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Hello everyone.  

I was accepted to the Windsor Dual JD Program and can't stop reading all of the negative comments about the program. I have saved up a fair share of money that would require me to take out a LOC of only around $80-$100k by the completion of the program and can see myself being able to pay it back through intern/articling/associate salaries. Can any current Dual JD students chime in on this major STIGMA that is associated with the program on this forum. Is this program as bad as it sounds? I see a lot of students who have landed articling positions and nice externships as well as internships from some quick Googling. 

 

THANKS 

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I wasn't a dual JD student but I can offer this: as I'm sure you've discovered from various threads on this forum, there is some stigma around the dual program, mainly because of its comparatively high cost  (UofT law is cheaper and everyone knows that program is ridiculously expensive) and lower admission standards. Also Detroit Mercy isn't exactly a top U.S. school.

Basically, the dual JD has a reputation as a last chance option for students looking to study in Canada but didn't get in anywhere else. This is not completely unfair imo but how much it matters to your future prospects is often overstated, specifically on this forum and by prospective law students. My sense is that practicing lawyers and most employers don't care that much to start with, and they certainly don't after you've got a few years of practice under your belt.

Now, the astronomical cost is a real issue, and anyone considering the dual program needs to think long and hard about that. School debt, especially from an unsecured LOC will have a profound effect on most people's life choices for a long while; it may affect the career opportunities you choose to pursue, how quickly you can make major life decisions, etc. But academically the dual program is just as rigorous as any other (maybe more so because you're essentially studying for two degrees) and the quality of education you'll receive by attending is fine.

You'll find many threads on how what law school you attend affects your employment prospects and so on, and they usually end in a sort of stalemate where everyone sort of agrees that it matters because of perception but no one is sure to what extent, and that your school is by no means a barrier to most opportunities. 

Anecdotally, what I've seen backs that up. Strong dual students usually have no issues landing OCI interviews or positions. I know a bunch that summered and articled on Bay Street. Weaker students however may fare worse than students from programs with less/no stigma. So, that's something to keep in mind.

 

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Posted (edited)

I just had a chat with the person who recruits at my law firm (Bay St) who told me that Windsor has great connections with many larger firms. A lot of bigger firms recruit from Windsor, including Windsor Dual students. He also advised me to go to Windsor Dual over TRU (the schools I got accepted into so far) if my goal is to work on Bay St. He even mentioned that he would go to the Dual over some Ontario law schools (Lakehead). The only problem is the cost.

Obviously, the American JD isn't very useful. The cost is tremendous. But if you think that the stigma will prevent you from getting hired somewhere, I don't think that's the case. If you look through the students who have been hired at the prominent firms, there are Windsor Dual students somewhere in there.

Personally, I can't afford the dual. The stigma may be real on this site but Windsor is a great school and has a great track record with many large, well known firms. I would say not to worry about stigma, but whether the debt is worth it for you. Message me if you'd like. I'm only an applicant but I've worked with/befriended many lawyers, most of whom are in BigLaw. 

 

Edited by Relentless2017
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I had a friend who was in the Dual JD at Windsor, but transferred into the Single JD before long. They said it was just too much hassle and cost for what they perceived as not being a lot of gain compared to the Single JD.

Windsor isn't a bad school in itself, and I doubt the stigma surrounding the program is there in the sense that an employer will see you were in it and decide not to hire you. If you work hard and get good marks, I'm sure you'll get a great job in Canada. It's the American job market where you probably won't be so lucky.

The Detroit Mercy degree is basically useless as the school is in one of the lowest law school tiers in the US (and rankings count for a lot in the States) so I don't see much likelihood in becoming that competitive in the American job market (where there are about 200 law schools cranking out hundreds of grads every year) unless you were the top few percent of the class, and even then probably not as much as other top students because of how much stress American culture puts on school ranks. 

If you really want to work in the US, you can always be educated in Canada and then write the bar exams for whatever States you're looking to practice in - much cheaper that way. 

