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

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