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Non-Attorney using "J.D." Designation

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bokaba

Member
What is the name of your state (California)?

May a non-attorney advertise/use the designation of "J.D." assuming the person actually has such a degree, is not offering legal services, or creating an assumption that he/she is an attorney?
 


justalayman

Senior Member
What is the name of your state (California)?

May a non-attorney advertise/use the designation of "J.D." assuming the person actually has such a degree, is not offering legal services, or creating an assumption that he/she is an attorney?
Lets see; if they have a JD, you are wondering if they can toss JD after their name and have a problem with it if they do.

There is a difference between having a JD and practicing as an attorney which requires a license. You did say they aren’t holding themselves out as an attorney, correct?

You do realize having a JD doesn’t mean they are limited to practicing as an attorney, right? There are other avenues those with a JD can follow.


I suppose you would just go bonkers if he referred to himself as Dr. Nameless, which he is entitled to given he does hold a doctorate level degree.
 

quincy

Senior Member
What is the name of your state (California)?

May a non-attorney advertise/use the designation of "J.D." assuming the person actually has such a degree, is not offering legal services, or creating an assumption that he/she is an attorney?
A non-attorney may not hold themselves out to be an attorney. Someone with a Juris Doctor degree can indicate they have one. Without passing a Bar exam and being licensed, however, the holder of a J.D. is not authorized to practice law (in most states).
 
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latigo

Senior Member
What is the name of your state (California)?

May a non-attorney advertise/use the designation of "J.D." assuming the person actually has such a degree, is not offering legal services, or creating an assumption that he/she is an attorney?
What are you driving at with this senseless, seemingly paradox that we are to "assume that a person actually has a J. D., (yet) is creating an assumption that he/she is an attorney"?!

Go back to the drawing board.
 

quincy

Senior Member
Here is a link to an American Bar Association article that addresses legal titles, ethics codes and the unlicensed practice of law:

http://www.abajournal.com/magazine/article/tussle_over_titles/

The key question when using ANY title is does the use of the title confuse consumers into thinking the title-holder is something he is not. This concern over consumer confusion is one reason why lawyers do not call themselves doctors.
 

Ohiogal

Queen Bee
If they are not admitted to the bar, the bar rules are pretty immaterial.
Not when it comes to UPL. The bar can actually force prosecution on that issue or take it to the state Supreme Court so that the person is reprimanded/sanctioned. At least in Ohio and probably other states.
 

cbg

I'm a Northern Girl
However, one who has earned a J.D. degree is entitled to say they have. What kind of world are we living in when it's even SUGGESTED, that someone is not entitled to use A TITLE THEY HAVE WORKED FOR AND EARNED because maybe someone might think they are practicing a profession they are not?
 

quincy

Senior Member
However, one who has earned a J.D. degree is entitled to say they have. What kind of world are we living in when it's even SUGGESTED, that someone is not entitled to use A TITLE THEY HAVE WORKED FOR AND EARNED because maybe someone might think they are practicing a profession they are not?
The reason people cannot use certain titles is so consumers are not confused into thinking someone is something they are not. It is as simple as that. Consumer protection - and the reason for UPL laws.
 

Taxing Matters

Overtaxed Member
The reason people cannot use certain titles is so consumers are not confused into thinking someone is something they are not. It is as simple as that. Consumer protection - and the reason for UPL laws.
True, but stating JD after your name does not imply you are an attorney. It simply states the degree earned. That is because, unlike the designation MD, the JD is not automatically associated in the mind of the typical consumer with the person having a license to practice the profession. That is likely because most attorneys do not have the habit, as do doctors, of going around with their degree designations splashed after their names. :D
 

FlyingRon

Senior Member
Not when it comes to UPL. The bar can actually force prosecution on that issue or take it to the state Supreme Court so that the person is reprimanded/sanctioned. At least in Ohio and probably other states.
UPL isn't bar rules. That would be the law. Bar rules by and large have no meaning to non-members and their sanctions (whatever they could) would be ineffectual.
 

FlyingRon

Senior Member
Not being admitted to the (state) bar isn't an outright bar to law practice. I know quite a few attorneys who have practices limited to federal efforts. And putting initials after your name alone isn't enough to say that you're practicing law or offering to practice.

I know quite a few MD's who you wouldn't want near patients, but they're still called Doctor.
 

quincy

Senior Member
True, but stating JD after your name does not imply you are an attorney. It simply states the degree earned. That is because, unlike the designation MD, the JD is not automatically associated in the mind of the typical consumer with the person having a license to practice the profession. That is likely because most attorneys do not have the habit, as do doctors, of going around with their degree designations splashed after their names. :D
I agree that having J.D. after your name is only stating your degree but I think J.D. can imply to consumers that the J.D.-user is a practicing lawyer.

That said, I can't think of anyone offhand who actually puts J.D. after their name.

I know a few law professors who won't even call themselves lawyers although they have J.D.s, have passed the Bar, are licensed to practice law and have in the past practiced law. Because they no longer practice law, they feel it is unethical to hold themselves out to be lawyers. They say they are law professors, not lawyers.

California has defined both the practice of law and the unauthorized practice of law in statutes (and case law and advisory opinions) and in their Rules of Professional Conduct, and the UPL is enforced by statute by the State Bar Counsel - similar to Ohiogal's Ohio.
 
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cbg

I'm a Northern Girl
Most people don't put the initials of their degree after their name (doctors excepted). But they CAN. To suggest that those who have earned one specific degree are barred from doing so because MAYBE someone might make an assumption about their profession is ludicrous.
 

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