At both Windsor Law and Detroit Mercy Law, we are proud of our Canadian & American Dual JD Program alumni. Since its inception in 1983, over 740 graduates have gone on to great levels of success in the legal profession and beyond, on both sides of the border. Check out the following perspectives and stories from some of our alumni: 

 

Dual JD Alumni Profiles

Christopher Betty (’17), Associate, Borden Ladner Gervais LLP – Toronto, ON

“An international legal perspective, unique experiential learning opportunities and a supportive community of students and faculty are key highlights of my Dual JD experience. The professional growth that I underwent during this program is a primary enabler of my commitment to client service as a securities lawyer.”

What is your current role? Describe your work.

I am an associate in the Securities and Capital Markets Group in Borden Ladner Gervais LLP’s Toronto office. By way of corporate finance, M&A and registrant regulation advisory, I advise organizations in connection with raising capital, undertaking transactions and organizing their businesses. My practice touches a variety of sectors such as cryptocurrency and blockchain, cannabis and hedge funds.

What was the most rewarding part of your law school experience?

Serving as a judicial intern to Judge Michael J. Riordan (Detroit Mercy Law ’90) at the Michigan Court of Appeals was my most rewarding law school experience. In additional to developing my attention to detail, research and writing skills, participating in the judicial process reinforced for me the human impact of laws. When I finished my semester with the Court, I had a new perspective on law and society.

Do you have any advice for current Dual JD students or law students in general?

Make the most of your access to the United States! Ranging from judicial externships to community legal clinics, Dual JD students can combine their Canadian extracurricular involvement with equivalent experiences in the U.S. to truly stand out.

Toronto Alumni & Awards Reception

 

 

Alyssa Silvaggi ('14), Associate, Black Srebnick Kornspan & Stumpf - Miami, FL

“The Dual JD program gave me the opportunity to represent accused persons in two fundamentally different criminal justice systems, giving me a unique outlook on the law."

What is your current role? Describe your work.

After serving almost three years as a trial lawyer with the Broward County Public Defender’s Office, I joined the Criminal Division at Black, Srebnick, Kornspan & Stumpf, PA in Miami, Florida. My current work is focused on defending individuals charged in complex white-collar criminal cases brought by the US federal government or the state of Florida.

What was the most rewarding part of your law school experience?

Representing criminal defendants against the power of the government has been a long-held passion of mine. The dual JD program provides an unparalleled opportunity to represent accused persons in two fundamentally different criminal justice systems, giving students a unique outlook on the law. On the Canadian side, as a law student, I served as lead trial counsel in many criminal trials through volunteer work at Community Legal Aid. On the American side, through the externship program, I drafted motions and assisted with trial preparation in serious felony cases at the Miami-Dade Public Defender’s Office. My first position after law school was Assistant Public Defender at the Broward County Public Defender’s office. My experience in the dual program gave me the confidence and ability to effectively advocate in a courtroom, draft well-written pleadings and thoroughly prepare cases for trial, all while managing a caseload between 100-200 at any given time.

Do you have any advice for current Dual JD students or law students in general? 

Get involved in extracurricular activities in the legal field. Coursework is important, but it alone will not prepare you for the realities of the practice of law.

Irene Fatehi ('15), Legal Counsel, Derivatives, Ontario Securities Commission – Toronto, ON

“The Dual JD Program equipped me with the right tools to navigate diverse legal systems in a global environment.”

What is your current role? Describe your work.

I work with organizations both across Canada and internationally, including the Canadian Securities Regulators (CSA) and the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO), to fulfill Canada’s various commitments to the G20 and the Financial Stability Board. This is specifically in respect to developing a regulatory framework for over-the-counter derivatives trading in Ontario, and providing compliance oversight of market participants. Additionally, I lend my expertise to OSC LaunchPad, a program dedicated to helping fintech businesses navigate securities law.

What was the most rewarding part of your law school experience?

