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JD vs LLB


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#1 coyote

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Posted 01 March 2008 - 11:56 PM

What is the difference between a JD and an LLB? Academically, financially, reputation-wise, career-wise, etc.?

Which Canadian schools offer a JD program? Are they any different/better than Canadian LLB programs?

Please, anyone add your thoughts to what the following blog article (from 2005) says: JD versus LL.B.[/url]

#2 mbfergus

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Posted 02 March 2008 - 12:45 AM

JD doesn't mean anything if you plan to stay in Canada.

#3 Diplock

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Posted 02 March 2008 - 12:52 AM

There are arguable differences between the sort of education and career prospects you might gain from the various Canadian law schools. I won't rehash the debate, which continues ad nauseum here and elsewhere. Those differences have nothing at all to do with whether a particular school calls their program a JD or a LLB.

Quite seriously, it's complete bullshit. And I'm speaking as a current U of T student, so you can avoid analyzing my motives as potential sour grapes. It's certainly worth considering what a particular school will mean for your future, but any attempt to render that analysis in terms of what the degree is called is simply stupid. That's like debating the merits of red cars vs. green cars. While it might be reasonable, in a narrow context, to talk about what colour you'd like to paint a car, it's inane to pretend the colour of the paint actually alters the substance of the vehicle.

All this topic will ever do is distract you from things that actually matter.

#4 TimmDesRoches

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Posted 02 March 2008 - 02:59 PM

From what I have heard a JD, or Juris Doctor, is a professional degree. The LLB, Legum Baccalaureus is the first degree in the study of law. A JD traditionally is awarded where the student has already successfully completed an undergraduate degree prior to entering law school. The LLB is given to those with a minimum of 2 years of university prior to law school. Though many Canadian Law students have an Undergrad prior to law school people of other countries, such as South Africa for example, can go directly from secondary to a law degree. While here in Canada LLB is regarded to be the same level as that of a JD, outside North America it has somewhat of a lower "rank"
If anyone has more correct information please feel free to add/correct

#5 Lawjunky07

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Posted 02 March 2008 - 03:23 PM

It means this

1. JD programs have greater standing internationally

2. No one will be admitted to a JD program without a completed undergraduate degree (the reason why it has greater standing than the 2 years minimum LLB).

3. Nothing in Canada outside that the new degree standing has been seen as a means to raise tuition rates and acceptance standards (Plans of this nature are at least being talked about at Queens, UBC and Western).

Schools who have a JD program: UofT and Queens
Schools who are in a serious process of switching over: UBC and Western.

#6 soccer player

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Posted 02 March 2008 - 06:20 PM

You can be accepted into a JD program in Canada without an undergrad.

#7 Kas

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Posted 02 March 2008 - 06:41 PM

The Canadian LLB is a bit different than most LLBs. In New Zealand or some other countries you can start the LLB program straight after High School. In Canada you need 2 years undergrad experience before you can officially enter the LLB program. So the Canadian LLB program might be considered to have higher standards in some ways. The American JD, however requires the full undergrad experience (4 years bachelors), and hence it is an official graduate degree. The Canadian LLB version, although having the additional 2 year requirement of undergrad, is not an official graduate degree, and hence does not deserve the JD designation.

But you can kind of see where the tension lies. Some Canadian schools believe they deserve the JD designation because they require the additional 2 year requirement as opposed to the UK where you go straight from High School. However, others love the tradition, and don't really see it as an actual graduate program.

There's no real benefit I don't think. Why? High End employers know what they're doing, they'll know what the schools up here are doing anyway. They'll know it's not a true graduate program anyway, but they'll also know that it holds a bit more weight than the UK equivalent.

From my understanding at least.

#8 slick_nick

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Posted 03 March 2008 - 09:37 AM

The Canadian LLB is a bit different than most LLBs. In New Zealand or some other countries you can start the LLB program straight after High School. In Canada you need 2 years undergrad experience before you can officially enter the LLB program. So the Canadian LLB program might be considered to have higher standards in some ways. The American JD, however requires the full undergrad experience (4 years bachelors), and hence it is an official graduate degree. The Canadian LLB version, although having the additional 2 year requirement of undergrad, is not an official graduate degree, and hence does not deserve the JD designation.

But you can kind of see where the tension lies. Some Canadian schools believe they deserve the JD designation because they require the additional 2 year requirement as opposed to the UK where you go straight from High School. However, others love the tradition, and don't really see it as an actual graduate program.

