Trilingual: Russian native pursues Dual J.D. degree


By Sheila Pursglove
Legal News

Margarita Dvorkina hails from Omsk in the Siberian region of Russia, and immigrated to Canada with her family at the age of 16. Placed in grade 11, she put all her efforts into learning English and pursuing her interest in law, starting with an undergrad degree in criminology from Ryerson University in Toronto.

“Having gone to and volunteered at various law networking events, and given my love for traveling, I became very interested in the practice of international law and pursuing legal studies of more than one jurisdiction,” she says.

The Dual J.D. program at University of Detroit Mercy School of Law and the University of Windsor was a perfect fit for this rising 2L student and future litigator.

“Detroit Mercy Law truly cares about its students and ensures they are educated as ‘complete lawyers,’ as the school’s motto deservedly says. The incredible teaching faculty is knowledgeable, experienced and caring, and the school offers real life hands-on experiences,” she says.

“The Dual J.D. program is unprecedented in that it gives students incredible opportunities to immerse themselves in two different legal cultures and jurisdictions, and earn two legal degrees in three years. I’ll be able to practice law in the United States and Canada, which is especially important in the context of the globalized world. And I love the fact I get to study in both the U.S. and Canada on a weekly basis.”

A member of the International Law Society, and the Mental Health Awareness Committee, and Social and Social Orientation Committees, Dvorkina plans on joining the Detroit Mercy Law Review and running for the Moot Court Board.

Currently interning for U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Helene N. White, Sixth Circuit, she is enjoying the opportunity to observe the proceedings of the federal appellate court, hone her legal research and writing skills, and participate in writing bench memoranda.

For the past year, she has worked as a research assistant to University of Windsor Professor Julie Macfarlane, founder of the National Self-Represented Litigants Project.

“I’ve been working on projects that aim to respond to the national crisis of self-represented litigants in Canada, develop resources for SRLs and build a conversation between the justice system and SRLs to bring along the necessary assistance and change,” Dvorkina says.

Fluent in English, French and Russian, Dvorkina notes her linguistic ability will be significant in the international legal spectrum.

“I think knowledge of languages is an asset in the increasingly interconnected globalized environment we live in,” she says.

She immersed in the French language and culture during an exchange program, during which she also traveled to 15 other countries.

“I had an opportunity to work with local students and the faculty on social projects, meet people from all over the world, and learn the history of France and structure and functioning of the European Union,” she says.

The Windsor resident has been passionate about travel since childhood. Having traveled all over Canada, the United States, Europe, and Russia, and visited Africa, her next destination is South America.

Dvorkina is inspired by her parents who were doctors in Siberia, and had the challenging path of obtaining Canadian medical licenses after settling in Toronto. Her younger brother is in grade 11 and plans to attend veterinary school.

“I’m incredibly thankful for my family’s constant support and faith in me,” she says.


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