BCL/LLB program. Does this change affect my application?
A: No. The change will have no impact on the Faculty of Law’s admissions policies and procedures. We will process applications for the Fall 2020 semester of the BCL/LLB program as applications for the BCL/JD program, even if supporting documents (e.g. personal statements and extenuating circumstances) make reference to the BCL/LLB designation. No changes to supporting documents already received by the Faculty of Law are required or permitted.

Q: Does this change the academic standing of my law degree?
A: No. The JD will be a first degree in law, not a graduate degree. The change is strictly to the designation of the degree.

Q: I have an LLB from McGill Law, but would prefer to have a JD. Can I make the change?
A: McGill’s Enrollment Services are in ongoing discussions with the relevant authorities regarding the possibility of graduates holding an LLB to request a diploma with the JD designation.

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