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The Global Professional Master of Laws

An innovative and transformative program designed to help leaders realize their potential through exposure to a robust legal education focused on the areas of law most salient to professionals. The one-year, immersive program attracts top talent from a range of professional backgrounds and is structured to help balance demanding professional commitments with intensive study and professional development. It features four streams:

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Think critically about law and technology.
The GPLLM in Innovation, Law and Technology is the first offering of its kind in Canada. It provides professionals in legal services, business, IT, compliance, finance, and others, with the knowledge to understand the intersection of the law and technology in order to successfully navigate a career in the innovation economy. 

 Copyright © 2018  University of Toronto Faculty of Law – Global Professional LLM. 
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After more than a dozen years working as a financial advisor at Assante, Melissa Chung jolted her career. She earned an MBA at Cornell, and came back to Toronto with fresh enthusiasm and a big new idea. Together with one of her Cornell classmates, she founded Krippit --- a startup that produces high-heel protectors via 3D printing. “We were trying to solve our own problems, to be honest,” she laughs. Melissa attended and completed a rigorous startup accelerator through the Founders Institute, and then enrolled in the GPLLM. All while managing her day job at Assante in Toronto.

“When I was in the accelerator we had to know so much about legal and IP. I was scrambling trying to read all the stuff myself and understand it,” she says. “Right now the program completely ties in to what we learned. So many of the topics are very relevant and make me so much more educated about making decisions.”

So far Melissa is thrilled. “The GPLLM helps me with my entrepreneurship but it also helps me with my financial clients,” she says. “A lot of them are business owners and startups too. Knowing the law makes me that much more ahead of the game.”


Portrait of Melissa Chung



Our personalized admissions process provides you
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program, so that you can make an informed decision
about whether the GPLLM is right for you.

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As Chief Executive of Hitachi Canada, Howard Shearer is where the buck stops. His portfolio includes business development, government relations, and helping the company’s fifteen business units collaborate effectively. It’s a role that suits him well. An electrical engineer by training, he’s been with Hitachi for 34 years.

“Gone are the days when engineers just sit in their labs and make great inventions,” he says. “In today’s world you require collaborative solutions for customers.” And with the rapid infiltration of technology into almost every aspect of life, Howard felt that the GPLLM would give him a leg up. “If you’re moving toward a knowledge economy, I think it’s important for CEO’s to have a good feel of all governance issues surrounding the use of data. How you share it and how you protect it.”

The Innovation, Law and Technology concentration “totally played to my space,” he says. “It looks at the impact of technology on society, governance of issues around it, and forces you to exercise your judgments and thought as a CEO. What things should be considered? What can you expect? How you weigh the risks and how you weigh the benefits. I love it.”


Portrait of Howard Shearer


Born in Kigali, Rwanda, Farahana Jobanputra was a toddler when her parents brought her to Canada. Her 28 year old mother was widowed shortly after they arrived, leaving her to raise two small children in a foreign country. “We really are a boot-strapping family,” she says. “My mom became a serial entrepreneur, developing new technological solutions. Her businesses really were my introduction to using technology and to accessing new opportunities”  
After blazing a trail as the first girl in her family to earn a BA and then an MBA, Farahana has consistently set newer, higher bars with her professional achievements. Now Program Manager for digital projects at BMO, she’s earning her GPLLM. “One of the gaps in a traditional MBA program is you don’t learn literacy in the law,” she says. “As a practitioner developing new technologies, legal and compliance issues are part of my everyday life. And being a digital specialist, privacy, cybersecurity and data management are all extremely important.”  
The GPLLM fills those gaps, she says. It also addresses theoretical issues that don’t often come up in a business setting. “How do you balance commercial interests with ethics and social responsibility?” she says. “I feel like that’s what we’re getting with some of the discussions we’re having. The grounding in law combined with business leaders makes us more thoughtful practitioners.”


Portrait of Farahana Jobanputra


Thank you for your interest in the Global Professional LLM.  We would be happy to connect with you to discuss how your role intersects with the law and how the GPLLM can advance your career.

From contracts to cryptocurrencies, program offers legal literacy for leaders 

The Globe and Mail

As the head of the Agency for Public and Social Innovation (ASPI) in Toronto, Kevin Vuong is focused on building better and healthier Canadian cities. That can cover everything from bike racks to accessibility. He speaks the language of social entrepreneurship. Yet in a recent meeting he found himself conversing fluently about something else.

“I sat across the table with a potential partner in health care and asked them, ‘How are you going to protect your intellectual property if we work together?’ That’s a crucial aspect of this partnership that I would not have considered before.”

Vuong was employing the insight he gained from the University of Toronto’s Global Professional Master of Laws (GPLLM) program.  


Today’s leaders need to draw on a broad range of knowledge to keep atop current and pending challenges. The one-year GPLLM is aimed at managers and executives in any private, public or non-profit sector, as well as practicing lawyers. The program offers them the legal skills and mindset needed to deal with many of the biggest issues they face.

“Leadership is a much more legally-immersed position,” says Ed Iacobucci, Dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of Toronto.

Vuong has been named one of Canada’s “Top 30 Under 30” by Corporate Knights magazine for his work in helping to foster more resilient and livable communities. He says his new legal literacy allows him to reflect differently about business opportunities. “I can now drill down into different topics that are important for me and my company with more precision,” he explains.

GPLLM students can tailor their studies to suit their professional pursuits through the program’s four concentrations: Business Law; Law of Leadership; Canadian Law in a Global Context; and Innovation, Law and Technology. The scope gives students the legal framework to grasp everything from contracts and corporate governance, to cryptocurrencies and cybersecurity.

Consider a hot button issue like workplace harassment, which has not only HR implications but serious legal ones. Emma Phillips covers it as an instructor in the Law of Leadership concentration.

“I’ve seen too many cases where managers or senior leaders in a workplace or organization may lack a clear understanding of the rights of their employees,” says Phillips, a lawyer at Goldblatt Partners LLM.

In her practice, Phillips has done extensive work around harassment, discrimination, and unconscious bias. She says sharing these lessons in the GPLLM enables participants to grasp some of their fundamental duties.

“Being in the classroom with senior managers creates a great opportunity to help them understand the legal frameworks that regulate them and their work, and help them understand their roles,” says Phillips. “The way leaders manage their workplaces can have such a significant impact on the health, happiness and productivity of their employees.”

For many GPLLM students, the program opens new doors. Meaghan Hepburn was a German studies professor, long interested in the intersection between education and technology. That led her to want to probe the role of the law and technology on other aspects of work and life. So she enrolled in the GPLLM for 2017-2018, mainly to satisfy her curiosity.

Hepburn got answers to her questions in the program’s Innovation, Law and Technology stream. Moreover, she discovered a whole new career. In March 2018 she landed a job as a project manager at Stikeman Elliott LLP in Toronto, where she works in the European Practice group.

“I wasn’t sure where this course was going to take me,” says Hepburn, “but in my work now I have the ability to approach problems, challenges and questions with the critical lens of the law. The program has given me a framework for thinking differently about the world, especially about the legality of the increasing role of technology in our lives.”
GPLLM graduates like Hepburn and Vuong have come to recognize that business matters are legal matters. Legal literacy cuts across so many of the top items on the agenda of any leader.
“Lawyers are trained to think a certain way and for a year I was able to practice that thinking, which was invaluable” says Vuong. “Whatever the purpose of your business, you need to operate within a system that’s full of legal challenges and nuance.”

Originally produced by the Globe Content Studio, May 2018.

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