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Juris Doctor (see etymology and abbreviations below) is a professional doctorate and first professional degree in Law.The degree was first awarded by Harvard Universitymarker in the United States in the late 19th century as a degree similar to the old European doctor of law degree (such as the Dottore in Giurisprudenza in Italy and the Juris Utriusque Doctor). Originating from the 19th century Harvard movement for the scientific study of law, it is the only law degree that has a goal of being the primary professional preparation for lawyers. It is the only professional degree in law and is a three year program in most jurisdictions. As with other professional doctorates in the United States and Canada (M.D., D.O., D.D.S., D. Min. etc.), a research dissertation or thesis is not required. This degree primarily exists in the United States, but since about 1997 it has appeared in universities in other countries for the first time, although it has a unique form in each country.

Etymology and abbreviations

In the United States, the degree is conferred in Latin as Juris Doctor or in English as Doctor of Jurisprudence. In academic tradition in the United States, degrees conferred in Latin generally may be abbreviated in Latin only, while degrees conferred in English may be abbreviated in either English or Latin—provided the degree has a Latin equivalent. Thus, Juris Doctor may only be abbreviated J.D., while Doctor of Jurisprudence may be abbreviated either D.Jur. or J.D. Either abbreviation may be rendered with or without punctuation to meet requirements of academic style manuals (e.g., the AMA Manual of Style uses no punctuation for most abbreviations - MD, DO, JD, DJur, PhD, etc.).

Historical context

Origins of the law degree

The foundations of the first universities in Europe were the glossators of the 11th century, which were schools of law. The first European university, that of Bolognamarker, was founded as a school of law by four famous legal scholars in the 12th century who were students of the glossator school in that city. The University of Bolognamarker served as the model for other law schools of the medieval age. While it was common for students of law to visit and study at schools in other countries, such was not the case with England because of the English rejection of Roman law (except for certain jurisdictions such as the Admiralty Court) and although the University of Oxfordmarker and University of Cambridgemarker did teach canon law until the English Reformation, its importance was always superior to civil law in those institutions.

The history of legal training in England

The nature of the J.D. can be better understood by a review of the context of the history of legal education in England. The teaching of law at Oxford University was for philosophical or scholarly purposes and not meant to prepare one to practice law. Professional training for practicing common law in England was undertaken at the Inns of Court, but over time the training functions of the Inns lessened considerably and apprenticeships with individual practitioners arose as the prominent medium of preparation. However, because of the lack of standardization of study and of objective standards for appraisal of these apprenticeships, the role of universities became subsequently of importance for the education of lawyers in the English speaking world.

In England in 1292 when Edward I first requested that lawyers be trained, students merely sat in the courts and observed, but over time the students would hire professionals to lecture them in their residences, which led to the institution of the Inns of Court system. The original method of education at the Inns of Court was a mix of moot court-like practice and lecture, as well as court proceedings observation. By the seventeenth century, the Inns obtained a status as a kind of university akin to the University of Oxfordmarker and the University of Cambridgemarker, though very specialized in purpose. With the frequent absence of parties to suits during the Crusades, the importance of the lawyer role grew tremendously, and the demand for lawyers grew.

Traditionally Oxford and Cambridge did not see common law as worthy of study, and included coursework in law only in the context of canon and civil law and for the purpose of the study of philosophy or history only. The apprenticeship program for solicitors thus emerged, structured and governed by the same rules as the apprenticeship programs for the trades. The training of solicitors by apprenticeship was formally established by an act of parliament in 1729. William Blackstone became the first lecturer in English common law at the University of Oxfordmarker in 1753, but the university did not establish the program for the purpose of professional study, and the lectures were very philosophical and theoretical in nature. Blackstone insisted that the study of law should be university based, where concentration on foundational principles can be had, instead of concentration on detail and procedure had through apprenticeship and the Inns of Court.

The Inns of Court continued but became less effective and admission to the bar still did not require any significant educational activity or examination, therefore in 1846 Parliament examined the education and training of prospective barristers and found the system to be inferior to the legal education provided in Europe and the United States. Therefore, formal schools of law were called for, but not finally established until later in the century, and even then the bar did not consider a university degree in admission decisions.

Legal training in colonial North America and 19th century U.S.

Initially there was much resistance to lawyers in colonial North America because of the role they had played in hierarchical England, but slowly the colonial governments started using the services of professionals trained in the Inns of Court in London, and by the end of the American Revolution there was a functional bar in each state. Due to an initial distrust of a profession open only to the elite in England, as institutions for training developed in what would become the United States they emerged as quite different than those in England.

Initially in the United States the legal professionals were trained and imported from England. A formal apprenticeship or clerkship program was established first in New York in 1730—at that time a seven-year clerkship was required, and in 1756 a four-year college degree was required in addition to five years of clerking and an examination. Later the requirements were reduced to require only two years of college education. But a system like the Inns did not develop, and a college education was not required in England until the 19th century, so this system was unique.

The clerkship program required much individual study and the mentoring lawyer was expected to carefully select materials for study and guide the clerk in his study of the law and ensure that it was being absorbed. The student was supposed to compile his notes of his reading of the law into a "commonplace book", which he would try to memorize. Although those were the ideals, in reality the clerks were often overworked and rarely were able to study the law individually as expected. They were often employed to tedious tasks, such as making handwritten copies of documents. Finding sufficient legal texts was also a seriously debilitating issue, and there was no standardization in the books assigned to the clerk trainees because they were assigned by their mentor, whose opinion of the law may have differed greatly from his peers. It was said by one famous attorney in the U.S., William Livingston, in 1745 in a New York newspaper that the clerkship program was severely flawed, and that most mentors "have no manner of concern for their clerk's future welfare… [T]is a monstrous absurdity to suppose, that the law is to be learnt by a perpetual copying of precedents." There were some few mentors that were dedicated to the service, and because of their rarity, they became so sought after that the first law schools evolved from the offices of some of these attorneys who took on many clerks and began to spend more time training than practicing law.

