Are Law Degrees “Doctorates” and are Lawyers “Doctors”?

There’s a thread on The Volokh Conspiracy that has many posts on whether a lawyer who has a JD degree (Juris Doctorate) can be called “Doctor”.
There are basically 3 law degrees awarded in the U.S.: JD, which used to be an LLB (Bachelor of Laws) until it was changed in most law schools in the 1960s and 70s; LLM, a Master of Laws, which is usually 1 or 2 years of study in a specific field such as taxation, real estate, estate planning, etc., and which many practicing lawyers obtain; and SJD (Doctor of Juridical Science), which is a research degree and usually only obtained by law professors.
In those jurisdictions that require a law degree to sit for the bar exam, the required degree is a JD or an LLB, not an LLM or SJD.
The JD degree requires approximately 3 academic years of full-time study; most PhDs take at least 3 or 4 years to complete and require a thesis that must be defended (ABD means “All But Dissertation,” which means that the person has completed all course work for the PhD but has not completed and successfully defended their dissertation).
Comments are open – weigh in with corrections, additions, etc.

Posted in: Living in DC

Post a Comment