If you're still looking for a Canada-US JD program, I'd recommend Ottawa's program over the Windsor degree. They offer dual degrees from two American schools (both higher ranked than Detroit Mercy) so you can take your pick of where you want to go, and you pay Canadian tuition rates (approx <$20k/year as opposed to $50k</year) when you go over to the States so you're not swimming in as much debt at the end (still will likely be swimming in some debt though - this is law school, after all 😂)

 

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Posted (edited)
11 hours ago, Relentless2017 said:

I just had a chat with the person who recruits at my law firm (Bay St) who told me that Windsor has great connections with many larger firms. A lot of bigger firms recruit from Windsor, including Windsor Dual students. He also advised me to go to Windsor Dual over TRU (the schools I got accepted into so far) if my goal is to work on Bay St. He even mentioned that he would go to the Dual over some Ontario law schools (Lakehead). The only problem is the cost.

Obviously, the American JD isn't very useful. The cost is tremendous. But if you think that the stigma will prevent you from getting hired somewhere, I don't think that's the case. If you look through the students who have been hired at the prominent firms, there are Windsor Dual students somewhere in there.

Personally, I can't afford the dual. The stigma may be real on this site but Windsor is a great school and has a great track record with many large, well known firms. I would say not to worry about stigma, but whether the debt is worth it for you. Message me if you'd like. I'm only an applicant but I've worked with/befriended many lawyers, most of whom are in BigLaw. 

 

Playing devil's advocate, I am not sure I agree with the advice from this Bay Street recruiter. Out of a class of ~250 students, only 30-40 Windsor students have been successful in the Toronto OCI process in the last couple of years. Some of these jobs are not Big law jobs either as they include Legal Aid Ontario, Department of Justice, and the MAG -- quite a few Windsor students land these jobs every year. Thus, the chances of landing a Big law job out of Windsor is 10-15%. I cannot justify the tuition costs for the Windsor dual JD for a 10-15% chance even if TRU and Lakehead have an even lower chance of placing on Bay Street. TRU at least places well for Big law jobs in Vancouver. And it's not overly difficult to move locations after you've gained experience and made some internal connections. 

Edited by Deadpool
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Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, Deadpool said:

Playing devil's advocate, I am not sure I agree with the advice from this Bay Street recruiter. Out of a class of ~250 students, only 30-40 Windsor students have been successful in the Toronto OCI process in the last couple of years. Some of these jobs are not Big law jobs either as they include Legal Aid Ontario, Department of Justice, and the MAG -- quite a few Windsor students land these jobs every year. Thus, the chances of landing a Big law job out of Windsor is 10-15%. I cannot justify the tuition costs for the Windsor dual JD for a 10-15% chance even if TRU and Lakehead have an even lower chance of placing on Bay Street. TRU at least places well for Big law jobs in Vancouver. And it's not overly difficult to move locations after you've gained experience and made some internal connections. 

What are placement rates for TRU students from Ontario that land Ontario jobs?

Some more background on me... My main goal is to stay in Ontario and possibly work in USA after graduation. I know Detroit isn’t a top tier school but it would still allow me to write the bar in a state like Florida where I could see myself going later in the future as I have some family there, but only after I am more established and with more experience as a lawyer.  After some further planning, cost is not an issue and I would probably need a smaller LOC of what I had originally estimated (40k ish).

 

 

19 hours ago, Relentless2017 said:

I just had a chat with the person who recruits at my law firm (Bay St) who told me that Windsor has great connections with many larger firms. A lot of bigger firms recruit from Windsor, including Windsor Dual students. He also advised me to go to Windsor Dual over TRU (the schools I got accepted into so far) if my goal is to work on Bay St. He even mentioned that he would go to the Dual over some Ontario law schools (Lakehead). The only problem is the cost.

Obviously, the American JD isn't very useful. The cost is tremendous. But if you think that the stigma will prevent you from getting hired somewhere, I don't think that's the case. If you look through the students who have been hired at the prominent firms, there are Windsor Dual students somewhere in there.

Personally, I can't afford the dual. The stigma may be real on this site but Windsor is a great school and has a great track record with many large, well known firms. I would say not to worry about stigma, but whether the debt is worth it for you. Message me if you'd like. I'm only an applicant but I've worked with/befriended many lawyers, most of whom are in BigLaw. 

 

Thank you for sharing your valuable insights. I feel my goal would be to work on Bay St but I am not completely locked in on it and would be fine working in a small or medium sized Toronto firm. I’m OK with the costs, and after some further consideration and forecasting I think I can afford it. Does the firm you work at have Dual JD students in it? 

