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By: Nadine Arroyo Rodriguez on 01/07/2013
First-year law students at Arizona State University begin a new semester Monday. By next term they’ll have the chance to enter a new program that will eventually help them work in two countries. The North American Law Degree could further extend business ties between Canada and Arizona.
NADINE ARROYO RODRIGUEZ: ASU says the program is the first of its kind in the U.S. because it will graduate its students within three years. ASU wants to expand a business partnership that already exists. The Arizona Commerce Authority reports that in 2011 about $3.5 billion in goods were traded between Canada and Arizona. ASU College of Law Dean Doug Sylvester says the degree addresses a local demand for Canadian and American attorneys trained to handle cross-border business deals.
DOUG SYLVESTER: The connections between Arizona and Canada are actually already pretty deep. But our legal connections are not. So this was an attempt to say let’s start getting people dual admitted.
ANDREAS SCHOTTER: Having a legal background in two countries I think it’s critical.
ARROYO RODRIGUEZ: Andreas Schotter is professor at the Thunderbird School of Global Management. He says ASU’s program is innovative, and could help strengthen a 20-year trade agreement.
SCHOTTER: NAFTA lags far behind the European Union when it comes to international business. And legal issues I think are a huge impediment between the different partners in the North American Free Trade Agreement. So, this degree is a great initiative.
ARROYO RODRIGUEZ: To fulfill one of Canada’s law licensing requirements, ASU plans to open a non-profit law firm to train students for their dual country law license.