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.

References in periodicals archive ?
He earned a Doctor of Jurisprudence degree, magna cum laude, from South Texas College of Law.
Curry received his Doctor of Jurisprudence degree in 1985 from the University of Memphis Law School, where he was on the Editorial Board of the University of Memphis Law Review, and received a Master of Laws (LL.
Kropf earned a Doctor of Jurisprudence at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, a Master of Arts at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, and a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy at Denison University in Granville, Ohio.
Randall earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from The University of Texas at Austin and a Doctor of Jurisprudence from The University of Texas School of Law.
Porter earned his Bachelor of Business Administration from Baylor University in 1968 and his Doctor of Jurisprudence from Southern Methodist University School of Law in 1973.
He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Cornell University and a Doctor of Jurisprudence degree from the University of Pennsylvania Law School.
McEneney received a Bachelor of Science degree from Manhattan College, and a Doctor of Jurisprudence degree from the Boston University School of Law.
Wilson holds a bachelor's degree, cum laude, from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, and a Doctor of Jurisprudence (J.
Following this portion of his education, Pothitakis received his Doctor of Jurisprudence from the University of Texas School of Law in Austin.
He received a Doctor of Jurisprudence Degree from the University of Alabama School of Law.
Katulak holds a Bachelor of Engineering in Chemical Engineering from The Cooper Union in New York and a Doctor of Jurisprudence from Brooklyn Law School.
Matt received his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of South Dakota, his Master of Science in International Relations from the University of Bristol, England, and his Doctor of Jurisprudence from Northwestern University School of Law.

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