The most rewarding part of law school was developing skills that facilitate my ability to make a meaningful impact. It was incredibly fulfilling to contribute to the community both on and off campus by serving as the president and treasurer of the Business Law Association and the president of the Student Animal Legal Defence Fund. In addition, it was an invaluable experience to be part of a network of volunteers dedicated to access to justice through Pro Bono Students Canada.

Do you have any advice for current Dual JD students or law students in general?

Envision your achievements and achieve what’s uniquely right for you.

 

In addition to earning her dual JDs from Detroit Mercy Law and Windsor Law, Fatehi received her LLM in Securities and Financial Regulation from Georgetown Law in 2017.

Nashara Peart ('18), Associate Attorney, Miller, Canfield, Paddock and Stone PLC - Detroit, MI

  "The Dual JD program gave me options no other program could have. If you want an education that will instantly set you apart from other candidates, this program might be for you. "

What is your current role? Describe your work.

I am currently an associate in the Litigation and Dispute Resolution practice group at Miller, Canfield, Paddock and Stone PLC’s Detroit office. We handle a wide range of litigation matters, from cases concerning large corporations and multimillion-dollar contracts to civil matters for entrepreneurs or small business owners. Even as a new associate, I have already appeared in both State and Federal Court, and have regular contact with clients and opposing counsel to both strategize and negotiate.

What was the most rewarding part of your law school experience?

My most rewarding experience in law school was my term as National President of the Black Law Students’ Association of Canada. Not only did I work with an amazing team from law schools across the country, but I was also able to see the impact of promoting discussions surrounding diversity and inclusion on both of my law school campuses. It was and still is important to me to be a part of the discussion on improving the diversity of the legal profession. As a Dual JD student, I had the unique opportunity to be a part of these important discussions on both sides of the border.

Do you have any advice for current Dual JD students or law students in general?

Become an active citizen in your law school community. You might not yet know what area of law you want to practice, but find something you’re passionate about and get involved in its promotion. Use your time as a law student to develop your community’s trust in you as an advocate, even if you’re not yet advocating from behind a podium in a courtroom.  Begin to build your legacy so you can look back and say that you are proud of how you spent your time and proud to have left the impact that you did.

Neil Harris ('13), Associate Lawyer, Dentons Canada LLP - Calgary, AB


“My experience as a student in the Dual JD Program was a very rewarding one. From the very start, there was an emphasis on experiential learning and professionalism. I didn’t just learn the law – I learned how to be a lawyer. I took classes that prioritized practical legal skills, such as drafting, research, and file management, that made my transition from student to lawyer very smooth. In addition, I gained those invaluable “soft skills” that have made all the difference in my career. Hard work, time management, relationship building, and effective communication are now a second nature to me. My time in the Dual JD Program was both fun and challenging, and that experience is what sets me apart from other young lawyers.”
 

 

What is your current role? Describe your work. 

I am an Associate Lawyer in the Calgary office of Dentons Canada LLP. I am a member of the Banking and Finance practice group, and act for both borrowers and lenders on mid-market and syndicated commercial lending transactions in various industry contexts. My work is very client-focused, with varying degrees of collaboration depending on transaction size and complexity. 

What was the most rewarding part of your law school experience?

As a whole, my experience in the Dual JD Program was very rewarding. I loved it, and honestly wouldn’t change anything. In particular, the opportunities I had to learn real-world practice skills were invaluable to my career. My favourite law school course was an experiential law firm program (LFP) focused on commercial real estate transactions. Throughout the semester, we learned about and submitted assignments related to the purchase and sale of commercial real estate. Among other things, I learned how to structure and plan transactions, review documents related to survey matters and easements, and draft letters of intent, leases, and closing documents. This course really prepared me for my career in transactional law.  

Do you have any advice for current Dual JD students or law students in general? 