There's no real benefit I don't think. Why? High End employers know what they're doing, they'll know what the schools up here are doing anyway. They'll know it's not a true graduate program anyway, but they'll also know that it holds a bit more weight than the UK equivalent.

From my understanding at least.


Surprisingly, there are a number of US law schools that do not require a student to have completed their bachelor's degree before entering. Not so surprisingly, most of these are crap schools, but Tulane is one solid school that has such a policy.

#9 Woodchuck

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Posted 03 March 2008 - 08:02 PM

I really don't understand what the name change means ........


What "new" things can you do with the Canadian JD?

Nothing....

So, isn't this switch gonna confuse alot of people in Canada and the U.S?

yup.....

What are the benefits?

I still don't know the answer to this question....I am not against the switch per say, but I haven't heard any substantial discussion of the benefits. Mostly, I read catchy "buzzword" responses that are more suited to career-networking websites......Where's the meat in this sandwich? What's in it for numero uno?

#10 Kas

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Posted 03 March 2008 - 09:58 PM

3. Nothing in Canada outside that the new degree standing has been seen as a means to raise tuition rates and acceptance standards (Plans of this nature are at least being talked about at Queens, UBC and Western).


Looks like Osgoode is looking into it right now too eh.

#11 widget

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Posted 04 March 2008 - 05:41 AM

I really don't understand what the name change means ........


What "new" things can you do with the Canadian JD?

Nothing....

So, isn't this switch gonna confuse alot of people in Canada and the U.S?

yup.....

What are the benefits?

I still don't know the answer to this question....I am not against the switch per say, but I haven't heard any substantial discussion of the benefits. Mostly, I read catchy "buzzword" responses that are more suited to career-networking websites......Where's the meat in this sandwich? What's in it for numero uno?


You get to call yourself doctor! That means if you ever stumble upon an accident scene, you can push through the crowd shouting "Step aside, I'm a doctor!" Once you get to the victim, you can pass him your card and ask him if he's thought about his legal options in relation to his situation, while all us poor LL.B.ers are jumping up and down at the back of the crowd trying to see what's happening.

Big sell for personal injury law.

#12 rwalker130

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Posted 18 March 2008 - 05:58 PM

One of the things that seems to get lost in this debate all too often is the difference between a US (ABA approved) JD and the U of T (or Queen's, et al) JD. The ABA requires that all admitted 1Ls at ABA accredited Law Schools have a full 4 year undergraduate degree. U of T still allows students who have only completed 2 years of their undergrad degree, into their first year class.

Until the Canadian schools offering JDs make the change and require the completion of a full undergraduate degree prior to admission there is still a HUGE difference between a US JD and a Canadian JD. Canadian law schools grant undergraduate degrees whereas US law schools grant graduate degrees.

Even if this change occurred, a person holding a Canadian JD would still only be allowed to write the bar exam in MA and NY. Again, this is the restriction in each state to ABA accredited JDs. Now, if you want to work in the US, these might be the only states in which you want to practice, but you could already do this with a regular old LLB.

It doesn't seem like the ABA will be accrediting U of T or Osgoode any time soon.

When it comes to International law firms, these are smart businesses and they understand the difference between a Canadian JD and a US JD. Lipstick and rouge won't disguise the fact that a Canadian JD is just an undergraduate LLB in disguise (albeit different from other commonwealth LLBs). Many overseas employers use Legal recruiting firms and you can bet they understand the difference too.

I will grant the "Go JD" crowd that the small NGOs or small niche firms overseas may not understand the subtleties of the North American legal academia, but are they really looking overseas for talent?

It seems to me the name change is hardly the issue. Until the entrance requirements are beefed up, the Cdn JD will not stack up on paper with a US JD and that's the bigger concern.

RW

#13 Diplock

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Posted 18 March 2008 - 06:29 PM

Look, I was perfectly willing to say "it doesn't matter" earlier, but to call U.S. law degrees "graduate degrees" as some spectacular contrast with Canadian "undergraduate" degrees is just silly. It's almost sillier than JDs trying to call themselves doctors.

You chose to use U of T as an example. It's the one I'm most familiar with, so let's run with that. About five students a year get in with less than a full undergrad. That's less than 3% of the class, and that includes mature students who have applied partly on the basis of life experience, etc. I'm going to assume U.S. schools have similar entrance categories. So it's incredibly rare for students to get straight in out of university with less than a four-year degree. The fact that two people on this board received offers from that position this cycle is just incredible. And amusingly, both have elected to defer and finish their degrees anyway.