In time, the apprenticeship program was not considered sufficient to produce lawyers fully capable of serving their clients needs. The apprenticeship programs often employed the trainee with menial tasks, and while they were well trained in the day to day operations of a law office, they were generally unprepared practitioners or legal reasoners. The establishment of formal faculties of law in U.S. universities did not occur until the latter part of the 18th century. With the beginning of the American Revolution, the supply of lawyers from Britain ended. The first law degree granted by a U.S. university was a Bachelor of Law in 1793 by the College of William and Marymarker, which was abbreviated L.B.; Harvard was the first university to use the LL.B. abbreviation in the United States.

The first university law programs in the United States, such as that of the University of Maryland established in 1812, included much theoretical and philosophical study, including works such as the Bible, Cicero, Seneca, Aristotle, Adam Smith, Montesquieu and Grotius. It has been said that the early university law schools of the early 19th century seemed to be preparing students for careers as statesmen rather than as lawyers. At the LL.B. programs in the early 1900s at Stanford Universitymarker and Yalemarker continued to include "cultural study," which included courses in languages, mathematics and economics.

In the 1850s there were many proprietary schools which originated from a practitioner taking on multiple apprentices and establishing a school and which provided a practical legal education, as opposed to the one offered in the universities which offered an education in the theory, history and philosophy of law. The universities assumed that the acquisition of skills would happen in practice, while the proprietary schools concentrated on the practical skills during education.

Revolutionary approach: Scientific study of law

In part to compete with the small professional law schools, there began a great change in U.S. university legal education. For a short time beginning in 1826 Yalemarker began to offer a complete "practitioners' course" which lasted two years and included practical courses, such as pleading drafting. U.S. Supreme Court justice Joseph Story started the spirit of change in legal education at Harvard when he advocated a more "scientific study" of the law in the 19th century. At the time he was a lecturer at Harvard. Therefore at Harvardmarker the education was much of a trade school type of approach to legal education, contrary to the more liberal arts education advocated by Blackstone at Oxford and Jefferson at William and Mary. Nonetheless there continued to be debate among educators over whether legal education should be more vocational, as at the private law schools, or through a rigorous scientific method, such as that developed by Story and Langdell. In the words of Dorsey Ellis, "Langdell viewed law as a science and the law library as the laboratory, with the cases providing the basis for learning those 'principles or doctrines' of which 'law, considered as a science, consists.'" Nonetheless, into the year 1900 most states did not require a university education (although an apprenticeship was often required) and most practitioners had not attended any law school or college.

Therefore, the modern legal education system in the U.S. is a combination of teaching law as a science and a practical skill, implementing elements such as clinical training, which has become an essential part of legal education in the U.S. and in the J.D. program of study. Whereas in the 18th and 19th century, few U.S. lawyers trained in an apprenticeship "achieved a level of competence necessary to adequately serve their clients," today as a result of the development of the U.S. legal education system, "law graduates perceive themselves to be prepared upon graduation" for the practice of law.

Creation of the J.D. and major common law approaches to legal education

The J.D. originated in the United States during a movement to improve training of the professions. The didactic approaches which resulted were revolutionary for university education and have slowly been implemented outside the U.S., but only recently (since about 1997) and in stages. The degrees which resulted from this new approach, such as the M.D. and the J.D., are just as different from their European counterparts as the educational approaches differ.

Legal education in the United States

Professional doctorates were developed in the United States in the 19th century, the first being the M.D. in 1807, but the professional law degree took more time. At the time the legal system in the United States was still in development as the educational institutions were developing. The status of the legal profession was at that time still ambiguous (unlike that of the medical practitioners, whose place in society has always been well established), therefore the development of the legal degree took much time. Even when some universities offered training in law, they did not offer a degree. Because in the United States there were no Inns of Court, and the English academic degrees did not provide the necessary professional training, the models from England were inapplicable, and the degree program took some time to develop. At first the degree took the form of a B.L. (such as at the College of William and Mary), but then Harvard, keen on importing legitimacy through the trappings of Oxford and Cambridge, implemented an LL.B. degree. This was somewhat controversial at the time because it was a professional training without any of the cultural or classical studies required of a bachelors degree in England. Thus, even though the name of the English LL.B. degree was implemented at Harvard, the program in the U.S. was nonetheless intended as practical or professional training, and not, as in England, merely a bachelor of arts denoting a specialization in law.

Creation of the Juris Doctor

In the mid-19th century there was much concern about the quality of legal education in the United States. Christopher Columbus Langdell, who served as dean of Harvard Law Schoolmarker from 1870 to 1895, dedicated his life to reforming legal education in the United States. The historian Robert Stevens wrote that "it was Langdell's goal to turn the legal profession into a university educated one — and not at the undergraduate level, but through a three-year post baccalaureate degree." This graduate level study would allow the intensive legal training that Langdell had developed, known as the case method (a method of studying landmark cases) and the socratic method (a method of examining students on the reasoning of the court in the cases studied). Therefore, a graduate high level law degree was established, the Juris Doctor, implementing the case and socratic methods as its didactic approach. The J.D. was established as the equivalent of the J.U.D. in Germany to reflect the advanced study required to be an effective lawyer. It was not a conversion of the LL.B. degree, but a graduate degree to be distinguished from undergraduate programs. Harvard was first to offer the new doctorate. The University of Chicago Law School was the first to offer it exclusively (i.e., the first to not offer both the J.D. and the LL.B.). While approval was still pending at Harvard, the degree was introduced at many other law schools in the United States.

Because of tradition, and concerns about less famous universities implementing a J.D. program, there was some reluctance by some institutions, such as Yale Law School, to implement the J.D. as the only law degree. By the 1960s every law school except Yale offered a J.D. as its sole professional law degree. Yale continued to confer the LL.B. as its professional degree in law until 1971. Nonetheless, the LL.B. at Yale retained the didactical changes of the "practitioners courses" of 1826 and was very different from the LL.B. in common law countries other than Canada.

