The Canadian & American Dual Juris Doctor (JD) program, founded in 1983, is a collaboration between Windsor Law and Detroit Mercy Law. It is the only program of its kind in North America that allows graduates to obtain two law degrees in three years.
The program is accredited by the Federation of Law Societies of Canada and the American Bar Association. Successful graduates receive both a Canadian and American JD degree, positioning them to write bar examinations in Canada and the US. Career possibilities are vast for Dual JD graduates on both sides of the border.
Dual JD students attend classes regularly at Windsor Law and Detroit Mercy Law. The two schools are located mere kilometres from one another. Most required Dual JD courses are taught in a comparative format where students are exposed to Canadian and US law. Further, students are immersed in two different legal cultures while attending both institutions.
By attending two law schools, Dual JD students have access to opportunities on both sides of the border to develop a unique skill set and become competent, justice-seeking lawyers in two countries.
Foundational courses in the Dual JD program are taught comparatively, meaning that students learn about Canadian and American law at the same time. Dual JD students also travel between Canada and the United States each term to attend classes in both countries. This truly cross-border experience provides Dual JD graduates with a one-of-a-kind legal education.
Practical Legal Experience
Experiential learning is built into the Dual JD program curriculum. All Dual JD students participate in a clinic through Detroit Mercy Law, where they gain experience working with real clients. The clinics at Detroit Mercy Law and Windsor Law allow students to gain exposure to a wide variety of legal practice areas. These include intellectual property law, arts and entertainment law, environmental law, criminal law, family law, immigration law, veterans’ law, wrongful conviction appeals, law relating to migrant workers, poverty law, and class actions.
Dual JD students will also enroll in a Detroit Mercy Law Firm Program course of their choosing, which will simulate working in a law firm, government agency, non-profit organization, or corporate legal department.
Dual JD students can apply for judicial internships, externships, and project-based external placements (i.e. in an Indigenous community, legal clinic, non-profit organization, or non-governmental organization) through Windsor Law. For more information on Windsor Law’s experiential learning opportunities, please click here. Dual JD students can also participate in an externship through Detroit Mercy Law, which allows them to work in a legal environment (i.e. a courthouse or public interest organization) to gain further practical experience. For more information on Detroit Mercy Law’s experiential learning opportunities, please click here.
Strong Student Support
Windsor Law and Detroit Mercy Law have a strong sense of community among the student body. Both schools are committed to student success, engagement, and well-being. As a Dual JD student, you will experience an environment of collegiality and support at both institutions. You will receive mentorship and guidance from upper-year students, faculty, and administration during your three years in the program.
The Canadian & American Dual JD program is a challenging course of study. Students take a combined 105 credits at Windsor Law and Detroit Mercy Law over three years (45 credits in Windsor and 60 credits in Detroit). Due to the program’s unique structure, students must maintain full-time enrollment status. There is no part-time study option, nor does the program accept transfers. It is highly recommended that Dual JD students not work during the fall and winter terms, especially during their first year of study.
Dual JD students are able to take advantage of unique learning experiences at Windsor Law and Detroit Mercy Law, including:
- Law Firm Program courses (designed to simulate a real-world practice experience);
- Clinics and externship opportunities (which allow students to gain real legal experience);
- Courses that focus on Indigenous rights and reconciliation;
- Courses with transnational dimensions (which analyze and compare different legal systems); and
- Mooting and advocacy programs (which involve simulations in courtroom environments, negotiations, Indigenous resolution processes, client consultations, etc.)
Dual JD students are required to take the following core first year courses during the fall and winter terms:
- Canadian & US Property Law
- Canadian & US Contracts
- Canadian & US Criminal Law
- Canadian Constitutional Law
- Indigenous Legal Orders
- Comparative Legal Writing & Research
Dual JD students continue their studies in the summer term of their first year. They are required to take the following courses at Detroit Mercy Law during the summer term:
- US Constitutional Law
- US Civil Procedure
In their second year of study, Dual JD students must take the following courses:
- Canadian & US Torts
- Canadian & US Professional Responsibility
- Canadian Civil Procedure
- Canadian & US Evidence
- Canadian & US Business Organizations
Dual JD students are responsible for fulfilling additional degree requirements during their second and third year of study. They must take the following courses:
- Administrative Law (Windsor Law)
- A Law Firm Program course (Detroit Mercy Law)
- Two transnational law courses (Detroit Mercy Law)
- An upper-level writing course (Detroit Mercy Law)
- A legal clinic (Detroit Mercy Law)
Students must complete all degree requirements at both Windsor Law and Detroit Mercy Law to be awarded the degrees from the program. The degrees are awarded jointly, which means that students are not eligible to receive one degree in advance of completing the requirements for both programs.
Dual JD students have a range of student supports available at both Windsor Law and Detroit Mercy Law, including:
- Academic orientations to welcome you to the program
- Academic success and bar exam preparation assistance
- Access to an Indigenous Legal Studies Coordinator and Elder in Residence
- Career services staff to help you secure employment during and after law school
- Events to connect with alumni
- Faculty mentors
- Mental health and wellness initiatives (including access to an embedded clinical therapist at Windsor Law and community building activities at Detroit Mercy Law)
- Peer mentorship programs
- Student clubs and activities (i.e. Student Bar Association, Students’ Law Society, Black Law Students' Association)
- Student services staff to guide you through your three years in the program
Canadian Dual JD students must be eligible to obtain F-1 student status, which allows them to study in the United States. American Dual JD students must be eligible to obtain a Canadian Study Permit, which allows them to study in Canada.
Students who do not have status in Canada or the United States can still apply and be accepted to the Dual JD program. Staff work closely with all admitted students to help them secure required immigration documents.
You can apply to the Dual JD program through the Ontario Law School Application Service (OLSAS) or through the Law School Admission Council (LSAC).
If you are applying to primarily Canadian law schools, it is beneficial to use OLSAS. If you are applying to primarily American law schools, it is beneficial to use LSAC.
You do not need to apply to both University of Windsor and University of Detroit Mercy. Admissions are coordinated between the two institutions. Please note, however, that the admissions processes for Windsor Law’s Canadian JD program and Dual JD program are entirely separate.
The deadline to apply to the Dual JD program through OLSAS is April 15, 2024. If you apply after this date, you must use LSAC.
Acceptance into one program does not mean you are accepted into the other program. Similarly, the admissions processes for Detroit Mercy Law’s American JD program and Dual JD program are entirely separate.
Dual JD applications are reviewed according to Windsor Law’s holistic admissions criteria. The seven criteria considered are: university program, work experience, community involvement, personal accomplishments, career objectives, personal considerations, and Law School Admission Test (LSAT) scores. For further information about these criteria, please click here.
Applicants to the Dual JD program must complete their undergraduate (bachelor’s) degree prior to the program start date. Admitted students are required to send a copy of their final transcript to both the Detroit Mercy Law Admissions Office and LSAC.
There is no minimum grade point average (GPA) or LSAT required to apply to the Dual JD program. Due to the challenging nature of the program, however, GPA and LSAT are given more emphasis.
The last LSAT that will be considered for an application submitted through OLSAS is April 2024. LSAT scores written more than five years prior to the year of application will not be considered. The last LSAT that will be considered for an application submitted through LSAC is June 2024.
Dual JD applicants must complete the Detroit Mercy Law Dual JD supplemental form. Please explain why you are interested in the Dual JD program and why a transnational education is attractive to you