 

Edited by applepro1

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44 minutes ago, applepro1 said:

What are placement rates for TRU students from Ontario that land Ontario jobs?

Some more background on me... My main goal is to stay in Ontario and possibly work in USA after graduation. I know Detroit isn’t a top tier school but it would still allow me to write the bar in a state like Florida where I could see myself going later in the future as I have some family there, but only after I am more established and with more experience as a lawyer.  After some further planning, cost is not an issue and I would probably need a smaller LOC of what I had originally estimated (40k ish).

 

 

Thank you for sharing your valuable insights. I feel my goal would be to work on Bay St but I am not completely locked in on it and would be fine working in a small or medium sized Toronto firm. I’m OK with the costs, and after some further consideration and forecasting I think I can afford it. Does the firm you work at have Dual JD students in it? 

 

If your goal is Bay Street or even practice in the US, I would recommend attempting to reapply next year to a different school. 

My reasoning is as follows: 

Your odds of placing in a big law, bay street firm through Windsor are simply not that high. Which might not be such a big deal if you weren't paying out the nose for it. The cost of double degree tuition and the low odds of you landing your preferred job make this either a bad gamble or a poor investment. You'd be better off at a different Ontario school where your odds of placing through OCIs is higher and your tuition costs lower. 

As for your aspirations in the US, you need to understand how seriously Americans take school rankings. The nation is drowning in unemployed lowers from low tier schools. And a degree from DM is not only going to be a flop, it will be utterly ignored in a state like Florida. If you really want to practice in the US, pick a state you are interested in and pick a good local state school. Attend that school and you'll likely be OK. Florida State is, I think, fairly good for placing in that area. 

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Posted (edited)
19 hours ago, Deadpool said:

Playing devil's advocate, I am not sure I agree with the advice from this Bay Street recruiter. Out of a class of ~250 students, only 30-40 Windsor students have been successful in the Toronto OCI process in the last couple of years. Some of these jobs are not Big law jobs either as they include Legal Aid Ontario, Department of Justice, and the MAG -- quite a few Windsor students land these jobs every year. Thus, the chances of landing a Big law job out of Windsor is 10-15%. I cannot justify the tuition costs for the Windsor dual JD for a 10-15% chance even if TRU and Lakehead have an even lower chance of placing on Bay Street. TRU at least places well for Big law jobs in Vancouver. And it's not overly difficult to move locations after you've gained experience and made some internal connections. 

I agree with you on this as well. For me (personally), the risk of NOT landing a Bay St job is not worth the price tag. I know that my chances of landing a Bay St job from TRU significantly decreases my chances, but I'm hoping my connections will get me there. 

The recruiter also said if I don't like either school, I can try to defer and re-apply next year and that is what he recommended. So OP - if you don't want to go here, you can always re-write the LSAT and re-apply. That's always an option.

Of course this is one recruiter's take. I agree with you that it's not worth the risk for me. But if Dual was OP's only option for law school, he should go if he is willing to forgo a ton of money and not because of stigma. The stigma may/may not exist but won't prevent you from getting a really good job. I just don't think it's bad as it sounds (the stigma) - the money is the big issue. 
 

Also yes, it is an option to work in Vancouver big law and try to transfer here with experience. I'm not sure how it is like to transfer as an associate. I think the managing partner recruits associates. 

Edited by Relentless2017

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The risk of NOT landing a Bay St. job comes with every law school, I think. While it is true that Windsor in general, and not just the DUAL, does not land as many Bay St. jobs as other schools, I know last year quite a few duals landed on Bay for 2L. This year I only know of 2 Duals who got Bay through the 2L recruit (there might be others), but I think there were other various factors involved in the number being this low. 

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On 3/2/2021 at 5:52 PM, applepro1 said:

Hello everyone.  

I was accepted to the Windsor Dual JD Program and can't stop reading all of the negative comments about the program. I have saved up a fair share of money that would require me to take out a LOC of only around $80-$100k by the completion of the program and can see myself being able to pay it back through intern/articling/associate salaries. Can any current Dual JD students chime in on this major STIGMA that is associated with the program on this forum. Is this program as bad as it sounds? I see a lot of students who have landed articling positions and nice externships as well as internships from some quick Googling. 