James Parker Hall, one of the first deans of the University of Chicago School of Law and a major proponent of the J.D.

Major common law approaches and the LL.B.

The English legal system is the root of the systems of other common-law countries, such as the United States. Originally common lawyers in England were trained exclusively in the Inns of Court, but even though it took nearly 150 years since common law education began with Blackstone at Oxford for university education to be part of legal training in England and Wales, eventually the LL.B. became the degree usually taken before becoming a lawyer. Nonetheless, in England and Wales the LL.B. is an undergraduate scholarly program and does not provide all of the training required before becoming licensed in that jurisdiction. Both barristers and solicitors must undertake two further periods of training (the Bar Vocational Course and pupillage for barristers and the LPC and a training contract for solicitors).

The bachelor's degree originated at the University of Paris, which system was implemented at Oxford and Cambridge. The "arts" designation of the degree traditionally signifies that the student has undertaken a certain amount of study of the classics. On continental Europe the bachelor's degree was phased out in the 18th or early 19th century but it continued at Oxford and Cambridge. Today Oxford offers the bachelor's degree in law (B.C.L.) as a second entry program, contrary to the practice of all other English universities. Cambridge followed the same practice until relatively recently, renaming its LL.B. degree as LL.M. in 1982.

Because the English legal education is undergraduate and provides a general education (retaining some of the characteristics of the liberal arts degree advocated by Blackstone) a great number of the graduates have no intention of becoming solicitors or barristers. The approach of the English degree can be seen in the required curriculum, in which there is no study of civil procedure, and relatively few courses in advanced law such as business entities, bankruptcy, evidence, family law, etc. There has been a trend in the past twenty years in England to introduce more professionally relevant courses in the curriculum, particularly in "qualifying law degrees," and the law school has taken a more central role in the preparation of lawyers in England, but the degree is still more scholarly or academic than those in North America. This is also the case for other commonwealth jurisdictions such as in Australia, India and Hong Kong.

Legal education in Canada has unique variations from other commonwealth countries. Even though the legal system of Canada is mostly a transplant of the English system (Quebec excepted), the Canadian system is unique in that there are no Inns of Court, the practical training occurs in the office of a licensed attorney, and, since 1889, a university degree has been a prerequisite to initiating a clerkship (which requirement was not implemented until much later in England). The education in law schools in Canada was similar to that in the United States at the turn of the 20th century, but with a greater concentration on statutory drafting and interpretation, and elements of a liberal education. The bar associations in Canada were influenced by the changes at Harvard, and were sometimes quicker to nationally implement the changes proposed in the United States, such as requiring previous college education before studying law.

Modern variants and curriculum

Legal education is rooted in the history and structure of the legal system of the jurisdiction where the education is given, therefore law degrees are vastly different from country to country, making comparisons among degrees problematic. This has proven true in the context of the various forms of the J.D. which have been implemented around the world.

Until about 1997 the J.D. was unique to law schools in the U.S. But with the rise in international success of law firms from the United States, and the rise in students from outside the U.S. attending U.S. law schools, attorneys with the J.D. have become increasingly common internationally. Therefore the prestige of the J.D. has also risen, and many universities outside of the U.S. have started to offer the J.D., often for the express purpose of raising the prestige of their law school and graduates. Such institutions usually aim to appropriate the name of the degree only, and sometimes the new J.D. program of study is the same as that of their traditional law degree, which is usually more scholarly in purpose than the professional training intended with the J.D. as created in the U.S. Various characteristics can therefore be seen among J.D. degrees as implemented in universities around the world.

Comparisons of J.D. Variants
Jurisdiction Scholarly Content Required? Duration in Years Different curriculum from LL.B. in Jurisdiction? Sufficient Education for License?
Standard J.D. Program No 3 Yes Yes
Australia only 1 legal theory course 3 No (1 less year only) No
Canada Yes (including research paper) 3 No No
Hong Kong Yes (including research paper or dissertation) 2-3 No (additional research or dissertation only) No
Japan No 3 N/A No
Philippines Yes (including major thesis) 4 No (additional thesis and apprenticeship only) Yes

Types and characteristics

Until very recently, only law schools in the United States offered the Juris Doctor. Starting about 1997, universities in other countries began introducing the J.D. as a first professional degree in law, with differences appropriate to the legal systems of the countries in which these law schools are situated.

Standard Juris Doctor curriculum

As stated by James Hall and Christopher Langdell, two people who were involved in the creation of the J.D., the J.D. is a professional degree like the M.D., intended to prepare practitioners through a scientific approach of analysing and teaching the law through logic and adversarial analysis (such as the Casebook and Socratic methods). It has existed as described in the United States for over 100 years, and can therefore be termed the standard or traditional J.D. program. The J.D. program requires a bachelors degree for entry. The program of study for the degree has remained substantially unchanged since its creation, and is an intensive study of the substantive law and its professional applications (and therefore requires no thesis, although a lengthy writing project is sometimes required). As a professional training, it provides sufficient training for entry into practice (no apprenticeship is necessary to sit for the bar exam). It requires at least three academic years of full time study. Strictly defined, the United States is the only jurisdiction with this form of a J.D., but the University of Tokyo (in Japan) and the University of Melbourne (in Australia) are attempting to follow this model closely.

For graduates of other departments

There has been an increase in the popularity of entering the professions, and to meet this demand some schools offer a program for students who have already graduated from another department to return to school to earn a law degree. Many of the participants in this kind of program already have some work experience. The best example of this form are the J.D. programs in Hong Kong and some in Australia. Those programs are more or less identical to the LL.B. programs, except they are usually more intensive and thus take less time to complete. Because such programs are essentially an LL.B. program, this kind of program is academic in nature, shorter than other J.D. programs, and more training is required before a graduate is qualified to apply to the bar for admission (such as Professional Legal Training and an apprenticeship).

