As mentioned earlier, the Juris Doctor is a degree that prepares the recipient to enter the profession just like the M.D. degree in the medical profession. While the Juris Doctor is the only degree necessary to become a professor of law or to obtain a license to practice law, it is not a “research degree”.
Research degrees in the study of law are the Master of Laws (LL.M.) which requires the Juris Doctor or LL.B. as a prerequisite. However, the American Bar Association has issued a council statement advising that Juris Doctor be considered as being equivalent to the Ph.D. for educational employment purposes. The United States Department of Education and the National Science Foundation do not recognize the Juris Doctor or other professional doctorates among the degrees that are equivalent to research doctorates. The program of study for Juris Doctor has remained substantially unchanged since its creation, and is a comprehensive study of the substantive law and its professional applications. Hence a Juris Doctor program requires no thesis, although a lengthy writing project is sometimes required. As a professional training, it provides sufficient training for entry into practice as no apprenticeship is necessary to sit for the bar examination.
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