By contrast, over 20% of the U of T class have completed graduate degrees prior to law school. By "graduate" degree (since you've muddied the term) I mean either a Masters or PhD in an another field.

I'm not hung up on some artificial distinction behind my JD. I couldn't care less what it's called. But please, don't tell me I'm in some kind of jumped up undergraduate program when the guy next to me already has a PhD. Canadian law schools are what they are. Changing the name of the degree won't matter one bit, in my opinion. But if employers are as smart as you say they won't arrive anywhere near the conclusion you've somehow jumped to that Canadian JDs/LLBs are somehow inferior to U.S. JDs just because there might be a couple students per hundred in my class that didn't complete their previous degrees. There may be other differences in quality, between one vs. the other. There may be other factors to weigh. But if you're going to hang your argument on a thread so thin, I don't even know why you bothered to offer it.

#14 Diplock

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Posted 18 March 2008 - 06:41 PM

P.S. I am aware that Canadian law programs are undergraduate in a technical sense. I want to state that, lest I appear ignorant. But the same is true of teaching, medicine, dentistry, architecture, etc. Most professional programs fit this bill. Engineering is the one glaring exception. All of these programs are considered undergraduate. Some, I believe, absolutely demand a completed undergraduate degree before entrance. Nevertheless, they are technically undergraduate.

Personally, I'm not fussed about this fact. It's a little annoying to belong to UTSU (the undergraduate students' union) but that's about all. Still, I don't think it's remotely accurate to compare Canadian law schools, on this technical basis, to true undergraduate law programs in the English sense, where students enter straight from high school.

#15 Woodchuck

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Posted 18 March 2008 - 07:18 PM

Why can't I have a degree with some written distinction for my 4 years undergrad, plus 3 years law? Like some latin phrase that says "studius 7 yearius" next to my LLB

I would settle for that.

People would just get extra distinction for extra work.

I'm serious.

You get a LLB (not a complete 4 year undergrad)
or
LLB Studius 7 yearius---------or call it JD (if you don't like my stupid faux-latin title)

Why not create some distinction?

#16 VoteConservative

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Posted 18 March 2008 - 07:24 PM

One of the things that seems to get lost in this debate all too often is the difference between a US (ABA approved) JD and the U of T (or Queen's, et al) JD. The ABA requires that all admitted 1Ls at ABA accredited Law Schools have a full 4 year undergraduate degree. U of T still allows students who have only completed 2 years of their undergrad degree, into their first year class.

Until the Canadian schools offering JDs make the change and require the completion of a full undergraduate degree prior to admission there is still a HUGE difference between a US JD and a Canadian JD. Canadian law schools grant undergraduate degrees whereas US law schools grant graduate degrees.

This is false. As pointed out above, several ABA schools such as Tulane and Cooley admit students who have not completed their undergraduate degrees.

#17 LFishman

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Posted 18 March 2008 - 07:56 PM

This debate is even more inane, because really, these letters are just a degree. Nothing more. They do not entitle you to practice law, and certainly do not afford you the experience required to be a successful professional lawyer.

You can get your JD from Harvard and still fail the bar a hundred times and never practice law. And you can get an LLB from Ottawa, pass the bar in New York, and work in NYC and make the big bucks.

#18 rwalker130

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Posted 19 March 2008 - 09:23 AM

Diplock,

Please, I was not trying to insult you or your "JD". I will concede that practically speaking the vast majority of 1st years at Canadian law schools have completed an undergraduate degree, and many have also completed Masters and PhD work. This doesn't change the stated admissions policy of the schools and the status of the LLB as an undergraduate degree.

True, some ABA accedited schools do allow exceptional students to enter their first year class having not completed their undergraduate work (Tulane and Cooley do advertise this on their admissions pages). However, the vast majority of US state bar admissions requirements mandate the completion of an undergraduate degree + a JD prior to taking the bar exam.

My point was that changing the name is one step in the right direction, but that should not be the only step. To really make the change more than cosmetic Canadian law schools should become truly "graduate" and require a full, completed undergraduate degree prior to admission.

I agree the academic rigor of the Canadian law school experience is roughly on par with the US experience. I also agree that the degree should be "worth" the same on the international market. However, until the admissions requirements are fixed, there is still a difference.