Replacement for the LL.B.

Some Canadian and Australian universities have law programs that are very similar to the J.D. programs in the United States. These include the Osgoode Hall Law School and University of Toronto Law School (in Canada) in Canada, and the University of Melbourne in Australia . Therefore, when the J.D. program was introduced at these institutions, it was a mere re-naming of their second-entry LL.B. program and entailed no significant substantive changes to their curricula. The reason given for so doing is because of the international popularity and recognizability of the J.D., and the need to recognize the demanding graduate characteristics of the program. Because these programs are in institutions heavily influenced by those in the U.K., the J.D. programs often have some small scholarly element (see chart above, entitled "Comparisons of J.D. Variants"). And because the legal systems are also influenced by that of the U.K., an apprenticeship is still required before being qualified to apply for a license to practice (see country sections below, under "Descriptions of the J.D. outside the U.S.").

Descriptions of the J.D. outside the U.S.


As in all other commonwealth countries, the standard law degree in Australia is the LL.B. Although the J.D. is "growing in popularity," only 10 of the 30 law schools offer the J.D., and the J.D. has replaced the LL.B. in only one of them. The main purpose of the J.D. in Australia is to give the opportunity for non-law graduates to study law, therefore it is supplementary to, and not a substitute for, the LL.B. The LL.B programs are usually combined with an arts degree (BA/LL.B) and can be completed in five years, or are offered as second entry programs. The LL.B. curriculum is less scholarly than that in the U.K., usually only requiring one jurisprudice or theory course. Many universities such as Australian National Universitymarker, Bond Universitymarker, University of Southern Queensland, University of New England, University of Melbournemarker, Monash University, Murdoch University, University of Technology Sydney, University of New South Walesmarker and the University of Notre Dame Australia now offer the J.D., usually for graduates from non-law programs who wish to study law. But at the University of Melbourne the J.D. degree, like at the University of Toronto, has completely replaced the LL.B. as the degree of law. A first degree is required for admittance to all J.D. programs in Australia. The program lasts two or three years fulltime and the courses, like the LL.B. program, are professionally oriented. But for both the J.D. and LL.B. programs, a graduate cannot be licensed to practice until after completing an articled clerkship program or practical legal training course. University of Technology Sydney offers Practical Legal Training as part of their J.D. program enabling direct admission upon graduation. Bond University offers a J.D. program that has core requirements that are identical to the LL.B. However, Bond University J.D. students are also required to complete five masters level elective subjects. The Bond University J.D. program can therefore be described as an integrated bachelors and masters degree Even more unusual is the "LL.M. (J.D.)" at Monash University, which is the same as the Bond University program, and that institution also states that their degree is not a professional doctorate. The LL.M offered at Monash university is also offered at several other Australian universities including the University of Adelaide and the University of Western Australia. A Masters Degree is a lesser degree to the PhD program which is available across Australia. Completion of the PhD program enables the candidate to refer to themselves as "Doctor".


Several law schools in Canada award their graduates the designation Juris Doctor . In order to be admitted to a Juris Doctor program, applicants must have completed a minimum 3-year Bachelor's study. All Canadian Juris Doctor programs consist of three years, and have similar content in their mandatory first year courses. As with U.S. J.D. programs, such as that of the New York University Law School, the mandatory first year courses in Canadian law schools outside Quebec include "public" "constitutional" or "state" law, tort law, contract law, criminal law,and some sort of "professional practice" course . Beyond first year and the minimum requirements for graduation, course selection is elective with various concentrations such as business law, international law, natural resources law, criminal law, Aboriginal law, etc. After graduation from an accredited law school, each Province's law society requires completion of a bar examination, and a period of supervised "articling" prior to independent practice..

Use of the "J.D." designation by Canadian law schools is not intended to indicate an emphasis on American law, but rather to distinguish Canadian law degrees from English law degrees, which do not require prior undergraduate study.. The Canadian J.D. is a degree in Canadian Law. Accordingly, United States jurisdictions other than New York and Massachusetts, do not recognize Canadian Juris Doctor degrees automatically . This is equivalent to the manner in which United States J.D. graduates are treated in Canadian jurisdictions such as Ontario . To prepare graduates to practice in jurisdictions on both sides of the border, some pairs of law schools, such as the New York University (NYU) Law School and Osgoode Hall Law School, , the University of Ottawa Law School and the Michigan State University Law School, and the University of Windsor Law School and the University of Detroit Mercy Law School, have developed joint American-Canadian J.D programs.

Hong Kong

The primary law degree in Hong Kong is the LL.B., which is more or less identical to the LL.B. in England. The J.D. degree was first offered at the City University of Hong Kongmarker, and is now also offered at the Chinese University of Hong Kongmarker, and the University of Hong Kongmarker (since September 2009). The degree is known as the 法律博士 in Chinese, or Faat Leot Bok Si in Cantonese. The J.D. in Hong Kong is almost identical to the LL.B. and is reserved for graduates of non-law disciplines. However, since 2009, the J.D. at the City University of Hong Kongmarker has had a comparatively stricter grading policy from the normal LL.B.

As in most jurisdictions where an LL.B is the primary law degree, there is still much confusion over status of the J.D. in Hong Kong. It is generally regarded as a professional postgraduate degree and, as the City University website states, the J.D. is not an equivalent to a PhD. After either the LL.B. or the J.D. is completed, in order to practice, graduates of both are required to undertake the PCLL course and a solicitor traineeship or a barrister pupillage.


In Japanmarker the J.D. is known as Homu Hakushi (法務博士) and has replaced the bachelor of law as the first entry law degree. The program generally lasts three years. This curriculum is professionally oriented, but does not provide the education sufficient for a license, as all candidates for a license must attend the Legal Training and Research Institute.


