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Backing business law students

Students at the Faculty of Law attend a class on business law taught by Dean Bill Flanagan. A pair of business law initiatives will begin at Queen’s this fall, thanks to donations worth $100,000 from Osler Hoskin & Harcourt LLP. (University Communications)

Two business law initiatives are beginning at Queen’s Law this fall thanks to $100,000 in support from Osler Hoskin & Harcourt LLP.

First, a scholarship will support students who are entering the new combined BCom/JD program. Second, a seminar/workshop series focusing on the essentials of business knowledge for lawyers is being created.

“The Faculty of Law is delighted to partner with Osler in these two important initiatives, both of which will greatly enhance our business law program,” says Dean Bill Flanagan. “The new BCom/JD scholarship will draw yet more talented students to Queen’s Law with an interest in law and business, and the Osler BizBasics program will introduce more of our students to some of the key skills required of business law lawyers today. It’s a win-win for the faculty and our students.”

Entrance scholarships, valued at $5,000, will be available for up to four BCom/JD students for each of the next three years. Christina Beaudoin, Osler’s Director of Student Programs, says her firm wanted to support the top business-focused students with this award.

“By assisting with the financial impact of this highly-marketable joint degree, we hope to encourage the efforts of our scholarship recipients who may very well be destined to be Bay Street’s future leaders,” she says.

In Queen’s Law’s latest combined program, BCom/JD students complete both degrees in six years instead of the usual seven if taken separately. Queen’s already has a successful program that combines law and graduate business degrees.

For John Neufeld, MBA’15/Law’17, choosing Queen’s was an easy decision.

“I foresaw a career practising business law before coming to law school,” he says. “When chatting with lawyers specializing in that area, Queen’s was always mentioned. The reputations of the Faculty of Law and the Smith School of Business are an obvious draw.”

Queen’s is also launching the Osler BizBasics Series, a workshop series introducing students to business fundamentals. For each of the next five academic years there will be four lunch-hour lectures/workshops, in which Osler lawyers, articling students and administrative professionals will provide students with practical insights into the skills required to be successful in today’s business law environment.

Osler BizBasics will include such topics as demystifying the range of career options in business law; understanding the business of law and the profession’s changing landscape; the increasing importance of soft skills (e.g. emotional intelligence, resilience, relationship building) to a lawyer’s success; and business law fundamentals such as “Accounting & Finance 101” for lawyers.

“As a leading business law firm, the synergy was ideal for Osler to partner with Queen’s in delivering experiential business law programming that addresses the practical gaps students are hungry for,” Beaudoin says. “The practice of law is rapidly evolving and we’re proud to play a role in equipping students with the hard and soft skills that will set them apart.”

Neufeld, who had approached a summer student at Osler about establishing such a series at Queen’s, has learned an important lesson through his MBA and legal training.

“When it comes to clients, business people speak their own language with its own vocabulary,” he says. “Lawyers must be able to speak this language if they truly want to empathize with their client and understand what their issues and motivations are. The rapidly changing legal market will require counsel to deliver value to the client as the client defines it.”

The new Osler BizBasics program will ensure Queen’s grads do just that.