There you go Diplock, have at it, you seem to be pretty interested in "winning" this non-argument.

RW

#19 Diplock

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Posted 19 March 2008 - 10:29 AM

There you go Diplock, have at it, you seem to be pretty interested in "winning" this non-argument.

RW


How about we call it a tie? I make my points as well as I can (don't we all?) but I'm hardly that invested in the outcome of an Internet debate. As long as would-be law students, reading this board, get an accurate picture of what's going on in factual terms I feel no particular need to force my opinion about what it all means on anyone. It's important to agree on the facts. Agreement on consequential meanings of those facts is entirely optional, and quite unlikely. =)

#20 rwalker130

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Posted 19 March 2008 - 03:20 PM

How about we call it a tie?


Done deal.

#21 philo-

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Posted 20 March 2008 - 12:17 AM

How about we call it a tie?


Done deal.


This would never happen on lawbuzz. I suggest you two don't call it a tie and continue with the douchebaggery.

#22 3yr_llbmba

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Posted 20 March 2008 - 05:57 AM

Why can't I have a degree with some written distinction for my 4 years undergrad, plus 3 years law? Like some latin phrase that says "studius 7 yearius" next to my LLB

I would settle for that.

People would just get extra distinction for extra work.

I'm serious.

You get a LLB (not a complete 4 year undergrad)
or
LLB Studius 7 yearius---------or call it JD (if you don't like my stupid faux-latin title)

Why not create some distinction?


Small point here. You do get the extra distinction. You get to write not only the JD/LLB, but also the "B.A. (Hons)" as oppose to just "B.A." or in some cases, nothing (i.e. those that didn't even complete 3 years).

#23 widget

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Posted 20 March 2008 - 10:06 AM

Why can't I have a degree with some written distinction for my 4 years undergrad, plus 3 years law? Like some latin phrase that says "studius 7 yearius" next to my LLB

I would settle for that.

People would just get extra distinction for extra work.

I'm serious.

You get a LLB (not a complete 4 year undergrad)
or
LLB Studius 7 yearius---------or call it JD (if you don't like my stupid faux-latin title)

Why not create some distinction?


Small point here. You do get the extra distinction. You get to write not only the JD/LLB, but also the "B.A. (Hons)" as oppose to just "B.A." or in some cases, nothing (i.e. those that didn't even complete 3 years).


Plus, the extra degree on your wall! Never know when you need to hang something to cover a stain or hole.
A fairly inconsequential number of people don't complete their undergrad degrees upon acceptance to law, though. IMHO, it demonstrates a lack of commitment to your undergrad degree, and treats it as a means to an end and not an end in itself. I do wonder how employers look at a thing like that (esp. in Atlantic Canada, where commitment is a big point, I've heard).

As far as JD/LL.B. considerations go, the LL.B. is the degree hanging on the walls of all the old-timers in the profession (in this country). They certainly know the difference - or lack thereof - between the LL.B. and JD. Same thing goes for those doing the hiring at the firms. It's a difference in name, not in content.

#24 Woodchuck

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Posted 20 March 2008 - 04:10 PM

I don't mind getting an LLB. I'm pysched! I don't favor the JD designation in any emotional sense.

My only concern is that Canadian employers will favor the JD designation, or perhaps, those with a JD will get more opportunities outside Canada.

If it comes down to whats hot and whats not.

And the LLB is not.

I wanna a JD.

(if one designation is placed above the other in a superficial image sense)

I know that these degrees are of equal merit. I just worry that I will lose job opportunities due to others' lack of understanding.

#25 widget

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Posted 20 March 2008 - 04:28 PM

I don't mind getting an LLB. I'm pysched! I don't favor the JD designation in any emotional sense.

My only concern is that Canadian employers will favor the JD designation, or perhaps, those with a JD will get more opportunities outside Canada.

If it comes down to whats hot and whats not.

And the LLB is not.

I wanna a JD.

(if one designation is placed above the other in a superficial image sense)

I know that these degrees are of equal merit. I just worry that I will lose job opportunities due to others' lack of understanding.


In Canada, employers most likely do not favour one over the other. After all, even the venerable U of T gave out the ol' LL.B. for years. In Canada, with its small number of law schools, the legal community knows what's what and where. In the US ...... well, hard to say. But don't lose sleep at night worrying about it.

Like having the Queen on our coins, the LL.B. is part of our Commonwealth heritage. Embrace the Canadianism of the postgrad bachelors degree!




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