Definitions

doctor degree

Executive Juris Doctor (degree)

Executive Juris Doctor (J.D., Latin for Teacher of Law) is a law degree. Currently, only two for-profit schools offer this type of degree: Concord Law School of Kaplan University and William Howard Taft University. Both are accredited by the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC).

Typical Juris Doctor program

Historically, graduates of an American Juris Doctor program usually seek admission to practice law in an American state even if they do not plan to practice law as a career. Accordingly, Juris Doctor programs usually require a core set of courses aimed at preparing graduates for law practice. Additionally, most electives cover "general practice" areas. For instance, graduates of a typical Juris Doctor program have taken "core" courses in:

  • real property
  • personal property
  • torts
  • contracts
  • uniform commercial code
  • federal rules of civil procedure
  • rules of evidence
  • criminal law
  • criminal procedure
  • constitutional law
  • legal research and writing
  • business organizations
  • wills, trusts, and estates

Additional coursework commonly taken includes:

  • introduction to federal taxation
  • a full-year course on a particular state's rules of civil procedure
  • family law

Need for alternate legal education

Due to the complexity of modern society, an increasing number of executives, administrators and professionals in various fields are finding that graduate-level training in law combined with formal recognition of that training in the form of a law degree is quite useful for career advancement. However, because they have no interest in practicing law they want courses relevant to their field rather than many of the courses in a typical Juris Doctor program. To meet this need, a number of schools are now offering an "Executive Juris Doctor" degree. Although an Executive Juris Doctor degree is an earned degree from a state-licensed graduate school, the program does not satisfy the legal requirements of any jurisdiction to gain admission to the bar.

Persons likely to find an Executive Juris Doctor degree desirable and helpful usually work or seek to work in middle or upper-level managerial or professional positions in fields such as these:

  • business executives
  • university administrators
  • medical practitioners
  • healthcare facility administrators
  • government administrators
  • insurance industry executives
  • investment bankers
  • trust companies
  • import/export
  • regional transportation administration

Accreditation

Concord's Executive Juris Doctor program is not accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA). Concord Law School and William Howard Taft University are both accredited by the Distance Education and Training Council which is a national accrediting agency recognized by CHEA and U.S. Department of Education. Graduates of Concord Law School's and William Howard Taft's Executive Juris Doctor program cannot, by conferral of the degree, qualify to sit for a bar exam in any jurisdiction, although the students graduating with Juris Doctor degree do qualify to sit for the California Bar Exam.

Contrary to common belief, "non-accredited" does not mean "unauthorized" or "degree mill". The education laws of various states make it illegal to confer any degree with a particular title unless the degree-granting institution is authorized by the state's Department of Education to grant that degree. In other words, "Joe" can't open "Joe's Unaccredited Law School" and say the School issues a "JD in Law" because state laws don't authorize a JD in that particular field and the School is not authorized by state law to grant a JD This is for consumer protection, to prevent Joe from misleading consumers into thinking they are getting a genuine JD

Accreditation means that an educational institution has voluntarily chosen to satisfy the requirements of a non-governmental accrediting organization. Both Concord Law School and William Howard Taft University are nationally accredited by the Distance Education and Training Council. Two of the requirements for regional accreditation are (1) the institution must be authorized by a state Department of Education to grant the degree and (2) the institution must meet the accrediting agency's criteria for minimum length of time in business, quality of faculty, etc. A number of California institutions of higher education choose not to have regional accreditation. Concord, because of its affiliation with Kaplan University, now has regional accreditation.

References

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