 

THANKS 

As a former Dual, I can say that realistically speaking, the "stigma" is nominal (if it exists at all for job prospects). As long as you work hard, get decent grades, you and your classmates will end up lining up OCIs and articling positions at a broad spectrum of big law and non-big law firms. Sure, perhaps the bigger firms might prioritize U of T, Osgoode, Western/Queens students, but you will see Duals placing there as well. Very few of your classmates will end up unemployed. 

There is no "stigma" from my experience, other than what your colleagues at other law schools have to say. When you're actually in practice,  nobody cares or asks which law school you went to; its your reputation, and work product which counts and speaks for itself in future job interviews and so forth. 

The main reason why I would not do the Dual route if I had a choice is the cost + little to no value of having a second JD at a (let's be honest) very low ranking university (UDM). The cost is astronomical. If you can avoid that debt do yourself a favour and please do. It will take you a long time to pay that down, and that debt will have implications on your ability to secure a mortgage down the line, start investing for retirement, or making other investments. It is prohibitively expensive and you don't gain anything by having a second JD from UDM. If you're interested in practising in the US, a number of states will let you write a US Bar with a Canadian JD (do a google search from the ABA). Law school is hard enough, you don't need to put yourself through a second curriculum, and realistically, 99.9% of your classmates will only end up practising in one jurisdiction. The practise of law is hard enough to master in one specialty and in one jurisdiction, let alone two. Further, as you are squeezing two degrees simultaneously, there will be some courses where you will be skimming through and you won't get getting the full equal experience. For example, we brushed through Canadian Evidence, US Contract Law, US Property Law, and so forth. Definitely did not get a proper full semester and overview of those courses. 

If I were you, if you did get into other schools in Ontario, I would highly consider those over the Dual. Alternatively, if you get into Windsor alone then that would also be preferable. The Dual is too expensive, and you're not getting any real return on your invest in securing two degrees. If you did not get into other schools, consider going for a one year Masters, rewrite the LSAT, and/or get a couple years of work experience in a law adjacent/government/policy type role, which will make you more competitive applicant in the future.  

 

Good luck!

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On 3/26/2021 at 11:12 PM, navyblue11 said:

I had a friend who was in the Dual JD at Windsor, but transferred into the Single JD before long. They said it was just too much hassle and cost for what they perceived as not being a lot of gain compared to the Single JD.

Windsor isn't a bad school in itself, and I doubt the stigma surrounding the program is there in the sense that an employer will see you were in it and decide not to hire you. If you work hard and get good marks, I'm sure you'll get a great job in Canada. It's the American job market where you probably won't be so lucky.

The Detroit Mercy degree is basically useless as the school is in one of the lowest law school tiers in the US (and rankings count for a lot in the States) so I don't see much likelihood in becoming that competitive in the American job market (where there are about 200 law schools cranking out hundreds of grads every year) unless you were the top few percent of the class, and even then probably not as much as other top students because of how much stress American culture puts on school ranks. 

If you really want to work in the US, you can always be educated in Canada and then write the bar exams for whatever States you're looking to practice in - much cheaper that way. 

If you're still looking for a Canada-US JD program, I'd recommend Ottawa's program over the Windsor degree. They offer dual degrees from two American schools (both higher ranked than Detroit Mercy) so you can take your pick of where you want to go, and you pay Canadian tuition rates (approx <$20k/year as opposed to $50k</year) when you go over to the States so you're not swimming in as much debt at the end (still will likely be swimming in some debt though - this is law school, after all 😂)

 

Is it easy to switch from the JD to the single program? Are most people who want to make the switch granted it?

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Just now, moonstuns said:

Is it easy to switch from the JD to the single program? Are most people who want to make the switch granted it?

Not sure, my friend never said how easy or hard it was. I'm sure someone on here can probably give their own experience, though.  

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15 minutes ago, moonstuns said:

Is it easy to switch from the JD to the single program? Are most people who want to make the switch granted it?

I can't imagine it being that easy. I imagine a fair number of students would be eager to slash their tuition by transferring. 

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55 minutes ago, SadNWO said:

I can't imagine it being that easy. I imagine a fair number of students would be eager to slash their tuition by transferring. 

