As a social worker counselling clients for a family health centre, Amanda Cramm noticed a recurring theme—their involvement in the legal system.
“I began to feel I needed to be educated to assist them properly,” says Cramm.
She got that education, and on Friday will become the first graduate of a UWindsor program that combines a law degree with a master’s degree in social work. Her surname puts her ahead of classmate Meaghan Smith—the two formed the inaugural class of the MSW / JD program.
Combining the two disciplines took some work, says Cramm, but has proven to be worth the effort: “It has been a challenge and that is what I was looking for.”
She says law and social work share a common concern for the client, with their roots in advocacy and representation. She also appreciates the advantages of completing a graduate degree and the law curriculum in three years.
“You’re more competitive in the workforce,” Cramm says. “And it balances your perspective.”
Before she started her studies in law, she had assumed that she would resume a career in social work following her graduation. Instead, she will write the bar examinations and has an articling position lined up with a full-service firm in London.
“Once I got here and learned what I can do, it convinced me to pursue the practice of law,” she says. However, she expects her training in social work will inform her career, saying she looks forward to exploring “more non-traditional forms of law,” such as mediation and conciliation.
Being the inaugural cohort in the joint program had advantages as well as difficulties, says Cramm. She and Smith were called upon to be the public face of the program, meeting with potential students and interested professionals.
“It was kind of cool to be the first,” Cramm says. “It’s nice to be able to educate people about the benefits of both degrees.”