Law school is a life-changing commitment, and students need to go in to law school ready to give it their all. Speaking from experience, both the first year of law school and the first year working as an associate lawyer can feel overwhelming at times. I’m fortunate that I learned both file management and time management skills while in law school, and that I had good mentors who encouraged me not to give up. It’s so important for law students to network and to build up relationships with as many people as possible, and to seek insight and knowledge from senior people in the legal profession. 

Alexander Treiber (’16), Litigation  Associate, Sullivan & Cromwell LLP - New York City, NY

The Dual JD Program has set me up for my truly “cross-border” career. After practicing law in Toronto, I recently transitioned to working for an AmLaw 100 law firm in New York City. While the curriculum is certainly challenging, double the degrees means double the opportunities.” 

What is your current role? Describe your work. 

I am a Litigation Associate at Sullivan & Cromwell LLP in New York City with a general commercial litigation practice.  Recently my work has focused mainly on products liability cases related to ongoing class actions about allegedly defective emission technologies and airbags installed in vehicles. 

What was the most rewarding part of your law school experience? 

My most rewarding part of law school was being elected by my peers as VP Academic of the Windsor Law student government (known as the Students’ Law Society (SLS)) and successfully advocating for a constitutional amendment to the SLS constitution so that the proportion of guaranteed positions for Dual JD students on the SLS Executive was more reflective of the proportion of Dual JD students at Windsor Law.  The referendum passed with over 81% of the vote in favour!  Advocacy comes in all forms and I was extremely satisfied that I helped make the Windsor SLS government a little more representative than when I joined it.  

Do you have any advice for current Dual JD students or law students in general? 

Take advantage of every opportunity that the program uniquely offers you as a Dual JD student.  Get to know your professors and Deans on both sides of the border; join clinics and clubs on both sides of the border; and definitely make friends on both sides of the border.  The opportunities you take advantage of in law school and the relationships you form with the people you meet will open doors you don’t even know about yet.

Jessica Tracey ('17), Solicitor and Counsel, BC Hydro - Vancouver, BC

“My entrance into the legal profession has been non-traditional. I entered law school with an idea of how and what I thought my legal career would look like based on my interests, values and passions. The Dual JD experience allowed me the opportunity to stay true to my path by offering a diversified range of courses on both sides of the border that have provided me with a solid foundation for a career as an in-house lawyer. As we all know, the law is not always black and white. It is the grey area that interests me and how business decisions are made in that grey area. As a Solicitor and Counsel at BC Hydro, I get to analyze not only the legal issues but also how they apply in everyday business decisions when there are competing corporate priorities. With a passion for the environment, business and the law, working at BC Hydro couldn’t be a better fit!”


What is your current role? Describe your work.
 

I have a general corporate practice. As a junior lawyer, I enjoy the diversity and love that every day is different. I can be drafting trademark license agreements one morning to reviewing regulatory filings in the afternoon. Working for one of the largest utilities in Canada, which serves  95% of the population of British Columbia, we are faced with complex and challenging legal issues. I get the opportunity to work on a wide range of issues and practices areas from public procurement, regulatory, properties, Indigenous Relations, dispute resolution, intellectual property, information technology, privacy, human resources and the list goes on.

What was the most rewarding part of your law school experience?

The most rewarding part of my Dual JD experience was being able to attain an American and Canadian law degree near my hometown of Woodslee, Ontario. Although I love the mountains and West Coast life, Windsor-Essex County will always be home. The Windsor-Detroit area is a hidden gem, filled with passionate and innovative people.  Cross-Border Sales and Financing was my favorite class in law school. I use this material in my daily practice, whether I am reviewing contracts from American based companies or researching potential issues with exporting energy across the border.

Do you have any advice for current Dual JD students or law students in general?

My advice for current Dual JD students is to stay true to yourself and take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way. Everyone comes to law school for a different reason, but don’t ever doubt whether your “reason” is the right one. There are so many opportunities out there, don’t be scared to explore and do something different. You will be working in this profession for a long time so you might as well mold your path into one that makes you happy!