The Juris Doctor degree, often referred to as the Doctor of Jurisprudence or the Juris Doctor Degree, is a post-graduate degree in law that may be earned by completing undergraduate law courses and through the completion of an approved program of study. In Australia, Canada, the United States and other various common law jurisdictions, the Juris Doctor is attained by finishing law school. In some countries, the Juris Doctor may be awarded by passing an exam for the doctorate, which may be administered by an independent board or institution. In many countries, a student must first achieve a basic Bachelor of Laws in order to apply for the doctorate.
The Juris Doctor degree is intended to provide graduates with an advanced level of legal knowledge and comprehension. While it does not normally require a four-year undergraduate program, those programs that do exist generally take at least three years. Attorneys who earn this degree typically possess an advanced level of legal knowledge and have completed many years of law-practice experience. As a result, the median salary for Juris Doctor graduates who are employed in the United States is about $5500 per year.
There are several subcategories of the Juris Doctor degree. The first category, and arguably the most popular one, is commonly referred to as the professional law degree. Professionals who earn this doctorate degree are commonly employed in state and federal courts throughout the country and can focus their studies towards either practicing law in an office or as a reporter. Graduates who focus on the professional doctorate often find employment in legal research and writing, paralegals, and other types of legal professionals.
Another subcategory of the Juris Doctor Degree is known as the litigation doctor. This degree is often earned by graduates who want to focus on either the litigation process in the courtroom itself. For example, a person may be interested in working in a clinic that handles a wide variety of tort cases, or a firm that represents corporations and offers a broad range of legal services. Individuals who earn this doctorate degree will be able to focus their studies on either a specific area of practice or a broad range of practice areas.
Post Juris Doctor degrees are available through both public and private universities. For those interested in obtaining their degree through a university, there are many schools that offer the degree. In California, all of the state's universities to offer Juris Doctor degrees as well as other law degrees. Some of these universities require that students attend a one year residency in the classroom before completing the degree. Students who successfully complete the one-year requirement are then allowed to sit for the exams that prove their worthiness to enter the state's courts.
The Juris Doctor Degree, unlike most common law degrees, does not require any coursework to complete. Many of the courses . . . . . . required for other law degrees can take up to two years to complete. A few of the required prerequisites for the Juris Doctor are a high school diploma or its equivalent. Also required is the completion of a course in international law. In some states, students must also pass the Certified Court Reporter exam.