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

Posted on June 13, 2018

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)
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)

Kingston, ON — Diane Wu, Comm’18/Law’19, had always been interested in business and law. So when the opportunity to do a combined degree arose during the third year of her undergraduate studies at Smith, 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. 

In the fall of 2016, Smith School of Business and Queen’s Law launched a combined program to give Bachelor of Commerce students a competitive advantage in corporate law careers. Last month, the initial group of students to enroll received the first of their two degrees, during the spring 2018 Commerce convocation. 

“My experience in the combined program has been incredible so far,” says Diane. “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 Diane, who is working at Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP in Toronto this summer.

Jennifer Mak, Comm’18/Law’19, says that enrolling in the combined program gave her the “best of both worlds” by allowing her to 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.”

A law-business education can be particularly attractive to employers — something Jennifer discovered when she applied 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.”

Andrea Boctor, BCom’99, Law’02, a partner in Stikeman Elliott LLP’s Toronto office and one of legal-industry publisher Lexpert’s 2016 “Rising Stars”, attests to the value of lawyers having a business education. “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 Commerce program are eligible to apply for the combined program 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


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