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
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      Redlands, CA 92374
T: (909) 296-6708

In-House City Attorneys in Southern California: When Were They Admitted, Where Did They Attend Law School, and What University Did They Attend?

By Michael Reiter, Attorney at Law


This is a continuation of my series about Southern California In-House City Attorneys in California.  This information is gleaned from open and public sources, all online, including the State of California’s website.  This may seem like very personal information, but it is not.  Each of these attorneys are public officials and public figures.  They knew the job was dangerous when they took it.


City Name Name of City Attorney Tenure Law School Undergrad Admitted in CA
San Bernardino County
San Bernardino James F. Penman 1987 Western State Univ. CSU San Bernardino 1980
Redlands Daniel J. McHugh 1994 McGeorge SOL Rutgers 1983
Riverside County
Moreno Valley Robert Hansen 2010 Southwestern Univ. Brigham Young Univ. 1987
Riverside Gregory Priamos 2001 Loyola Law School U.S.C. 1988
Los Angeles County
Burbank Dennis Barlow 1997 Univ. of San Diego Brigham Young Univ. 1975
Compton Craig J. Cornwell 2008 Whittier College SOL U.C. Santa Barbara 1994
Culver City Carol Schwab 1997 U.C. Hastings SOL U.C. Berkeley 1985
Glendale Scott H. Howard 1990 Southwestern Univ. U.S.C. 1976
Hawthorne Russell I. Miyahira 2009 U.C. Hastings SOL U.C.L.A. 1986
Inglewood Cal P. Saunders 2006 U.C. Hastings SOL CSU Long Beach 1975
Long Beach Robert E. Shannon 1998 U.C.L.A. SOL U.C.L.A. 1969
Long Beach City Prosecutor Doug Haubert 2010 McGeorge SOL U.C. Santa Barbara 1999
Los Angeles Carmen Trutanich 2009 South Bay Univ., Harbour City, CA U.S.C. 1979
Palmdale Wm. Matthew Ditzhazy 1994 Michigan State Univ. Univ. of Michigan 1985
Pasadena Michele Beal Bagneris 1997 UC Berkeley/Boalt Hall Stanford 1984
Redondo Beach Michael W. Webb 2005 U.C. Hastings SOL U.C. Santa Barbara 1987
Santa Monica Marsha Jones Moutrie 1993 U.C.L.A. SOL U.C.L.A. 1976
Torrance John L. Fellowes III 1993 U.S.C. Law School U.C. Irvine 1981
Anaheim Cristina Talley 2009 U.C.L.A. SOL Cal. Poly Pomona 1982
Huntington Beach Jennifer McGrath 2002 McGeorge SOL U.C.L.A. 1995
Newport Beach David R. Hunt 2008 McGeorge SOL U.C. Irvine 1983
Orange David A. DeBerry Western State Univ. San Diego State 1989
Santa Ana Joe Straka 2011 Cleveland-Marshall SOL Kent State 1987
Ventura County
Oxnard Alan Holmberg 2008 U.S.C. Law School Oberlin 1975
Simi Valley  Tracy M. Noonan 2009 Southwestern Univ. CSU Long Beach 1994
Thousand Oaks Amy Albano Albany Law School S.U.N.Y (Unknown Location) 1982
Ventura Ariel P. Calonne 2007 U.C. Hastings SOL U.C. Riverside 1983
San Diego County
Carlsbad Ronald R. Ball Santa Clara Univ. Stanford 1977
Chula Vista Glen R. Googins 2010 UC Berkeley/Boalt Hall Dartmouth 1988
Escondido Jeffrey R. Epp 1996 Univ. of Wyoming COL Univ. of Wyoming 1986
National City Claudia Silva 2010 Univ. of San Diego U.C.L.A. 1993
Oceanside John P. Mullen 2006 Univ. of San Diego U.C. San Diego 1992
San Diego Jan Goldsmith 2008 Univ. of San Diego American Univ. 1976
Vista Darold Pieper 2005 U.S.C. Law School U.C.L.A. 1971
El Centro Luis F. Hernandez 2008 UC Berkeley/Boalt Hall Santa Clara Univ. 1979

For Law Schools, this is the tally:   U.C. Hastings has  five active in-house City Attorneys,  University of San Diego School of Law has four, McGeorge has four, Boalt Hall (U.C. Berkeley) has three, U.C.L.A. has three, U.S.C. has three, Southwestern has three, Western State University has two, Loyola, Santa Clara, Albany, Whittier, Michigan State, Univ. of Wyoming, Cleveland-Marshall, South Bay University are tied for one a piece.

I am not an in-house City Attorney, but as frequent readers of this site will note, I am a former Deputy City Attorney for the City of San Bernardino, and a former Assistant City Attorney for the City of Redlands.  Roughly, I worked about nine and a half years for those cities, and I was also a clerk in law school for the City of Santa Clara.  I graduated from the Santa Clara University School of Law and the University of California, Berkeley.  I have been admitted in the State of California to practice continuously since 1998.  In private practice, I work in municipal law both for the public and on behalf of public agencies.

Previous posts in the series of In-House City Attorneys in Southern California:

Cost Per Attorney for In-House City Attorney’s Offices in Southern California

Ratio of Attorneys to Population in In-House City Attorney’s Offices in Southern California

An Abbreviated Version of the Chart of In-House City Attorney’s Offices in Southern California

In-House City Attorney’s Offices in Southern California

The information you obtain at this blog is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is established by reading or commenting on this blog. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation.

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