Thursday, August 04, 2005

The letters on your degree


At 1:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why do we have to follow the American lead? Juris Doctor sounds poncy and egotistical. It's not a Doctoral-level degree.


At 6:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's not a doctoral degree, that comment hit the nail on the head. In the US you need to complete a degree before you get into a JD program. Here in Canada you can enter law after only 2 years of study.

At 2:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unlike its British and Australian counterparts, the Canadian law degree is not an undergraduate degree. It's a second entry degree. I don't care what the degree is actually called, as long as it doesn't have "bachelor" in it.

At 3:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's not a doctoral degree, and doesn't pretend to be. Like the "doctor" in the titles of MDs, chiropractors, dentists, etc., it merely indicates a professional qualification that requires a higher than undergraduate-level education.

The "doctor" in a doctoral degree proper, such as a PhD, is from the latin for "teacher" and indicates the highest level of academic achievement.

There is no confusion or protest about the fact that, e.g., medical practitioners are granted the degree "Doctor of Medicine," despite the fact that it is not a doctoral degree, either. I don't think the case of JD vs. LLB should present any greater conundrum.

At 1:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What's the point of changing it at all? It's not like any of your clients will care. It's not going to give you any advantages over an LLB. In the end, a lawyer is a lawyer.

At 4:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The point of changing it is so that your credentials reflect your level of education. A JD is a second-entry degree; an LLB is something you enroll in right out of high school - in most of the English-speaking legal world, that is.

That most of your clients won't care (though some will, depending especially on your area of expertise) is beside the point. Your colleagues, partners and employers understand the difference and care what your educational background is. If you are working internationally, you'll find it's more important than you thought.

At 4:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Law may be a "second-entry degree", but how exactly is it a doctorate? you need a bachelors degree first for a doctorate, and that is not necessary to get into law. For a post secondary doctorate, don't you need to spend close to 10 years in school? For a law degree, it can be done in minimum 5 or 6. That's a pretty substantial difference.

Seeing how the US is that only country in the world that has JD's, I don't see how this would be a problem working internationally. Unless you wanted to practice in the US, where a Canadian law degree would be useless.

At 5:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the most recent commenter (4:46) need only be referred to previous postings. Like an MD (&c.), the JD is not a doctoral degree, does not pretend to be, &c., &c.

An actual doctoral degree, such as a Ph.D., does, of course, require an undergraduate education. Such a general statement is possible, and seems so obviously correct, because the credential "Doctor of Philosophy" is awarded in the same way, for roughly the same level of academic achievement, throughout the world. If it were a credential awarded to two groups of people - let's say (1) those with 10 to 12 years of training and (2) those with half as much - what we'd have is a bunch of people walking around with the same credential but very different educational backgrounds and levels of achievement.

Probably you'll agree it would make sense to distinguish these groups in some way - perhaps by reserving "Ph.D." for group (1) and awarding a different credential to group (2). Probably you'll agree it would make sense to do so even if actual cases where the disparity is problematic are few.

At 3:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am all for JD.

LLB is a bachelor's degree originated from UK where they still admit law students from high school.

No Canadian law schools will admit students straight from high school.

All Canadian law schools require some sort of university-level education.

Most law students in Canada have already obtained their bachelor's degrees.

Therefore, it is more appropriate for law schools in Canada to offer the JD degree.

At 5:53 PM, Blogger a blawger said...

Nice. A perfectly logical arguement. I like it.

At 10:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think with Canada should move to the J.D., but not because it is a doctorate or equivalent to the Ph.D. - it isn't - but because the J.D. is a first professional degree like the M.D. and D.D.S.

The official definition in the US is as follows:

"An award that requires completion of a program that meets all of the following criteria: (1) completion of the academic requirements to begin practice in the profession; (2) at least 2 years of college work prior to entering the program; (3) at total of at least 6 academic years of college work to complete the degree, including prior required college work plus the length of the professional program itself. First-professional degrees may be awarded in the following 10 fields:

Chiropractic (D.C., D.C.M.)
Dentistry (D.D.S., D.M.D.)
Medicine (M.D.)
Optometry (O.D.)
Osteopathic Medicine (D.0.)
Pharmacy (Pharm.D.)
Podiatry (D.P.M., D.P., Pod.D.)
Veterinary Medicine (D.V.M.)
Law (LL.B., J.D.)
Theology (M.Div., M.H.L., B.D., or Ordination)

Professionally-oriented degrees in engineering or business don't count under this definition. Law would count under this definition 99% of the time - people with 2 years under their belt are extremely rare in law school. And these people tend to take courses they do well in anyway and don't have to meet major/graduation requirements. UofT requires at least 3 years, and I honestly think people should have 4-year degrees prior to entry, but I can live with 3. The vast majority have 7 years of post-secondary education, and a "bachelor's degree" is an insult.

At 7:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

as an aside, you can go to McGill (or any quebec law school, for that matter) without any university experience whatsoever.

At 4:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Buy American.

At 11:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bachelor or doctoral degree? I just want to remind you that there is actually something in-between that you could consider - a Masters degree.

Yours aerospace engineering cousin, M.A.Sc.

At 9:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you are not practising law, it matters a great deal.

Try explaining to an HR department that an LL.B. is not the same as "an undergraduate degree in law", which to me is a BA with a major in law.

These two things are not equivalent at all.

At 2:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

10:04, thanks for the definition. As I understand it, the JD is a US-only degree, so I'm basing the following on that assumption.

According to requirement #3, students in the States would need at least 3 years of undergraduate work before they could apply for a JD program (making a total of 6 years). Many Canadian law schools will admit students with only 2 years of undergrad work--as one commenter pointed out, these students are able to take courses they know they will do well in and don't need to meet graduation requirements. For the undergraduate degree I took, the most rigorous and intensive courses required were reserved for 3rd year+ students, except with special permission.

So, this makes me wonder: are students who only have 2 years of undergrad work (total of 5 years after finishing law degree, not 6 as per the US def'n) still eligible to receive a JD degree in Canada? I feel like if those students were eligible, it would effectively quash the argument that a JD degree will better reflect our level of education as compared to our UK counterparts. There would be no way of knowing which people holding a JD had met the official JD requirement for 6 years of study, and which had met the more relaxed requirement which would allow students with only 5 years to get a JD. My point: If we're going to switch to a US degree, we should standardize the requirements to obtain that degree.


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