How this in-house counsel expanded her knowledge of the law

To deepen her understanding of the core practice areas in the business world, Michelle Jackson-Forbes enrolled in the Osgoode Professional LLM
Colourful illustration of Michelle Jackson-Forbes
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Colourful illustration of Michelle Jackson-Forbes

Michelle Jackson-Forbes

Osgoode LLM: Business Law, 2019
Assistant vice-president and senior counsel, Ivari
Year of call: 2010

In 2015, about five years into her legal career, Michelle Jackson-Forbes noticed that her workload had become increasingly complex. As the general counsel of a debt-collection company, she’d had to take on responsibilities that fell outside the original scope of the job. “I was running into more and more occasions when the right course of action wasn’t clear,” she says, “and I had to reach out to external counsel for advice.”

To keep up with the demands of the role, Jackson-Forbes knew that she needed to deepen her understanding of the core practice areas in the business world, including corporate transactions and contract law. So she enrolled in the business law specialization of the Osgoode Professional LLM, a rigorous graduate program that she could complete on a part-time basis. “It was very flexible,” she says. “I was able to keep working full-time right through it.”

To her delight, the program blended legal theory with practical training. Her coursework often took the form of mock work assignments that she could work through under the guidance of an instructor who had real-world experience in the field.

Today, Jackson-Forbes is an assistant vice-president and senior counsel at the investment and insurance company Ivari. Her job requires expertise in contracts, compliance and many other areas of business law. Thankfully, the knowledge she acquired in the professional master’s program continues to serve her well. When puzzling over a legal problem, for instance, the perfect solution will sometimes appear in her mind, seemingly out of nowhere. “And then it hits me,” she says. “It’s from Osgoode.”

Fast facts about the Osgoode Professional LLM

1. Flexible: The program is designed for professionals. Evening and weekend classes let you earn a degree while working.

2. Specialized: Dive deep into one of 15 areas of specialization, including tax, securities, criminal, constitutional, business, and dispute resolution.

3. Rigorous: Throughout the program, you’ll complete detailed papers on a complex area of law, honing your legal writing and analytical skills.

Osgoode’s Professional LLM is designed with the working lawyer in mind. To learn more, visit the program’s website or call (416) 673-4670.

This story is from our Spring 2022 Issue.