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Law's Global Professional grads gain a competitive edge

Rubal Bhadu, Tisnai Thaitham, Simmy Yu and Ji Wei Shao in front of the Faculty of Law's Flavelle House (photo by Johnny Guatto)

For 31 new graduates of the University of Toronto, November 15 will mark the day they can add GPLLM after their names – for Global Professional LLM.

This is only the second cohort to graduate from the unique master's program at the Faculty of Law. An executive-style graduate degree, the GPLLM is open to lawyers and non-lawyers, and focuses on the intersection of international law and business.

In today’s increasingly globalized economy, it’s a degree many of the grads say gives them a competitive advantage.

“As you progress in a multi-national organization in a senior management role, the understanding of international regulatory compliance is very important in the decision-making process,” says Tisnai Thaitham, regional director (the Americas) for Singha Corporation. “Most people have an MBA, but very few would also have a law degree."

Rubal Bhadu says the program's “combination of academics and pragmatic real-world expertise” appealed to her.

“As an internationally-trained lawyer and a newcomer to Canada, the GPLLM program helped me to build a strong foundation and understanding of practicing law in a new jurisdiction.” 

Now employed at the Ministry of Attorney General, Court Services Division, Bhadu will be articling with Lenczner Slaght Royce Smith Griffin LLP in 2014-15.

The program draws on scholars and international experts from the Faculty of Law and around the world. And with an equally diverse study body, it made for some very dynamic debates, says Ji Wei Shao, an investment banking analyst at Wells Fargo Securities

“The lecturers, whether full-time professors or industry practitioners, were extremely knowledgeable in their field of expertise and were superb in the delivery of the course materials,” Shao says.“I was fortunate to meet a group of high-calibre classmates from very diverse backgrounds. In addition to acquiring new friends, I have learned tremendously from everyone’s perspective during class discussions.”

Simmy Yu, of Tkatch & Associates, agrees. “As a GPLLM student, I had the opportunity to learn from legal practitioners who have been involved with some of the most high-profile domestic and cross-border transactions.”

She stresses globalization has transformed more than just transactions.

“In today's competitive marketplace, employers and clients alike are looking for people who understand the intricacies of different cultures, and their ways of doing business.”

Lucianna Ciccocioppo is a writer with the Faculty of Law.