law degree question

What education does a US lawyer have? How long does it take to become a lawyer? What is involved? What is a JD? Thanks!

JD is a Juris Doctor, the most common law degree in America. I don’t know if anyone in the US still offers the Bachelor of Laws (LLB), but that was the common degree before the JD spread. Most law schools take three years, some spread it over four. It usually takes a BA to get in, and a law school graduate must take the bar exam for his state (and a couple of others) before practicing.

Yeah I was looking at law schools and none would say how long it takes. So a JD is a Doctorate? So lawyers can be called a Dr. ?

Technically lawyers can be called “Dr.”, however only an ass would actually demand this. In Ecuador (my Peace Corps station), on the other hand, where everyone with a degree has a title, knock yourself out. There I was “Ingeniero CJ” simply because I was an engineer. Degreed persons were “Licensiado Doofus”.

Say, if you are an engineer and are interested in the law, try patent law. You can even try it out without going to law school by passing the patent bar. Check out the Patent Office website.


A JD is not a doctorate. It is a “Doctor of Laws.” Not the same thing as a doctorate.

There is a Ph.D. in law - people who complete the requirements for the Ph.D. hold a doctorate and can call themselves “Dr.” if they want to.

Persons with only a JD who call themselves “Dr.” are full of themselves.

There are actually several “advanced” legal degrees beyond the J.D., and those, unlike the J.D., do entitle one to use the title of “doctor.” From this site:

Typically to be admitted to the bar of a U.S. state, someone has a bachelor’s degree in any subject, completes a JD program at an ABA accredited law school (three years full-time or four years part-time/evening), passes that state’s bar exam and is approved by that state’s committee on character and fitness to practice law. Some states have exceptions, such as California not requiring attendence at an ABA accredited school and New York’s little-used provision for practical study of the law after one year of an ABA accredited law school. Many states also have provisions under which a lawyer admitted in another jurisdiction may avoid some of these requirements.

The American Bar Association website has information on getting a law degree and admitted to the bar.