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Juris Doctor

Juris Doctor (JD) is the degree obtained by lawyers upon graduation from law school and stands for professional doctorate in law.  Harvard University was the first university to award the JD degree.  The degree was the result of the efforts of Christopher Columbus Langdell’s, a dean at Harvard University in the late 19th Century who worked toward reforming the legal education in the U.S.

Usually a three year course of study, the JD is the only professional degree in law.  However, unlike professional degrees in other subjects, a JD does not require submission of thesis/dissertation.  Therefore, debate continues about whether a JD equates to an actual doctorate degree.  The American bar Association permits attorneys to refer to themselves as “doctor.”  However, a Masters of Law (LLM) requires the applicant first have a JD, even though the LLM is a “masters” degree.

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