Juris Doctor Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Juris Doctor, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Juris Doctor?

It is a degree awarded to a person after completing his graduation in a law school.It gives him/her right to practice law in a court or state where the degree is recognised.

History and Meaning of Juris Doctor

The Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree is a professional doctoral degree awarded to individuals who have completed their undergraduate education in law school in the United States, Canada, Australia or other common law countries. The degree can take three to four years to complete and provides graduates with the qualifications to practice law in their respective jurisdiction. The term "Juris Doctor" comes from Latin and translates to "teacher of law," emphasizing the expertise and authority that holders of the degree possess.

The degree originated in the United States in the late 19th century, replacing the Bachelor of Law degree as the standard degree for legal education. The American Bar Association (ABA) officially recognized the J.D. as the only acceptable professional law degree in 1962. Today, it is the most commonly conferred law degree in the United States and many other countries.

Examples of Juris Doctor

  1. After three years of studying law, Jane earned her Juris Doctor and passed the bar exam, allowing her to practice law in her home state.
  2. John returned to school to pursue a Juris Doctor after working in a law firm for several years as a legal assistant.
  3. The law school's admissions office requires applicants to have completed an undergraduate degree before applying to the Juris Doctor program.

Legal Terms Similar to Juris Doctor

  1. Bachelor of Law (LL.B.): The degree previously awarded for completion of an undergraduate law program in the U.S. and many other countries.
  2. Master of Laws (LL.M.): A graduate law program designed for students who have already earned their J.D. or LL.B. degree and want to specialize in a particular area of law.
  3. Doctor of Juridical Science (S.J.D. or J.S.D.): The highest degree in law that is equivalent to a research doctoral degree in other areas, typically requiring advanced coursework and research in a specific area of law.