Not necessarily. It could be that a good percentage of those who are actually in the Dual JD really believe that what the program offers in comparison to the Single JD is worth the heightened tuition.

Then again, I don't know whether this is actually the case in real life or whether there actually is generally a large demand to switch to the Single each year for the sake of tuition savings. 

It may not be that easy to switch, but I also can't imagine it being erroneously hard either. To crack down on the amount of people who can transfer out of the program would be to likely increase their risk of losing students who, given the huge amount of money the program costs, would rather transfer to a different school or drop out entirely if they were denied a request to switch programs. I doubt Windsor wants to be seen as the bad guys who force students to stay in programs they don't want to/can't be in and pay money they don't want to give/don't have, because then word would spread that once you're in that program you're almost essentially locked in for good, and no one wants to take on that kind of risk unless they're 100% sure they want to be there.

However, I also doubt it would also be in Windsor's interests to have to account for the potential of large amounts of people transferring in from the Dual JD in their class logistics, because then they would have to run the risk of their class hitting capacity or, alternatively, being under-enrolled should the number of seats they set aside to account for the Dual transfers not go claimed in a given year. Then again, this is assuming that Windsor Single JD has a class cap at all after 1L admissions are over, maybe they just view the entire class as the sum of all the people in every program across the faculty and therefore it wouldn't affect numbers at all if people switched between the programs. 

Honestly, there are just too many unknowns for speculations from people who don't go there (myself included, haha). The best source of information would be from a Windsor student or faculty member themselves. 

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29 minutes ago, navyblue11 said:

Not necessarily. It could be that a good percentage of those who are actually in the Dual JD really believe that what the program offers in comparison to the Single JD is worth the heightened tuition.

Then again, I don't know whether this is actually the case in real life or whether there actually is generally a large demand to switch to the Single each year for the sake of tuition savings. 

It may not be that easy to switch, but I also can't imagine it being erroneously hard either. To crack down on the amount of people who can transfer out of the program would be to likely increase their risk of losing students who, given the huge amount of money the program costs, would rather transfer to a different school or drop out entirely if they were denied a request to switch programs. I doubt Windsor wants to be seen as the bad guys who force students to stay in programs they don't want to/can't be in and pay money they don't want to give/don't have, because then word would spread that once you're in that program you're almost essentially locked in for good, and no one wants to take on that kind of risk unless they're 100% sure they want to be there.

However, I also doubt it would also be in Windsor's interests to have to account for the potential of large amounts of people transferring in from the Dual JD in their class logistics, because then they would have to run the risk of their class hitting capacity or, alternatively, being under-enrolled should the number of seats they set aside to account for the Dual transfers not go claimed in a given year. Then again, this is assuming that Windsor Single JD has a class cap at all after 1L admissions are over, maybe they just view the entire class as the sum of all the people in every program across the faculty and therefore it wouldn't affect numbers at all if people switched between the programs. 

Honestly, there are just too many unknowns for speculations from people who don't go there (myself included, haha). The best source of information would be from a Windsor student or faculty member themselves. 

I don’t think you really understand what the Windsor dual JD is. You seem to think it’s some kind of valuable degree that is worth additional money. It isn’t. It’s a predatory program of last resort for Canadian students desperate to attend a Canadian (or at Ontarian) law school. 

There is not a “good percentage” of dual students who think it’s a valuable program. They all know it’s a predatory program, they all know the Detroit Mercy degree is a waste of paper, and they all know it’s not worth the additional tuition. 

Windsor’s dual program doesn’t have to let people outside it’s top students transfer to the single JD because those students are unlikely to be able to transfer into any other faculty in the country. They don’t need to worry about being the bad guy who traps students in the dual because they already are the bad guy who offers the most predatory law degree in Canada. 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, BlockedQuebecois said:

I don’t think you really understand what the Windsor dual JD is. You seem to think it’s some kind of valuable degree that is worth additional money. It isn’t. It’s a predatory program of last resort for Canadian students desperate to attend a Canadian (or at Ontarian) law school. 

There is not a “good percentage” of dual students who think it’s a valuable program. They all know it’s a predatory program, they all know the Detroit Mercy degree is a waste of paper, and they all know it’s not worth the additional tuition. 