In the Philippinesmarker, the J.D. degree is similar to the J.D. in Canada. As a degree program, it exists alongside the more common LL.B. Like the standard LL.B, it requires four years of study, is considered as a graduate degree and requires prior undergraduate study as a prerequisite for admission, and. covers the core subjects required for the bar examinations. However, the J.D. requires students to finish the core bar subjects in just 2 1/2 years; take elective courses (such as legal theory, philosophy, and sometimes even theology); undergo an apprenticeship; and write and defend a thesis. Notwithstanding these differences, both the J.D. and the LL.B. are considered the equivalent of a master's degree by the Philippines' Commission on Higher Education.

The degree was first conferred in the Philippines by the Ateneo de Manila Law School, which first developed the model program later adopted by most schools now offering the J.D.. After the Ateneo, schools such as the University of Batangas College of Law began offering the J.D., with schools such as the Far Eastern University Institute of Law offering a joint degree program leading to a J.D. and an MBA. In 2008, the University of the Philippines College of Law began conferring the J.D. on its graduates, the school choosing rename its LL.B. program into a J.D. because to accurately reflect the nature of education the university provides as "nomenclature does not accurately reflect the fact that the LL.B. is a professional as well as a post baccalaureate degree." In 2009, the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila (PLM) and Silliman Universitymarker also shifted their respective LL.B Programs to Juris Doctor -applying the change to incoming freshmen students for School Year 2009-2010.. The newly established De La Salle University College of Law will likewise offer the J.D., although it will offer the program using a trimestral calendar, unlike the model curriculum that uses a semestral calendar.


Officially there is no such thing as a J.D. in the People's Republic of China (P.R.C.), as the government does not authorize professional doctorates. The primary law degree in the P.R.C. is the bachelor of law. Starting in the fall of 2008 the Shenzhen campus of Peking University started the School of Transnational Law, which attempts to introduce a U.S.-styled graduate education in law. The program misleadingly advertises in English that it confers a J.D. degree, but in Chinese the official degree awarded is a master's degree of international law (国际法律硕士). The curriculum of the program appears to be nearly identical to that of a J.D. program at a U.S. university and requires three years of study.

At this time the Juris Doctor does not exist in India, and no official entity in India authorizes the award of a Juris Doctorate degree. A new venture Jindal Global Law School sought to start an academic program with a recognized Juris Doctor degree, however that plan was withdrawn, and the school now only offers the more traditional LL.B. and LL.M. degrees.

No university in Italy awards a Juris Doctor degree, nor are there any plans to implement the degree. However, because the law degree in Italy is more advanced than a standard undergraduate program, and lawyers in Italy often use the title of "doctor" (Italian law authorizes all university graduates, including undergraduates, to use the title of doctor) lawyers in Italy believe that the best translation of their degree is "J.D." which commonly appears on their resumes and profiles.

Honorifics and designations

Persons licensed as attorneys in the United States often use a variety of titles and suffixes, however, the titles "Attorney," "attorney-at-law," "Esquire" ("Esq.") and "lawyer" must be distinguished from "J.D.". Generally, the designation "J.D." indicates a person who has received the J.D. degree from a law school, whereas "Attorney" and the like indicate the person is licensed to practice law. Some states restrict the use of the "J.D." suffix to those licensed to practice law. Arizona, for instance, disallows the use of "J.D." as a title if it is "reasonably likely to induce others to believe the person or entity is authorized to engage in the practice of law in Arizonamarker". (In all states, a person who is not admitted to practice law but who represents or implies that he or she is an attorney may be subject to penalties for the unauthorized practice of law or impersonating a lawyer, both of which are criminal offenses in many jurisdictions.)

There has been some debate in the United States as to whether J.D. recipients may use the title of Doctor and refer to themselves as "Doctor" (see debate section). ABA Informal Opinion 1152 (1970) and Disciplinary Rule 2-102(E) permit those who hold a Juris Doctor (J.D.) to use the title. Some local bar associations in the U.S. have released opinion papers stating that J.D. holders may use the title of "doctor" in those jurisdictions. The J.D. is not considered by some to be a terminal degree, leading to questions about the status of the J.D. as a doctorate and the eligibility of J.D. holders to use the "doctor" title. (See debate section below). However, the degree is the highest level professional law degree in the United States, and is treated as a terminal degree in U.S. academic practice. For example, the highest degree of some university presidents—a position that typically requires a Ph.D. or comparable (i.e. terminal) degree—is a J.D. (e.g., former Harvard president Derek Bok, and the presidents of Columbia and Johns Hopkins universities).

The J.D. is a professional doctorate degree, and some J.D. holders in the United States use the title of "Doctor" in professional and academic situations. In countries where holders of the first law degree traditionally use the title of doctor (e.g. Peru, Brazil, Macau, Portugal, Argentina, and Italy), J.D. holders who are attorneys will often use the title of doctor as well. The J.D. in Japanmarker is known as Hōmu Hakushi (法務博士) and in China it is called 法律博士 (Faat Leot Bok Si in Cantonese, or Falü Boshi in Mandarin). The characters 博士 in Japanese and Chinese mean "doctor" and this is the same title given to holders of both professional and academic doctorate degrees.

Executive Juris Doctor

The Executive Juris Doctor is awarded by two online universities in the United States.. Concord Law Schoolmarker claims trademark rights to the EJD acronym, the only degree that has had a trademark claimConcord Law School. EJDsm. Accessed June 12, 2008. (the purpose of a trademark is to reserve exclusive use). The program is offered by the online universities of Concord Law Schoolmarker of Kaplan Universitymarker and Taft Law School of The Taft University System. Both institutions are accredited by the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC), but not the American Bar Association. Holders of the EJD are not able to sit for a bar exam in any jurisdiction without an additional qualifying law degree.Concord Law School. EJDsm. Accessed June 12, 2008. The website states that students "are not required to adhere to the strict guidelines of the State Bar of California" because of this fact. The program requires three years of study and 72 semester units. The program was created to meet the needs of professionals who have no intention of practicing law, but who seek a law degree to supplement their own specialization.

