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.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

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.

Copyright © 1981-2005 by Gerald N. Hill and Kathleen T. Hill. All Right reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Laurel was given a full scholarship at Yale U where he obtained his Doctor of Jurisprudence in 1921.
She held a bachelor's degree in sociology and a doctor of jurisprudence degree, both from the University of Montana.
Deron earned his Bachelor of Science in Finance from Indiana University-Bloomington and his Doctor of Jurisprudence from Indiana University School of Law-Bloomington.
Nollkamper held a bachelor's degree from Doane College and a doctor of jurisprudence from Washburn University.
Bond holds a Doctor of Jurisprudence from the Ohio State University Moritz College of Law where she was Articles Editor of The Ohio State University Law Review.
Leistner received a doctor of jurisprudence degree from the University of Oregon School of Law in 1979.
Wes Christian received his Bachelor of Science degree from West Texas State University in 1975 (now West Texas A&M University) and his Doctor of Jurisprudence from South Texas College of Law in 1978.
He earned a degree in economics and a doctor of jurisprudence from Willamette University in Salem, and a master's degree in public administration at Portland State University.
Wes Christian (www.csj-law.com) received his Bachelor of Science degree from West Texas State University in 1975 (now West Texas A&M University) and his Doctor of Jurisprudence from South Texas College of Law in 1978.
B.A.), with honors, from the University of Florida in 1979, his Doctor of Jurisprudence (J.D.) from Cumberland School of Law in 1984, and his Masters of Laws in Taxation (LL.M.) from New York University in 1985.
"I investigated first to make sure I can do so legally," the doctor of jurisprudence noted.

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