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Editor: Mitchell H. Rubinstein
New York Law School

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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Are Lawyers Considered Doctors??

We covered this topic before, here. I just came across an interesting article which outlines the history of JD's in this country as well as the issuance of other law degrees. David Perry, How Did Lawyers Become "Doctors"?, 84 NYS Bar Journal 20 (June 2012). (not available on the internet)

This author concludes that JD's are indeed doctors and cites to several bar association opinions stating that it is appropriate for a lawyer to use the title doctor, particularly if he or she is in academic setting. Though the focus on the article was not on whteher lawyers are doctors( the focus was on the types of degrees that have been awarded), the rational appears to be that law schools did not intitially require to have undergraduate degrees. Now all law schools do and they made the degree uniform. Every law school in the country today issues a JD degree. 

Sorry, but I still do not buy that. It is not that I do not think that a law degree is on the P.hd level-I do. I certainly do not believe that a JD degree is on the level of a Masters. My view is simply that JD degrees are different. It is neither a doctorate or a masters.

Mitchell H. Rubinstein

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/adjunctprofs/2012/07/are-lawyers-considered-doctors.html

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Comments

I remember one of my law professors (a European) saying that writing a law-review note was the equivalent of a Ph.D. dissertation. I'm not sure I buy that 100%, but I can certainly see the parallels.

Posted by: D. C. Toedt | Jul 14, 2012 1:33:49 PM

One does not need a "buy-in" to acknowledge that lawyers are "doctors" in the academic sense. Unfortunately, not all law schools are equal. If they were, there would not be a diverse group of attorneys and state bars and respective professional abilities. I have noted however, that so called first, second and third-tier law schools and their distinguished graduates have a different view of the whether they are indeed "doctors." Most of which has to do with personal egos and not academic rigor.

Granted, some of top shelf law schools began as night schools and slowly obtained the acceptance as having rigorous academic programs that prepare their graduates to compete in the legal profession. Others have a long track record of having been founded almost from the beginning of this experiment called the United States without the need for undergraduate degrees. Most, started with a small class in agriculture fields and then blossomed into rigorous academic programs over the years to justify both academic acceptance and salaries as well as promoting exclusivity both racial and economic.


Unfortunately, there is an academic reluctance from elitist institutions and their alum to recognize that some of the programs are up to par. And, the general public does not know the difference unless they compare A-V ratings of respective attorneys in their area. Any law grad who finishes their respective legal academic academic program would argue that the J.D. is indeed above the level of a Masters. The question is, in my view, is not whether it is on the Ph.D.level but rather why does it matter? And, if it does, is a "doctor" from Harvard any more acceptable and their academic more rigorous than one from say, the University of California-Los Angeles?

E.J. Ramirez

Posted by: E.J. Ramirez | Jul 15, 2012 2:43:33 AM

One does not need a "buy-in" to acknowledge that lawyers are "doctors" in the academic sense. Unfortunately, not all law schools are equal. If they were, there would not be a diverse group of attorneys and state bars and respective professional abilities. I have noted however, that so called first, second and third-tier law schools and their distinguished graduates have a different view of the whether they are indeed "doctors." Most of which has to do with personal egos and not academic rigor.

Posted by: jasa like | Oct 20, 2012 2:31:05 AM

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