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).


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.

References in periodicals archive ?
She received her Master of Law from Beijing University, Master of Arts from Vanderbilt and juris doctorate from Washington University in St.
Kopelowitz received a bachelor's degree from Indiana University and his juris doctorate from Brooklyn Law School.
Haviland holds a juris doctorate degree from Georgetown University Law Center and has experience in project and structured finance, mergers and acquisitions and other general corporate matters for established companies and start-ups.
Purcell earned a bachelor of science degree from California Lutheran College and a juris doctorate degree, magna cum laude, from Pepperdine Law School, where she was a member of the Law Review.
He received his juris doctorate from South Texas College of Law in 1996 and was admitted to the Bar that same year and earned a Bachelor of Arts in 1992 from the University of Texas at Austin.
He also holds a Juris Doctorate degree from Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego.
He holds a bachelor's degree in business administration from Northwestern Oklahoma State University and a juris doctorate from the University of Oklahoma.
He holds a juris doctorate and a bachelor of science with distinction in business administration and economics from the University of Nebraska.
Hollander received his bachelor's degree from Indiana University and his juris doctorate, with a concentration in real estate transactions and finance and intellectual property, from New York Law School.
He received his juris doctorate from the University of Southern California, and took post-graduate studies in business and economics from Tel Aviv University in Israel.
Hiffa earned a bachelor of science degree from Syracuse University in Syracuse, New York, and a juris doctorate in law from John Marshall Law School in Atlanta.
Halpern has a Bachelor of Arts from the City University of New York and a Juris Doctorate from Brooklyn Law School.