Debate about academic status

The J.D. is a first professional degree and a professional doctorate. However, the J.D.'s status as a professional degree does not imply status as a research degree. As a result, there has been debate as to whether or not the J.D. is a doctoral level degree as the classification is applied to research degrees, such as the Ph.D.

Evidence that the Juris Doctor is a doctoral level degree

  • Academic and professional organizations recognize the J.D. as a professional doctorate.
  • The American Bar Association permits J.D. holders in the United States to use the title of "Doctor," and some local bar associations in the United States have also issued concurring opinion statements.
  • In the United States, J.D. holders are treated similar to holders of research doctorate degrees by academic policies. For example, J.D. holders are issued doctorate robes, and the highest degree of some university presidents—a position for which universities commonly require a Ph.D. or comparable (i.e. terminal) degree—is a J.D. (e.g. University of California president Mark Yudof, former Harvard president Derek Bok, and the presidents of Columbia and Johns Hopkins universities).

Evidence that the Juris Doctor is not a doctoral level degree

  • In reference to professional doctorates, including the Juris Doctor, the United States Department of Education states, "Several of these degrees use the term “doctor” in the title, but these degrees do not contain an independent research component or require a dissertation (thesis) and should not be confused with PhD degrees or other research doctorates."
  • The academic degree Master of Laws (LL.M.) requires the professional Juris Doctor as a prerequisite, and the academic Scientiae Juridicae Doctor (S.J.D.) requires a Juris Doctor. and sometimes also requires an LL.M. (In this respect, a professional doctorate in law resembles professional doctorates in dentistry and medicine (D.D.S. or D.M.D or M.D.), which function as prerequisites required for admission into academic Master's programs.)
  • An Australian academic institution has stated that, despite its name, recipients of the Juris Doctor are not entitled to use the honorific title "Doctor" at that institution. The minutes of a 2004 Deans Council Meeting at Austin Peay State Universitymarker, which does not have a law school, appear to indicate that at least some attendees did not regard the Juris Doctor as a terminal degree.
  • The U.S. government sets the starting pay grade for "Master's or equivalent graduate degree(s) (such as LL.B., J.D., or M.D.)" at GS-9, but the pay grade for "Ph.D. or equivalent doctoral degree(s)" at GS-11. The European Research Council states that, "First-professional degrees will not be considered...PhD-equivalent, even if recipients carry the title 'Doctor'."

