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Old 04-17-2014, 08:12 PM
 
Location: State of Transition
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Originally Posted by Hamish Forbes View Post

Another fundamental difference is the time required, realistically. Hardly anyone actually completes a PhD in just three years. Often, it takes more like six, and often longer than that.
That's not an accurate comparison. A JD = 3 years post BA. A PhD = 3+ years post MA. See the difference? So you can compare the first 2 years of the JD with an MA, and the 3rd year would be comparable (in theory) to the 1st year of PhD study. It doesn't add up. In some European countries, a law degree = BA.
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Old 04-17-2014, 08:17 PM
 
Location: State of Transition
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Originally Posted by King of Kensington View Post
In a lot of countries you do go to law school after completing high school. For instance in the U.K. the LL.B. is a first degree (though you can also do a post-graduate entry level law degree in shorter time). Of course traditionally in British and European educational systems the first year of college has traditionally been covered in high school.



One criticism I've heard - not sure it's fair - is that law school is a lousy trade school and a lousy graduate school.
This is what my lawyer friends say; that it's a "glorified trade school".
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Old 04-17-2014, 09:20 PM
fnh
 
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Originally Posted by Ruth4Truth View Post
This is what my lawyer friends say; that it's a "glorified trade school".
So is medical school, really.

I collaborated with a German cardiologist who was earning his PhD after his medical degree. I remember him telling me one isn't addressed as "Doktor" there without an actual PhD, esteemed much more highly than the MD of simple medical practitioners.
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Old 04-17-2014, 09:21 PM
 
Location: My beloved Bluegrass
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Originally Posted by ukiyo-e View Post
In the sciences, which my field is in, you need to do original research whose validity and value is agreed upon by a committee of specialists in your field for a PhD. My friends who are lawyers merely took three years of courses (which right there makes law school less rigorous) and pass one bar exam, not a battery of pre-qual and dissertation defense orals.
The bar passage rate for students who successfully passed law school is between 51-89%, depending on the state. Most students take months off doing nothing but studying for it and pay exorbitant fees for prep courses too. It is one heck of a test and if they don't pass they have just wasted over three years of their lives and a lot of money (law school is more expensive than grad school).
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Old 04-17-2014, 10:00 PM
 
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Yes but even those who flunk the bar exam and never become lawyers will still have the Juris Doctor degree.
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Old 04-17-2014, 10:13 PM
 
Location: My beloved Bluegrass
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Originally Posted by King of Kensington View Post
Yes but even those who flunk the bar exam and never become lawyers will still have the Juris Doctor degree.
Yeah, I don't get that part. I think the bar should be treated like the dissertation. No dissertation - no PHd. No passage of the bar - no JD
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Old 04-18-2014, 03:32 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Ruth4Truth View Post
That's not an accurate comparison. A JD = 3 years post BA. A PhD = 3+ years post MA. See the difference? So you can compare the first 2 years of the JD with an MA, and the 3rd year would be comparable (in theory) to the 1st year of PhD study. It doesn't add up. In some European countries, a law degree = BA.
I think that a more accurate comparison is as follows: since no prerequisites of any kind are required to enter law school (which is not true of many other fields), and since the LLB is often a first degree in other English-speaking systems, the first year of law school (L1) is equivalent to a 30-credit undergraduate major, bringing everyone up to speed.

Thus, a third-year law student would be roughly equivalent to a second year graduate student who is pursuing an MA/MS or PhD. At this point, the grad student is just barely beginning to be capable of doing meaningful research at an archival, peer-reviewed standard. The PhD program continues well beyond this point to bring the student up to the appropriate standard, whereas the JD stops here. Consequently it is incorrect, in my opinion, to imagine that research done by a law student is in any way comparable to research by a PhD candidate - the 3L simply is not at a level where he or she can do serious research. Rather, he or she is generically at the level of a masters student.

Another difference concerns the application of the research to the accumulation of human knowledge. A 75-page law paper (and really, judging a paper by its length is an undergraduate kind of idea) mentioned above by another poster basically goes into the recycle bin after it is graded. In contrast, a doctoral dissertation is archived and indexed so that it can assume its position as a brick in the wall of knowledge; most dissertations yield several papers suitable for publication in peer-reviwed, archival journals.

Last edited by Hamish Forbes; 04-18-2014 at 03:55 AM..
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Old 04-18-2014, 03:53 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Oldhag1 View Post
The bar passage rate for students who successfully passed law school is between 51-89%, depending on the state. Most students take months off doing nothing but studying for it and pay exorbitant fees for prep courses too. It is one heck of a test and if they don't pass they have just wasted over three years of their lives and a lot of money (law school is more expensive than grad school).
The admission standards for law school and the academic quality of law programs vary greatly from school to school, and some are very low. The reason that many law graduates at the lower end of the continuum can't pass the bar exam is that they are basically dumb. I would be the first to agree, however, that lawyers at the top end are brilliant.

I know a number of people people who have both a JD and a PhD (patent attorneys), and they are uniformly brilliant. To a man or woman, they say that law school is a piece of cake compared to an undergraduate major in physical science or engiineering.
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Old 04-18-2014, 04:33 AM
 
Location: England
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Both are functionally equivalent in the sense that they are both doctoral degrees. Thus, many business school consider both 'terminal degrees' when hiring faculty. Admission standards, time to completion and the like have nothing to do with it.

However when JD's refer to themselves as doctor, well I find that strange.
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Old 04-18-2014, 05:19 AM
 
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Originally Posted by dba07 View Post
Both are functionally equivalent in the sense that they are both doctoral degrees. Thus, many business school consider both 'terminal degrees' when hiring faculty. Admission standards, time to completion and the like have nothing to do with it.

However when JD's refer to themselves as doctor, well I find that strange.
In my opinion, your observation is just the motivation behind the pronouncement by the ABA. The goal would seem to be to pump-up the JD so that it is perceived as equivalent to the PhD so that faculty with only a JD would, in the view of the ABA at least, be held in higher esteem.

Regarding the JD being a terminal degree -- I disagree. In the United States the JD is the first law degree, not the terminal degree. It is more akin, hierarchically, to the BS in Engineering, for example -- entry to professional practice. The terminal degree in law would typically be the Doctor of Juridical Science (SJD) which is far advanced beyond the entry-level JD (see Yale, Harvard, Virginia, et al. regarding their programs).

Last edited by Hamish Forbes; 04-18-2014 at 05:33 AM..
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