Windsor’s dual program doesn’t have to let people outside it’s top students transfer to the single JD because those students are unlikely to be able to transfer into any other faculty in the country. They don’t need to worry about being the bad guy who traps students in the dual because they already are the bad guy who offers the most predatory law degree in Canada. 

I definitely agree that the Dual JD isn't worth it (if you look at my previous post in this thread, you'll definitely see this is the case haha), but I'm just saying that there may be people who do think it is (hence my use of the word "could" in "it could be a good percentage"). 

However, I just don't see how it would be in Windsor's best interest to essentially trap the vast majority of people in a program. Surely if they did, then they'd lose students who can't/don't want to pay that much when they could just retain those students for the full three years if they let them switch. Three years of tuition is better than just one or two, right? Unless they have some other revenue stream that would render Windsor in a place where they don't care either way whether people leave, which I suppose is possible. 

And like I said, I never thought that it would necessarily be easy, just that it probably wouldn't be erroneously tough. I'm sure that there would probably be some sort of application involved, and there would be some people who would be denied the chance to switch, but there surely must be people that are approved. I mean, my friend was, so it's definitely possible. 

Edited by navyblue11
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2 minutes ago, navyblue11 said:

However, I just don't see how it would be in Windsor's best interest to essentially trap the vast majority of people in a program. Surely if they did, then they'd lose students who can't/don't want to pay that much when they could just retain those students for the full three years if they let them switch. Three years of tuition is better than just one, right? Unless they have some other revenue stream that would render Windsor in a place where they don't care either way whether people leave after a year or not, which I suppose is possible. 

Almost nobody drops out, almost everyone sticks it out though an entire JD program once starting (even though in the case of Windsor dual loads of people go in planning to transfer and failing to do so). Sunk costs and all.

There also are plenty of Canadian students who go to low-ranked schools abroad after being unable to get into any Canadian JD program, and who would be eager to transfer to Windsor dual if more students dropped out and thus transfer slots opened.

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Just now, CleanHands said:

Almost nobody drops out, almost everyone sticks it out though an entire JD program once starting (even though in the case of Windsor dual loads of people go in planning to transfer and failing to do so). Sunk costs and all.

There also are plenty of Canadian students who go to low-ranked schools abroad after being unable to get into any Canadian JD program, and who would be eager to transfer to Windsor dual if more students dropped out and thus transfer slots opened.

I guess given that, then it makes sense. I'm surprised at that low drop-out rate, though (not that I don't believe you), but I agree that sunk costs is probably a larger pull than I anticipated before. 

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Posted (edited)
10 minutes ago, navyblue11 said:

I guess given that, then it makes sense. I'm surprised at that low drop-out rate, though (not that I don't believe you), but I agree that sunk costs is probably a larger pull than I anticipated before. 

To be fair to you, you're thinking rationally here: sometimes dropping out after 1L really is the best decision if it becomes clear that someone is not going to achieve their desired outcomes from it or be able to make it work financially. But when someone is in this situation it's extremely hard to approach it rationally. It's extremely rough and hard to have to walk away from something like a JD program as "a failure," have to explain to friends and family that one didn't get the grades or transfer or job they desired and realized they needed to cut their losses, having to figure out what else to do with their life now, etc. Sticking it out might not be the wisest or most economical or rational decision in all cases, but it's almost always the path of least resistance socially, professionally, etc.

EDIT - To be clear I'd recommend people not gamble at all if this is a realistic situation for them to end up in (which it is for people planning to attend Windsor dual unless they have specific career interests in mind that are realistically attainable and financially viable).

Edited by CleanHands
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On 4/19/2021 at 5:59 PM, moonstuns said:

Is it easy to switch from the JD to the single program? Are most people who want to make the switch granted it?

Not easy no. Unless you have a compassionate ground or some sort of extenuating circumstance, single JD won’t bite. You’ll have better luck trying to transfer to other law schools. Both programs are fine, my gripe with Dual was the cost and little to no added value being tied to a low ranking US school. Single JD knows that’s how a lot of students feel and so make it difficult to switch to single.
 

If you can, I’d say avoid Dual due to the costs. But if you get into single Windsor that’s a perfectly good program and it’s reasonably priced. 

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