See also

Notes and references

  1. Under "Data notes" this article mentions that the J.D. is a professional doctorate.
  2. . Under "other references" differences between academic and professional doctorates, and contains a statement that the J.D. is a professional doctorate
  3. Report by the German Federal Ministry of Education analysing the Chronicle of Higher Education from the U.S. and stating that the J.D. is a professional doctorate.
  4. (the degrees offered by law schools are listed in this volume as doctorates and not first professional degrees)
  5. Herbermann, et al. (1915). Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Encyclopedia Press. Accessed May 26, 2008.
  6. García y García, A. (1992). "The Faculties of Law," A History of the University in Europe, London: Cambridge University Press. Accessed May 26, 2008.
  7. García y García (1992), 390.
  8. Stein (1981), 434, 435.
  9. Stein (1981), 434, 436.
  10. Stein, R. (1981). The Path of Legal Education from Edward to Langdell: A History of Insular Reaction, Pace University School of Law Faculty Publications, 1981, 57 Chi.-Kent L. Rev. 429, p. 430.
  11. Stein (1981), 431.
  12. Stein (1981), 432.
  13. Stein (1981), 433.
  14. Stein (1981), 434.
  15. Stein (1981), 435.
  16. Moline, Brian J., Early American Legal Education, 42 Washburn Law Journal 775, 793 (2003).
  17. Stein (1981), 436.
  18. Moline (2003), 775.
  19. Stein (1981), 429.
  20. Stein (1981), 438.
  21. Stein (1981), 439.
  22. Moline (2003), 781.
  23. Moline (2003), 782.
  24. Moline (2003), 782 and 783.
  25. Sonsteng, J. (2007). "[ A Legal Education Renaissance: A Practical Approach for the Twenty-First Century]" . William Mitchell Law Review, Vol. 34, No. 1, Revised April 2, 2008. Accessed May 26, 2008. page 13.
  26. Stein (1981).
  27. Stein (1981), 442.
  28. Kirkwood, M. and Owens, W. A Brief History of the Stanford Law School, 1893-1946, Stanford University School of Law. Accessed May 26, 2008.
  29. Moline (2003), 794.
  30. Moline (2003), 795.
  31. Kirkwood, 19.
  32. Sonsteng (2007), 15.
  33. Moline (2003), 798.
  34. Moline (2003), 800.
  35. Moline (2003), 801.
  36. Stein (1981), 445.
  37. For detailed discussions of the development of Langdell's method, see LaPiana, W. (1994). Logic and Experience: The Origin of Modern American Legal Education, New York: Oxford University Press; and Stein, R. (1981). The Path of Legal Education from Edward to Langdell: A History of Insular Reaction, Pace University School of Law Faculty Publications, 1981, 57 Chi.-Kent L. Rev. 429, pages 449-450.
  38. Ellis, D. (2001). Legal Education: A Perspective on the Last 130 Years of American Legal Training, 6 Wash. U.J.L. & Pol'y 157, p. 166.
  39. Moline (2003), 802.
  40. Sonsteng (2007), 19.
  41. Reed (1921) and Stein (1981).
  42. Reed (1921), 162.
  43. Reed (1921), 165.
  44. Reed (1921), 164.
  45. Reed (1921), 167.
  46. Reed (1921), 161; and Reed, A. (1928). Present-Day Law Schools in the United States and Canada, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, Bulletin 21, Boston: Merrymount Press, page 78
  47. Reed (1928), 74; and Reed (1921), 169.
  48. Stevens, R. (1971). "Two Cheers For 1870: The American Law School," in Law in American History, eds. Donald Fleming and Bernard Bailyn. Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1971, p.427.
  49. Harno, A. (2004) Legal Education in the United States, New Jersey: Lawbook Exchange, page 50.
  50. Herbermann, 112-117.
  51. Schoenfeld, M. (1963). "J.D. or LL.B as the Basic Law Degree," Cleveland-Marshall Law Review, Vol. 4, pp. 573-579, quoted in Joanna Lombard, LL.B. to J.D. and the Professional Degree in Architecture , Proceedings of the 85th ACSA Annual Meeting, Architecture: Material and Imagined and Technology Conference, 1997. pp. 585-591.
  52. Schoenfeld (1963).
  53. John H. Langbein, "Scholarly and Professional Objectives in Legal Education: American Trends and English Comparisons," Pressing Problems in the Law, Volume 2: What are Law Schools For?, Oxford University Press, 1996.
  54. Reed, (1921), 160
  55. Reed (1921), 161
  56. The History of the LL.M.
  57. Langbein, J. (1996). "Scholarly and Professional Objectives in Legal Education: American Trends and English Comparisons," Pressing Problems in the Law, Volume 2: What are Law Schools For?, Oxford University Press.
  58. Langbein (1996).
  59. Reed (1921), 27.
  60. Reed (1928), 390.
  61. See, Langbein (1996).
  62. University of British Columbia Board of Governors approves request for LL.B to be renamed J.D. [1].
  63. Verification of the data in this table can be found in the subsequent paragraphs of this section.
  64. Hall, J. (1907). American Law School Degrees, Michigan Law Review, Vol. 6, No. 2, pp. 112-117.
  65. For example, see J.D. Substantial Writing Requirement, NYU School of Law. Accessed July 23, 2009.
  66. Belford, T. (2009). " Why Change to a J.D. Degree?
  67. University of Toronto J.D. admissions FAQ [2].
  68. Belford, T. (2009). " Why Change to a J.D. Degree? Globe Campus. Accessed August 24, 2009.
  69. idem
  70. Susannah Moran (17 August 2007). Juris doctor degree grows in popularity. The Australian. Retrieved 2008-09-19.
  71. University of Queensland. University of Queensland School of Law LL.B. Program Outline. Accessed March 23, 2007.
  72. Description of Australian Law School Programs. Accessed March 23, 2007.
  73. Bond University. Juris Doctor. Accessed April 7, 2008. Also stated by RMIT at Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. Juris Doctor. Accessed April 7, 2008.
  74. Monash University. Master of Laws (Juris Doctor). Accessed April 7, 2008.
  75. Osgoode Law School "Dean Patrick Monahan on the Growing Number of Canadian Law Schools Switching from the LLB to JD Degree Designation" [3]
  79. Canadian law school concentrations, certificates and joint-degree programs [4].
  80. Law Law Society of Upper Canada PRP[5].
  85. NYU/Osgoode Joint LL.B/J.D. [6].
  86. Michigan State University School of Law and the University of Ottawa Joint J.D. - LL.B. Degree Program
  87. University of Windsor / University of Detroit. J.D./LL.B. ProgramAccessed June 1, 2008.
  88. The University of Hong Kong. Juris Doctor (JD) Overview. Accessed December 15, 2008.
  89. The Chinese University of Hong Kong School of Law. The Juris Doctor (JD) Programme. Accessed June 29, 2008. City University of Hong Kong. Programmes and Courses: Juris Doctor. Accessed June 29, 2008.
  90. City University of Hong Kong. Programmes and Courses. Accessed April 7, 2008.
  91. Hong Kong Bar Association. General Admission. Accessed June 1, 2008.
  92. The Justice System Reform Council (2001). For a Justice System to Support Japan in the 21st Century.
  93. Yokohama National University Law School. Program Introduction and Dean's Message. Accessed April 7, 2008.
  94. Foote, D. (2005). Justice System Reform in Japan. Annual meeting of the Research Committee of Sociology of Law, Paris. European Network on Law and Society.
  95. Ateneo de Manila Law School. Philippine Leadership Crisis and the J.D. Program. Accessed April 7, 2008.
  96. Clarificatory Guidelines Relative to the Offering of the Bachelor of Laws (LL.B) Program and Juris Doctor (JD) Degree Program
  97. Curriculum models (2006). Philippine Association of Law Schools.
