Lawyers calling themselves doctor

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Discussions' started by Dustin, Feb 19, 2021.

  1. Dustin

    Dustin Active Member

    Oof, I know the title debate has been raised many times and this probably comes off as elitist, but I have to vent. I just saw a guy on LinkedIn whose headline included all of his postnominals (JD, MEd, BA and AA.) His nametag calls himself "Doctor." His Facebook profile includes "JD" after his name, so his Facebook friends will know he has a law degree.

    His MEd was earned at a not-great reputation for-profit online school (I won't judge, I'm attending two of those simultaneously right now!) but his JD was earned at Cooley, allegedly one of the worst law schools in America (see here:,,

    I hope he does well, because at $1375 a credit the 90-credit Cooley JD program costs a cool $123K. Add another $20K for the Masters and who knows how much for the Bachelor's and AA...I don't envy his student debt.
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  2. Vonnegut

    Vonnegut Active Member

    The ABA has a whole history on the subject of lawyers with juris doctorates referring to themselves as doctors and some of the early controversies with it. Worth keeping in mind, that not all doctors have a JD, although they're quite rare in America. It used to be a professional code of ethics violation for lawyers to refer to themselves as doctors, but the ABA revised the restriction a few years back. There are now several states where they've had ethics review panels determine that it is professionally acceptable.

    Whether they should of course... is a whole other manner....
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  3. LearningAddict

    LearningAddict Well-Known Member

    Another example of how something legal may not always be ethical.
  4. GregWatts

    GregWatts Active Member

    I find the below interesting, from a Canadian perspective. JD is considered a "professional doctorate" and only those in medical fields should refer to themselves as "doctor". This also applies to PsyD, DBA, et al.
  5. GregWatts

    GregWatts Active Member

    Oooops, just noticed that they put DBA as academic... not professional.
  6. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    "There's law, there's logic, and there's what people do." - Douglas Jackson
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  7. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    And rightly so.
  8. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Well-Known Member

    I think the biggest thing that keeps us J.D.s from calling ourselves "Doctor" is that to other lawyers it sounds so stupid. The ABA's reasoning was valid but dated. At the time they issued their ethics opinion on the subject, there were still thousands and thousands of lawyers who held LL.B. degrees who could not call themselves 'Doctor" despite the fact that the degrees (in the U.S., anyway) are identical. For a J.D. lawyer to call himself "Doctor" implied a non-existent superiority over the LL.B.s. There are certainly still some older lawyers out there with LL.B.s but virtually every law school offered shiny new J.D. degrees for a nominal fee to their LL.B. graduates so everyone who wants to can be a "Doctor". Most LL.B.s refused the offer as far as I know but I HAVE seen a couple of the "conversion" diplomas from UNM Law and elsewhere. Much bigger sheepskin, too. Personally, I'd trade in my stupid J.D. for an honest LL.B. tomorrow if I had the chance.
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  9. Lerner

    Lerner Well-Known Member

    It depends on specific countries. Italy, for instance, allows all graduates, including undergraduates, to use the title doctor. While the title doctor is reserved for those in medical professions and the purpose is, for medical graduates, to allow them to identify themselves as medical practitioners. But this is true to medical filed.
    I used to be employed in a company owned and ran by 3 Doctors. A USC PhD, A Russian Moscow State Ph.D and Israeli Technion Ph'D.
    I reported to Dr. Rappaport one of the owners. They explained that for doctoral graduates, the purpose is to recognize ones contributions to the academic field in contrast with lets say JD's who earn a qualifying degree - and not sufficiently contributing to the academic field in comparison.
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