The use of Dr. for People who have earned JDs

By Michael Reiter, Attorney at Law

You may have read the stories in the local press about the President of San Bernardino Valley College using “Dr.” before her name.  As of today, the page linked above is titled “Meet the President of SBVC, Dr. Gloria Fisher.”

The controversy is that the doctorate comes in the form of a juris doctor degree from a California accredited law school.

What does the world think of using Dr. for those with juris doctor degrees?

JDs are the primary degree for graduates of law school in the United States at this time. You will sometimes see people who went to law school, but are not licensed used it at the end of their name, for example, John Smith, JD.  In fact, on the page linked above, the note is signed, “Sincerely, Gloria M. Fisher, J.D. [,] President”

A good overview of a non-legal perspective on the issue is from this blog post from the Economist.

A good argument is made in a post from the legal blog “Above the Law”: Any Lawyer Who Calls Himself ‘Doctor’ Like a Ph.D. Should Get Punched In The Mouth

I am a part-time instructor of code enforcement law at Santiago Canyon College.  I get paid more with a juris doctor degree (which is treated like an MA), but I assure you I have never, and will never, use Dr. before my name

‘The use of the term “Esquire” is another topic (briefly discussed in the Above the Law post) for another day.

Copyright 2014 Michael Reiter

Milligan, Beswick, Levine & Knox, LLP
A: 1447 Ford St. #201
      Redlands, CA 92374
T: (909) 296-6708

About Michael Reiter, Attorney at Law
Michael Reiter is a Redlands, California-based lawyer, serving San Bernardino County and Riverside County in Southern California's Inland Empire. Michael Reiter is a lawyer practicing in the following fields of law: Municipal Law, Code Enforcement Law, Small Business Law and Real Estate Law. Michael Reiter practices in all the local courts, including San Bernardino Superior Court, Riverside Superior Court, and the United States District Court for the Central District of California. Michael Reiter was admitted to the California State Bar in 1998. Michael Reiter was Assistant City Attorney for the City of Redlands, a Deputy City Attorney for the City of San Bernardino, and Staff Attorney for Legal Aid Society of San Bernardino. Michael Reiter serves all of San Bernardino and Riverside County, Orange County, and Los Angeles County. Michael Reiter can be reached at (909) 296-6708, or by electronic mail at 300 E. State St. #517 Redlands CA 92373-5235

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