ubclawstudent

Is a JD a 'graduate degree' or a 'professional degree'?

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I was wondering if a Juris Doctor Degree is considered officially to be a 'Graduate Degree' or considered to be a 'Professional Degree'? There seems to lack consensus! 

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It's a professional degree and it's considered an undergraduate level of study since you can go on to get a masters and doctorate in law (llm and sjd). 

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It's typically a second-entry undergraduate professional degree.

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Posted (edited)

"The Juris Doctor degree (J.D. or JD), also known as the Doctor of Jurisprudence degree (J.D., JD, D.Jur. or DJur), is a graduate-entry professional degree in law" - from google search

I was always under the impression that it's a graduate level degree, since it is a doctorate degree (similar to phD: doctor of philosophy, MD: medical doctorate)

edit: the undergraduate degree is called LLB (offered by Mcgill), I think

Edited by PoisonApple

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The JD is a second entry professional degree, not considered a graduate degree in Canada. And I don't know anyone who would consider the JD as similar to the PhD or MD.

@PoisonApple, there is no difference between the LLB and JD.

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Graduate-entry just seems to be a different word for second-entry. It's probably a more accurate term in the US given that American JD programs formally require that applicants complete a first degree (as opposed to Canadian JD programs that don't have this formal requirement). It shouldn't be read as meaning graduate-level.

Also, schools that grant MDs typically describe their MD programs as being undergraduate medical education.

 

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35 minutes ago, PoisonApple said:

"The Juris Doctor degree (J.D. or JD), also known as the Doctor of Jurisprudence degree (J.D., JD, D.Jur. or DJur), is a graduate-entry professional degree in law" - from google search

I was always under the impression that it's a graduate level degree, since it is a doctorate degree (similar to phD: doctor of philosophy, MD: medical doctorate)

edit: the undergraduate degree is called LLB (offered by Mcgill), I think

Please, for the love of God. It's bad enough when people cite Wikipedia for definitive authority. Now we're citing Google search?

It IS similar to a medical doctorate, yes. And a M.D. is also a second-entry undergraduate degree. It is nothing like a PhD and calling it that is arrogant beyond belief. You can call it a professional degree if you like. That is a very imprecise term but not actually wrong. You can't call it a graduate degree. It is an undergraduate degree, which is exactly the opposite. It's simply an undergraduate degree that requires a previous undergraduate degree - hence, second-entry.

Note, further, the only difference between a J.D. and a L.LB. degree is that North American schools caught on that it gives them a recruiting advantage if they throw in a hand job along with the education. And no, I'm not exaggerating or kidding in any sense.

People, please. There is plenty of prestige and standing that goes along with practicing law. Provided that you do it reasonably well, you'll earn a good living, you'll be regarded as a professional and educated person, and you'll have all the respect that comes along with that. If you feel the burning need to augment that with false claims, with exaggerations, and with spurious comparisons to the achievements of others, that only proves how desperately you needed the hand job in the first place, and why it works. Just buy a few degrees on-line, maybe an invented foreign title or two, order yourself a family crest, and be done with it.

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41 minutes ago, msk2012 said:

Graduate-entry just seems to be a different word for second-entry. It's probably a more accurate term in the US given that American JD programs formally require that applicants complete a first degree (as opposed to Canadian JD programs that don't have this formal requirement). It shouldn't be read as meaning graduate-level.

Also, schools that grant MDs typically describe their MD programs as being undergraduate medical education.

 

I see, my mistake. I took the literal meaning and thought graduate-entry meant entering a graduate level degree. 

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6 hours ago, PoisonApple said:

""it is a doctorate degree (similar to phD: doctor of philosophy, MD: medical doctorate)"

No, it isn't.  It isn't the terminal degree in law.

 

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TL;DR: I agree with healthlaw, msk2012, Diplock, ProfReader etc.

