Juris Doctor


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Juris Doctor

The degree awarded to an individual upon the successful completion of law school.

Juris doctor, or doctor of Jurisprudence, commonly abbreviated J.D., is the degree commonly conferred by law schools. It is required in all states except California (which includes an option called law office study) to gain Admission to the Bar. Gaining admission to the bar means obtaining a license to practice law in a particular state or in federal court.

Until the 1930s and 1940s, many states did not require a person to have a law school degree in order to obtain a license to practice law. Most lawyers qualified for a license by working as an apprentice for an established attorney for a specified period. By the 1950s most states required a law school degree. State legislatures established this requirement to raise the standards of practicing attorneys and to restrict the number of attorneys. The degree offered by most Colleges and Universities was called a master of laws (L.L.M.) degree. In the 1960s, as colleges and universities increased the requirements for a law degree, the J.D. replaced the L.L.M. as the primary degree awarded by law schools.

The specific requirements for a J.D. vary from school to school. Generally, the requirements include completing a minimum number of class hours each academic period, and taking certain mandatory courses such as contracts, torts, Civil Procedure, and Criminal Law in the first year of law school. All states require that students pass a course on Professional Responsibility before receiving a J.D. degree.

Further readings

Morgan, Thomas D., and Ronald D. Rotunda. 1993. Professional Responsibility: Problems and Materials. 5th ed. Westbury, N.Y.: Foundation Press.

Tuttle, Cliff. 1995. "Juris Doctor: The Versatile Degree." Pennsylvania Law Weekly 18 (December 11).

Cross-references

Legal Education.

Juris Doctor (J.D.)

n. the law degree granted upon graduation by many university law schools with accepted high standards of admission and grading. This often supersedes the Bachelor of Laws in recognition that the law curriculum entitles a person to a graduate degree.

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She holds a Juris Doctor from the University of Maine School of Law, and her legal experience includes work as a litigator and service as an assistant District Attorney for Penobscot and Piscataquis counties.
Pozin earned his Juris Doctor degree from Fordham University Law School in 1988.
Since opening its virtual doors in 1998, Concord has helped more than 1,500 graduates obtain their Juris Doctor (JD) or Executive Juris Doctor(SM) (EJD) degree.
Reynolds earned his Juris Doctor from Roger Williams University in Bristol, R.
She earned her Juris Doctor, cum laude, from American University, Washington College of Law.
The graduating class includes 22 graduates of the Juris Doctor program and 20 who earned an Executive Juris Doctor degree.
The graduating class includes 62 graduates of the Juris Doctor program and 44 who earned an Executive Juris Doctor degree.
Levine, a 25-year-old from Long Island, earned her juris doctor degree at Fordham University School of Law.
The graduating class of doctors, business people, engineers, and other professionals included 31 graduates of the Juris Doctor program and 31 who earned an Executive Juris Doctor degree.
Seiler holds a bachelor's degree from Penn State University and a Juris Doctor from Suffolk University Law School.
The graduating class of doctors, business people, professors and other professionals includes 78 graduates of the Juris Doctor program and 39 who earned an Executive Juris Doctor degree.