- J.D. redirects here; for alternate uses, see J.D. (disambiguation)
is an abbreviation for the Latin Juris Doctor
, or Doctor of Law
, and is the law degree typically awarded by an accredited U.S law school
after successfully completing three years of post-graduate law study. Generally, a 4-year undergraduate
degree is required to be eligible for entry into a J.D. program. Prior to the practice of law, a J.D. holder is required to be member of the bar association
of the state in which he or she intends to practice. Washington, DC is a special case-- it's law is Federal law, and a member of the DC bar may practice Federal law in any state. Admission to a state's bar requires that the applicant either sit for the bar exam in that state and submit to that state's procedures for verifying "character and fitness", or obtain admission administratively through reciprocity provisions providing that in some states, lawyers who have practiced in other states for a set period of time, may be admitted upon application.
The course of study usually takes 3 years but may take as little as 2 years at some schools.
The J.D. was formerly known as the LL.B in most U.S. universities. Doctors of Law who are admitted to the practice of law often append the suffix Esq to the end of their names, but are not commonly referred to as "Doctor". (While the Juris Doctor is a professional doctorate, similar to the MedicinŠ Doctor (Doctor of Medicine), legal convention stipulates that lawyers do not use the title.) Unlike the J.D., however, the Doctor of Juristic Science (J.S.D.), Doctor of the Science of Law (L.Sc.D.), and the Legum Doctor or Doctor of Laws (LL.D.) do confer the title of "Doctor".
The first year of a J.D. program is usually devoted to core courses on contracts, property law, torts and civil procedure. Later courses might include things such as:
Other law degrees