With that out of the way, and getting into the so-called "doctor" aspect, I may have posted some of these before... (note that they are American):

"...Actually, the appellation of juris doctor is of fairly recent vintage. In 1969, as more law schools were phasing out bachelor of law (LL.B.) degrees in favor of the increasingly popular J.D., the ABA’s Committee on Professional Ethics (which later became the Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility) issued an opinion advising lawyers not to refer to themselves as doctors. In ABA Formal Opinion 321, the com­mittee said that its longstanding position was derived from prohibitions against “self-laudation” set forth in the ABA Canons of Ethics. Less than a year later, however, the ethics committee reversed course in light of the newly adopted ABA Model Code of Professional Responsibility. Disciplinary Rule 2-102 permitted a J.D. or LL.M. (master of law) recipient to use doctor with his or her name, the committee concluded in ABA Informal Opinion 1152 (1970). Several states concurred with the ABA’s new position, while others held to the prior rule...."

http://www.abajournal.com/magazine/article/lawyers_are_doctors_too/

and more recently:

"...Here’s the ABA statement on the issue:

'J.D. Degree – Ph.D. Degree Equivalency

WHEREAS, the acquisition of a Doctor of Jurisprudence degree requires from 84 to 90 semester hours of post baccalaureate study and the Doctor of Philosophy degree usually requires 60 semester hours of post baccalaureate study along with the writing of a dissertation, the two degrees shall be considered as equivalent degrees for educational employment purposes;...'" [emphasis added]

http://abovethelaw.com/2011/11/any-lawyer-who-calls-himself-doctor-like-a-ph-d-should-get-punched-in-the-mouth/

Now, I agree - though I'm biased as being against pretentious title and degree inflation - that both the JD and MD are undergraduate degrees (indeed, some places award MB or B.Chir degrees rather than MD degrees). Physicians and surgeons are called "doctor" only out of courtesy and habit (and marketing and PR) - it's the Ph.D.'s etc. who are the real doctors, not MDs. In a medical (or dental) environment, calling someone "doctor" makes sense, or in an academic setting a Ph.D. (or other real doctorate, e.g. SJD) if they're not a professor it may be appropriate. And in social settings I'll normally bow to convention and call someone doctor only to 100% of the time (so far) been told not to bother. But to the best of my knowledge (unresearched! don't rely on this!) while there may be problems with misleadingly calling oneself a doctor (some of which are noted in the ABA article), if you want to call yourself doctor or prince or sir or whatever as some performers do, who cares (I think actually some European countries do have more restrictive laws or regulations regarding this).

Oh, and see the Wikipedia entry though this is drifting to the title of "doctor" and not whether a JD is a graduate degree and notes how in some countries lawyers are generally addressed as "doctor"...BUT NOT HERE!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doctor_(title)

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For what it's worth, I do tend to differentiate between my undergraduate degree and my law degrees when I talk about my schooling (e.g. "I did my undergrad at X and then did law school at Y"). I know both are technically undergraduate degrees but in my mind they're quite different.

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In Texas, a lawyer holding a JD advertised himself as a ‘Dr’ in marketing his medical malpractice expertise.  The lawyer was hoping that the public would assume the ‘Doctor’ title provided a level of knowledge equal to that of a physician.  Due to the circumstances, an opinion was formed on the matter by the Professional Ethics Committee for the State Bar of Texas because there was a possibility this conduct was breaching Model Rules of Professional Conduct.

American Bar Association’s Model Rules of Professional Conduct Rule 7.1 states

Communication concerning a lawyer’s services. A lawyer shall not make a false or misleading communication about the lawyer or the lawyer's services. A communication is false or misleading if it contains a material misrepresentation of fact or law, or omits a fact necessary to make the statement considered as a whole not materially misleading.

The Professional Ethics Committee for the State Bar of Texas concluded that a lawyer is permitted to use the title ‘Doctor’ but consideration should be taken when advertising in a practice such as medical malpractice, “[A] lawyer who is a graduate of an accredited law school with a Juris Doctor or Doctor of Jurisprudence degree to use the titles “Dr.,” “Doctor,” “Doctor of Jurisprudence,” or “J.D.” in social and professional communications so long as such use is not false or misleading in the specific circumstances”. Therefore, if the specific circumstances are that it is a medical malpractice advertisement for instance, the lawyer must make clear that ‘Dr’ denotes a Doctor of Jurisprudence or JD.

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Instead of naming Canadian law degrees JDs, I wish the law schools could have coordinated the change and come up with something uniquely Canadian, which recognizes that it's not a first entry degree (like the British LLB) nor does it require a first entry degree for admission (like the American JD). To the best of my knowledge, the JD is an American invention and was responding to the state of American legal education at the time; as exhibited by this thread, it causes some confusion about the classification of the JD.

