Juris Doctor (JD) Law and Legal Definition
J.D. is an abbreviation for 'juris doctor' or 'doctor of jurisprudence'. It is the university law degree in the United States. Most bar admission exams require J.D. as a prerequisite. . It gives him/her the license to practice law in a particular state or in federal court where the degree is recognized.
Until 1940’s, it was not mandatory to have a law school degree to get a license to practice law in many states. By 1950s, most states required a law school degree. The degree offered by most colleges and universities was master of laws (L.L.M.) degree. In the 1960s, J.D. replaced the L.L.M. as the primary degree awarded by law schools.
Generally, the requirements to achieve J.D. include completing a particular number of class hours and attending mandatory courses such as contracts, torts, civil procedure, and criminal law. All states require that students must pass a course on professional responsibility before receiving a J.D. degree. J.D. holders are treated similar to research doctorate degree holders by academic policies.