Law School Discussion

Juris Doctor Degree

Amy Griffin

Juris Doctor Degree
« on: June 23, 2003, 03:05:09 PM »
I have some questions regarding the JD (Juris Doctor) degree.  Is this a doctoral degree?  Can the prefix "Dr." be used before the name of someone who has the JD degree or is that reserved for Doctor of Jurisdicial Science?


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Re: Juris Doctor Degree
« Reply #1 on: June 23, 2003, 05:16:22 PM »
This is an age old question.  There are probably legal rules that govern this insomuch as you might not be allowed to fraudulently misrepresent your credentials (I'm pretty sure Doc Watson isn't really a doctor, but I don't think anyone has sued him for it).

If there are legal rules, of course, they're not very significant.  The real question is what is the socially or professionally accepted designation.  I've never heard of a JD calling herself "Doctor", and I doubt too many people would take such a person seriously.  In the US at least, lawyers use the Esq. suffix (esquire).  I think that has to do with admission to the bar though - not the holding of the JD.  You can always put JD after your name, but this is less common.

Is it a doctoral degree?  Well is seems to have that root doesn't it?  I don't know what the definition of "doctoral" is.  If it's "of doctor" than I'd say it certainly is.

who knows

Re: Juris Doctor Degree
« Reply #2 on: July 04, 2003, 10:53:02 PM »
The only thing I can think of when answering this question is the difference between PhD and MD in Europe... there is no difference.  There's no "John Doe, MD", you're considered Dr. whether you studied medicine or history and nobody says, "well he's not a REAL doctor because he studied math".  I agree with the earlier post in saying that it's whatever is socially acceptable/expected, and I just wouldn't feel right calling myself a doctor after graduating (although an attorney friend calls himself doctor all the time).  Having Dr. in front of your name may give you an aura of prestige, but you are eventually going to run into people that say "I can't believe he calls himself a doctor... what a big head".  They may be wrong, but who really cares... just graduate, make the big bucks and sue the hell out of those MD's:)


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Re: Juris Doctor Degree
« Reply #3 on: July 08, 2003, 03:47:15 PM »
The simple answer is that a JD is a real doctorate, and holders of the degree can use the title.  It is subject to the same state law guidelines as any academic doctorate.

Why it isn't done is not as simple.  It isn't very common because it's only been about 30-odd years since the degree changed from an LLB (second bachelors) to a JD.  Things moving slowly as they do, it just hasn't really caught on in common usage, guess most lawyers feel esquire is enough.  

The ABA has released a statement (it's somewhere on their website) that the JD should be considered equivalent to the PhD for academic teaching purposes on the basis that it generally takes as many or more post bachelor's hours to complete.  

I have seen the use of Dr. So-and-so, JD but that is generally in the academic arena, or sometimes in publishing.  My best guess is that it is socially acceptable in the academic arena, not so much in day to day usage.  

As to pretentious, many people think that someone with a PhD that calls themselves 'Dr.' outside of academia is somewhat pretentious (or so I've heard) ;)