What would the Canadian solution be? IDK, but it's fun to think about what could have been.  

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Two points.  First, how does a "uniquely Canadian" degree name solve the alleged problem of confusion as to what the degree is.  If anything, adding another title just confuses people interested in working in the international market.

Second, it has never ceased to amaze me that people think there is some source of confusion on this.  I'm pretty sure doctors don't run around wondering whether they have a graduate degree.  

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Maybe a JehD? I assume the 'eh' would be silent (a la Homer Jay Simpson), but we'd know it's there.

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Posted (edited)

3 hours ago, maximumbob said:

Two points.  First, how does a "uniquely Canadian" degree name solve the alleged problem of confusion as to what the degree is.  If anything, adding another title just confuses people interested in working in the international market.

Second, it has never ceased to amaze me that people think there is some source of confusion on this.  I'm pretty sure doctors don't run around wondering whether they have a graduate degree.  

My thought was that if there was a Canadian law degree with its own name we move away from questions like "You have an LLB, did you get it out of high school?" or "You have a doctorate, so does that mean you need an undergrad?" In Canada, in both cases, confusingly, the answer would be "no". If some sort of Canadian law degree were developed, I think in time it would develop it's own brand instead of trying to squeeze our system into either the LLB or JD.

There is definitely confusion on the matter; take a look at this thread, law students don't even know what kind of degree they are getting. Just so we're all clear: it's a second-entry-undergraduate-professional degree. That should be clear, right?

I get it, the ship has sailed, but it was a missed opportunity in my mind. 

Edited by conge

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Posted (edited)

13 minutes ago, conge said:

My thought was that if there was a Canadian law degree with its own name we move away from questions like "You have an LLB, did you get it out of high school?" or "You have a doctorate, so does that mean you need an undergrad?" In Canada, in both cases, confusingly, the answer would be "no". If some sort of Canadian law degree were developed, I think in time it would develop it's own brand instead of trying to squeeze our system into either the LLB or JD.

There is definitely confusion on the matter; take a look at this thread, law students don't even know what kind of degree they are getting. Just so we're all clear: it's a second-entry-undergraduate-professional degree. That should be clear, right?

I get it, the ship has sailed, but it was a missed opportunity in my mind. 

I think except for McGill (some CEGEP admits) the default is to expect an undergraduate degree in the regular admissions category.

Also, my recollection of discussion at the time was that it was a deliberate desire to imitate the US and have the same name for the degree that was a motivator, people didn't want something uniquely Canadian, they wanted something confusingly similar (identical in name) to the US degree.

EDIT: to be clear, I don't think there's a good reason to require an undergrad degree before law school, I think second-entry with one or two years would be enough, but similarly, that ship also sailed a long time ago.

Edited by epeeist

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19 minutes ago, conge said:

My thought was that if there was a Canadian law degree with its own name we move away from questions like "You have an LLB, did you get it out of high school?" or "You have a doctorate, so does that mean you need an undergrad?" In Canada, in both cases, confusingly, the answer would be "no". If some sort of Canadian law degree were developed, I think in time it would develop it's own brand instead of trying to squeeze our system into either the LLB or JD.

There is definitely confusion on the matter; take a look at this thread, law students don't even know what kind of degree they are getting. Just so we're all clear: it's a second-entry-undergraduate-professional degree. That should be clear, right?

I get it, the ship has sailed, but it was a missed opportunity in my mind. 

Has anyone ever been asked those questions, in Canada?  

Now, someone in the uK might ask the former question.  Of course, if we called our JD/LLB as CLB, for example, your solution would result in them asking, what the heck is a CLB.  

I'm fairly sure no one has ever asked the second question.  

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33 minutes ago, epeeist said:

I think except for McGill (some CEGEP admits) the default is to expect an undergraduate degree in the regular admissions category.

Also, my recollection of discussion at the time was that it was a deliberate desire to imitate the US and have the same name for the degree that was a motivator, people didn't want something uniquely Canadian, they wanted something confusingly similar (identical in name) to the US degree.

EDIT: to be clear, I don't think there's a good reason to require an undergrad degree before law school, I think second-entry with one or two years would be enough, but similarly, that ship also sailed a long time ago.

I can assure you that McGill, in its "non-CEGEP" stream, has similar expectations with regards to undergraduate degrees than other common law schools. 

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