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 ?
Foster received his juris doctor magna cum laude from Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law.
She received her Juris Doctor degree from Pace University School of Law in 1998.
He earned his Juris Doctor from the University of Florida College of Law and his Masters of Law in Taxation from the Graduate Tax Program at the University of Florida College of Law.
in Taxation from Boston University School of Law, a juris doctor degree from Tulane University Law School and her bachelor of science degree from Truman State University.
Hebert Law Center, Louisiana State University, where he was awarded his juris doctor degree, cum laude.
Bruckmann is a 2010 graduate of the Washington and Lee University School of Law, where he received his juris doctor degree and served as Junior Editor of the German Law Journal.
Okner, 26, is from Minnesota and earned his juris doctor degree at Boston College School of Law, where he focused on real-estate law.
Browning is a Juris Doctor graduate of the University of Detroit and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Michigan State University.
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.
She holds a juris doctor degree from New York Law School and a bachelor of science degree from Boston University.