  98. University of Philippines College of Law. News. April 25, 2008.
  99. The Weekly Sillimanian Vol. LXXXII No.4: SU Law adopts Juris Doctor Program. By: Princess Dianne Kris S. Decierdo. Published July 15, 2009. Archived copies can be viewed and verified at the Sillimaniana Section of the Silliman University Main Library.
  100. PLM Curricula and Degree Programs
  101. De La Salle University College of Law Brochure (last accessed July 2009).
  102. P.R.C. National People's Congress. Regulations of the People's Republic of China on Academic Degrees(2004). Accessed September 12, 2008.
  103. Peking University Shenzhen, School of Transnational Law. 学院概况 [7]. Accessed June 6, 2008. Peking University Shenzhen Graduate School. 国际法学院国际法律硕士接受调剂生通知 [8]. Accessed June 6, 2008.
  104. Peking University Shenzhen, School of Transnational Law. J.D. Program First-Year Curriculum, 2008-2009. Accessed June 6, 2008.
  105. About O.P. Jindal Global University. O.P. Jindal Global University. Accessed February 16, 2009.
  106. i.e. the Laurea Specialisticà in Giurisprudenza
  107. Studio Misuraca, Franceschin and Associates. Accessed February 16, 2009.
  108. Regio Decreto 4 giugno 1938, n.1269, art. 48 (in Italian). Accessed February 16, 2009.
  109. E.g. search for lawyers in Italy on Martindale and view the individual profiles.
  110. Ariz. Sup. Ct. R. 31 (a)(2)(B)(2). Accessed June 10, 2008.
  111. See, e.g., Texas Penal Code section 38.122 (falsely holding oneself out as a lawyer, third degree felony, two to ten years in prison per Tex. Penal Code sec. 12.34) and section 38.123 (unauthorized practice of law, generally, Class A misdemeanor).
  112. American Bar Association. Model Code of Professional Responsibility, Disciplinary Rule 2-102(E). Cornell University Law School, LLI. Accessed February 10, 2009. Peter H. Geraghty. Are There Any Doctors Or Associates In the House?. American Bar Association, 2007.
  113. For example, See North Carolina State Bar. Use of the Title "Doctor" in Academia, 2007 Formal Ethics Opinion 5. North Carolina State Bar, April 20, 2007. Texas State Bar Association. Texas Committee on Professional Ethics, Op. 550. Texas Center for Legal Ethics and Professionalism, May 2004. Florida Bar Association. Opinion 88-2. The Florida Bar, January 15, 1988. New Jersey Advisory Committee on Professional Ethics. Opinion 461. New Jersey Bar Association. South Carolina Bar Association. Ethics Advisory Opinion 76-02. South Carolina Bar Association, 1976. Michigan Bar Association. Opinion 1176. Michigan Bar Association, 1976.
  114. See University of Utah Academic Senate, Senate Summary, 11/3/03, vol. 34 n. 3, pg. 2 (3rd full paragraph). Ohio University Presidential Position Description. Ohio University. Accessed February 20, 2009.
  115. See American Bar Association. Council Statement 2. American Bar Association.
  116. Association of American Universities Data Exchange; National Science Foundation (2006); San Diego County Bar Association (1969); University of Utah (2006); German Federal Ministry of Education; Encyclopedia Britannica (2002).
  117. E.g. University of Montana School of Business Administration. Profile of Dr. Michael Harrington. University of Montana, 2006. See also Distance Learning Discussion Forums. New wrinkle in the "Is the JD a doctorate?" debate. Distance Learning Discussion Forums, 2003-2005.
  118. E.g. Peru: Hernandez & Cia. Accessed February 16, 2009; Brazil: Abdo & Diniz. Accessed February 16, 2009 (see Spanish or Portuguese profile pages); Macau: Macau Lawyers Association. Accessed February 16, 2009; Portugal: Alves Periera Teixeira de Sousa. Accessed February 16, 2009; Argentina: Lareo & Paz. Accessed February 16, 2009; and Italy Studio Misuraca, Franceschin and Associates. Accessed February 16, 2009.
  119. E.g. Dr. Ronald Charles Wolf. Accessed February 16, 2009. Florida Bar News. Debate over 'doctor of law' title continues. Florida Bar Association, July 1, 2006.
  120. Google Translate; Longman English-Japanese Dictionary (2007). Pearson Education, Essex U.K.; Pocket Kenkyusha Japanese Dictionary. (2003). Oxford, N.Y.
  121. Google Translate; The Contemporary Chinese Dictionary. (2002). Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press, Beijing.; Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English (Chinese-English). (2006). Pearson Education, Hong Kong, 2006.
  122. See previous two cites, respectively, for Japanese and Chinese usage. Also see The Morrison Foester law firm website, one of the largest law firms in Asia and the United States, for an example of usage.
  123. The Chronicle of Higher Education. (October 30, 2007). Concord Law School Merges with Kaplan U.. Accessed June 12, 2008. Concord Law School. Concord Law School Accreditation. Accessed June 12, 2008.
  124. Qualitex Co. v. Jacobson Products Co., Inc., 514 U.S. 159 (1995)
  125. Association of American Universities Data Exchange. Glossary of Terms for Graduate Education. Accessed May 26, 2008.
  126. National Science Foundation (2006). " Time to Degree of U.S. Research Doctorate Recipients," "InfoBrief, Science Resource Statistics" NSF 06-312, 2006, p. 7. (under "Data notes" mentions that the J.D. is a professional doctorate).
  127. San Diego County Bar Association (1969). "Ethics Opinion 1969-5". Accessed May 26, 2008. (under "other references" discusses differences between academic and professional doctorate, and statement that the J.D. is a professional doctorate)
  128. University of Utah (2006). University of Utah – The Graduate School – Graduate Handbook. Accessed May 28, 2008. (the J.D. degree is listed under doctorate degrees),
  129. German Federal Ministry of Education. "U.S. Higher Education / Evaluation of the Almanac Chronicle of Higher Education". Accessed May 26, 2008. (report by the German Federal Ministry of Education analyzing the Chronicle of Higher Education from the U.S. and stating that the J.D. is a professional doctorate).
  130. Encyclopedia Britannica. (2002). "Encyclopedia Britannica", 3:962:1a. (the J.D. is listed among other doctorate degrees).
  131. American Bar Association. Model Code of Professional Responsibility, Disciplinary Rule 2-102(E). Cornell University Law School, LLI. Accessed February 10, 2009.
  132. Peter H. Geraghty. Are There Any Doctors Or Associates In the House?. American Bar Association, 2007.
  133. See University of Utah Academic Senate, Senate Summary, 11/3/03, vol. 34 n. 3, pg. 2 (3rd full paragraph). Ohio University Presidential Position Description. Ohio University. Accessed February 20, 2009. Presidential Search. Stony Brook University. Accessed February 22, 2009. Presidential Candidate Search. University of South Carolina. Accessed February 22, 2009.
  134. For another example of the J.D. being considered a terminal degree for purposes of an academic appointment, See
  136. Yale Law School, Admission Requirements for J.S.D
  137. Comparing American and British Legal Education Systems: Lessons for Commonwealth African Law Schools, Kenneth K. Mwenda, Cambria Press. [9]
  138. RMIT University, Postgraduate Program in Juris Doctor.[10],
  139. Austin Peay State University, Minutes of Deans Council Meeting, July 28, 2004. [11],
  140. United States Department of Labor
  141. PhD and Equivalent Doctoral Degrees: The ERC Policy

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