Queen's Law

Faculty of Law
Faculty of Law

Combining law and business: First Queen’s BCom/JD students reach milestone      

(June 11, 2018)

The first BCom/JD students – Zac Cooper, Diane Wu, Josh Sherkin, Jennifer Mak and Daniel Baum – shown in the Queen’s Law atrium
The first BCom/JD students – Zac Cooper, Diane Wu, Josh Sherkin, Jennifer Mak and Daniel Baum – shown in the Queen’s Law atrium are experiencing the “best of both worlds” in the combined program. (Photo by Andrew Van Overbeke)

Two years ago, Queen’s Law and the Smith School of Business launched a combined program to give Bachelor of Commerce students a competitive advantage in corporate law careers. This year, Queen’s celebrates its first BCom/JD cohort receiving their first of two degrees, the BCom credential.

Diane Wu, Com’18/Law’19, had always been interested in business and law, and when the opportunity arose during the third year of her undergraduate studies, she jumped at the chance. “The Queen’s community and saving a year in tuition and time made it an easy decision for me,” she says. 

“My experience in the combined program has been incredible so far,” says Wu. “The commerce and law faculties have given me a lot of opportunities that I never would have imagined. This year, I was able to complete a full year consulting project for a local sports team with my fellow BCom/JD students as part of our degree. 

“My goal is to work in the corporate group at a full-service Bay Street firm and I’m currently getting a taste of what it’s like,” adds Wu, who is working at Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP in Toronto this summer.

Jennifer Mak, Com’18/Law’19, says that enrolling in the BCom/JD program gave her the “best of both worlds” because she could get involved with both schools simultaneously. “In my first year of law school, I was a ‘Bounce Back Mentor’ to help first-year Commerce students, who are either on or close to academic probation, improve their study skills, learning habits, and performance in the program,” she says. “At the same time, I was also active in Queen’s Law as an ambassador and participating in events, such as Cabaret for a Cure.”

The combination of business and law is particularly attractive to employers, who see this mix as a key attribute in their companies. As Mak learnt in applying for an internship in management consulting at Quinn & Partners, “Being in the BCom/JD program intrigued the interviewer, made me stand out from the other candidates, and formed a major basis for my offer of employment for the internship.”

Queen’s also offers experiential learning opportunities that enable combined program students to develop skills in their specialized area of law. “I am currently working at the Queen’s Business Law Clinic, where I am able to use knowledge I have gained in both Commerce and Law to help start-up businesses and not-for-profit organizations,” says Mak. “Being in the BCom/JD program has made me stand out as a candidate to work for the clinic during the school year, and ultimately, to obtain my summer job there this year.”

“I will always be using my commerce knowledge in conjunction with my legal knowledge,” says Mak, “The BCom/JD program will undoubtedly be beneficial to my career and I am extremely grateful that I was able to be one of the first students in the program.”

Indeed, business and law synergise to help graduates thrive in the contemporary business climate. Andrea Boctor, Law’02 (Com’99), a partner in Stikeman Elliott LLP’s Toronto office and one of Canadian publisher Lexpert’s “Rising Stars” (2016), attests to the value of business for her legal career. “For me, having both an LLB and a BCom from Queen’s has set me up for success in my career as a pensions lawyer,” she says. “I owe much of my ability to understand the law and policy within which pension plans operate to having a good grasp of the financial considerations that underpin how pension plans work.  It has also given me the ability to understand the larger corporate context in which private pension plans operate and to tailor my advice to clients so as to be as practical and relevant as possible.”

Students entering the third-year of the Queen’s BCom program are eligible to apply through an internal application process at Queen’s. For more information about program structure and admissions, visit the BCom/JD web page.

By Aschille Clarke-Mendes