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What is the difference between JD and ESQ?

Discussion in 'Independent Contractors & Consultants' started by AbigailDixon, Sep 4, 2019.

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  1. AbigailDixon

    AbigailDixon Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I argued with my friend and decided to turn to professionals. Please somebody explain to me what is the difference between JD and ESQ?
     
  2. flyingron

    flyingron Active Member

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    We don't do Canadian (or Nunavut) law.

    JD is Juris Doctor. It is one of the degrees that a lawyer may obtain. The other is LLD (legal doctorum). It's akin to MD, PhD, MBA, etc... as a type of degree.

    Esq. is short for Esquire. It's a courtesy title commonly used by lawyers in the US, but by and large is meaningless legally.
     
  3. Tax Counsel

    Tax Counsel Active Member

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    Close, but not quite right, at least in the U.S. You are correct that JD refers to Juris Doctor, which is today the law degree conferred by law schools as the basic law degree. But in the U.S. if you see a LL.D degree at all, it is strictly an honorary degree. You do see LL.D as a real degree in some foreign countries, however.

    In the U.S. the basic law degree used to be the LL.B, which was the Bachelor of Laws degree. (The "LL" refers to the plural "laws".) This degree was common when law degrees were indeed bachelor degrees. But that changed over the first half of the 20th century when it became increasingly required that a law school applicant first already have a bachelor's degree, thus making the law degree now a graduate degree. In recognition of that the designation of JD was created to replace the LL.B. The JD has now completely replaced the LL.B as the first level law degree awarded in the U.S. The JD is a professional doctorate, akin to the MD degree that doctors get. Neither of those degrees is the equivalent of the Ph.D.

    In the U.S. there are two more post-graduate law degrees that a lawyer may obtain, the LL.M degree, which is the Master of Laws, and the S.J.D. degree, which is the Doctor of Juridical Science degree. The majority of practicing lawyers do not obtain either one of those degrees.

    The LL.M is most often obtained in very technical or complex areas of law. The area of law in which it is most often required for lawyers have such a degree to get hired by the government or law firms is tax law. So you will see a number of law schools offer LL.M (Taxation) degrees. (I have one myself since tax law is my main area of practice. The IRS requires the LL.M in tax for the attorneys it hires, and so do many law firms that hire tax lawyers.)

    The S.J.D. degree is the law degree equivalent of the Ph.D. It is pretty much only obtained by academics, e.g. those seeking to teach law at prominent universities. It is not required to practice law and outside some universities hiring law professors I know of no legal employer that requires this degree.

    In short, there are three possible law degrees to get in the U.S. today: the JD, the LL.M and the S.J.D.
     
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  4. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    J.D. stands for juris doctor. It is the type of degree that most lawyers receive when they graduate law school (similar to B.S. standing for bachelor of science or M.B.A. standing for master of business administration).

    Esq. is short for "esquire." It is a term that some lawyers put after their names for no particular reason (i.e., it has no meaning other than to convey to others that the person is a lawyer). It's use has been going out of favor for years (in part because it comes across as somewhat pretentious).
     
  5. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    At the risk of duplicating what "Tax Counsel" wrote...

    The other? Other than J.D., the most common legal degree given in the U.S. is an LL.M. (master of laws, which is sort of a next level degree but, IMO, is really just a specialty degree). The other degree that is rarely granted and only by a few schools is the doctor of juridical science (S.J.D. or D.J.S.), which is sort of like a Ph.D for lawyers (i.e., it's primarily for those interested in scholarly research and is the highest level of legal degree one can earn). The legum doctor (LL.D) is merely an honorary degree and is also quite rare.
     
  6. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    I know a couple of lawyers in my county bar association that earned the LLB degree.

    They are still practicing lawyers, and lead very active law practices.

    One of them is still a Texas District Court Judge.
     
  7. Tax Counsel

    Tax Counsel Active Member

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    Yep, there are still some out there with the LL.B. It took awhile for all the law schools to convert to issuing JD degrees. Some of the law schools when they converted to the new designation automatically "upgraded" the previous LL.B degrees they awarded to JD degrees, but others didn't. Either way, in the end it is still a law degree. :)
     
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  8. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    the people I know that hold the LL.B seem to be very happy holders, and as their numbers shrink, they smile with pride when "newbies" ask about their credentials.

    One proclaims himself a "poor, Texas hill country lawyer".

    Those who know him smile, because "poor" he's not.
     
  9. PayrollHRGuy

    PayrollHRGuy Active Member

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    There is the something new I learned today.
     
  10. Tax Counsel

    Tax Counsel Active Member

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    One of the lawyers at the IRS national office where I also worked for a few years had a sign on his door reading "Simple country tax lawyer." He may have been from the country but the area of tax law he covered was anything but simple. We used get a good chuckle every time we saw that sign.
     
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  11. Tax Counsel

    Tax Counsel Active Member

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    It's always good to keep learning. :) The S.J.D. degree is pursued in the same manner as a Ph.D., culminating in the S.J.D. candidate submitting and defending a doctoral dissertation. I have from time to time thought about pursuing a S.J.D. because I love learning and would like the challenge. But I cannot really justify the time and the considerable expense that it would cost to do that, especially when it would not benefit my law practice in the least.
     
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  12. AbigailDixon

    AbigailDixon Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Thanx guys! I appreciate it. I compare your definition difference JD and ESQ with this article (deleted by moderator) You all almost right. Thanx!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 8, 2019
  13. PayrollHRGuy

    PayrollHRGuy Active Member

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    The almost comes from that site being wrong.

    I'm not a lawyer. I could call myself PayrollHRGuy, Esq. and there is nothing anyone could do about it other than laugh.
     
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  14. AbigailDixon

    AbigailDixon Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Hmmm. Im sorry but can anyone give an exact definition?
     
  15. KatDini

    KatDini Well-Known Member

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    JD is a college granted degree.
    ESQ is a courtesy title.

    It's really very simple. o_O
     
  16. cbg

    cbg Super Moderator

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    Since Abigail is posting from the Ukraine I don't think we need to worry about her issues any longer. The spam link to her blog has been removed. Good night, Abigail.
     
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  17. Michael Wechsler

    Michael Wechsler Administrator Staff Member

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    I'll add something for clarity.

    J.D. or "Juris Doctor" has been described above - it is a doctorate of law which is what accredited law schools in the US generally provide. It does not mean that a person is a licensed attorney who can practice law in a jurisdiction. The law school graduate must pass the state bar exam and follow through with all required procedures.

    Esquire is a title which, in the context of the US and the legal profession, is an optional and purely customary addition which many licensed attorneys use to indicate that they are licensed attorneys and it is appended to their name. There is no requirement of use and it is optional. At no time should you assume that it is being used by a licensed attorney in its generally accepted fashion. You should always investigate whether a person purporting to hold themselves out as a licensed attorney is licensed by performing a lookup in the state database at the state bar, e.g. in New York it is the New York State Bar Association Attorney Search and Verification.
     
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