Difference Between a Juris Doctor (JD) and Bachelors of Law (LLB) - Check Insights Here

Abhinav ChamoliPublished On: December 24, 2019

While the LLB degree holds dominance as the preferred programme for law education in India and most of the other countries around the world, US universities have switched to the JD programme. In this article, we provide some clarity on what is the difference between the two.

LLB vs JD: Similarities and Differences

The invention of Law and the legal system has played an important role in shaping the modern world. It has shaped the foundation of human civilizations and proved to be a pathway to the world as we know it today. In a world increasingly shifting towards liberal principles, it has a vital role in upholding the current societal and economic structure and preserving the modern values of equality, democracy, freedom, justice and human rights.

Having a strong and effective legal system is one of the main pre-requisites of any nation today. This is why people who can read, interpret, write, argue for and against the laws of a country (let's just call them lawyers) are held in such high regards. Even if consider the example of India, having a Constitution, which is basically a giant rule book defining the laws and governing of the country, was considered to be the primary goal in the building of the nation.

Therefore, it can easily be inferred that law is one of the most popular streams of education not only in India but around the globe. However, since each country has a vastly different set of laws and legal system, law education is specific to countries and differs not only in curriculum but many other factors as well.

In this article as we compare the LLB and JD programmes, we will be basically comparing the primary level of law education in India and the USA. To provide a quick overview, here is a comparison of the legal education system in both countries.

Level of Education RequiredDegree in IndiaDegree in the USA
10 + 2 / Class 12th(Bachelor of Arts) BA + LLBNot Available
Graduation(Bachelor of Law) LLBJD
Undergraduate Degree in LawMaster of Law (LLM)LLM
Postgraduate Degree in LawPhD in LawPhD in Law

As we can see, LLB and JD are the undergraduate degrees in law offered by colleges in India and the USA respectively. In this article, we aim to provide in-depth information about both these courses and give a quick comparison of the two.

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What is LLB?

Bachelor of Laws (LLB) is the undergraduate degree programme in law offered in India. A 3-year programme, it is essential for any person who wishes to start a career as a lawyer in India. The LLB degree became the standard for law education in India as the Indian legal system is based upon the UK.

LLB is the first degree that any student pursuing a career in law can take. It is required for admission to LLM programmes in most of the world's countries.

LLB actually stands for 'Legum Baccalaureus' in Latin and it is the standard law degree not only in India but in many other countries as well.

What is JD?

Juris Doctor or Doctor of Jurisprudence is the undergraduate law degree in the United States of America. JD was first offered by the University of Chicago Law School in 1903. Since then, US universities offered the LLB degree to law students. However, JD quickly replaced LLB as the standard degree required for practising law in the United States.

JD is a much more modern course compared to the LLB programme and even though it is the doctorate programme as per its name, candidates seeking admission to the LLM programme in the USA are required to have a JD degree.

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LLB vs JD: Quick Overview

A quick comparison of LLB and JD can be found in the table given below.

LLBJD
Full NameBachelor of LawJuris Doctor / Doctor of Jurisprudence
LevelUndergraduate Degree in Law
Required ForPractising Law in IndaPractising Law in the USA
EligibilityGraduation in any streamGraduation in any stream
Duration3 - 4 years3 years
CountriesIndia and many other countriesMainly in the USA

LLB vs JD: Eligibility Criteria

Eligibility for LLB

Candidates seeking admission to LLB colleges in India are required to have a bachelor's degree in any stream. Based upon the college of application, a candidate may also be required to have certain minimum marks in their graduate studies and score certain qualifying marks in the accepted entrance exam.

Eligibility for JD

Admissions to the Juris Doctor programme are only open for candidates who already have a bachelor's degree.

Colleges may prefer candidates who have studied law or related subjects that but that is not a mandatory requirement for admission.

LLB vs JD: Entrance Examinations

Entrance Exam for LLB Admissions

To take admission to colleges offering LLB in India, a candidate is required to take one of the many law entrance examinations in India. The Common Law Admission Test (CLAT) is the most popular entrance exam for LLB admissions in India.

Entrance Exam for JD Admissions

Candidates seeking admission to a college offering the JD programme in the United States are required to score qualifying marks in the Law School Admission Test (LSAT).

A number of law colleges in India also accept the LSAT for admission.

Also Read:What career options are available after BA LLB?

LLB vs JD: Countries

Countries Offering LLB

LLB is the first pedestal for law education not only in India but many other countries around the world as well. Some of the countries that offer the LLB degree are given below.

United Kingdom

Germany

Spain

Malaysia

Singapore

France

Australia

Greece

Portugal

Ghana

Ireland

Mauritius

Saudi Arabia

South Africa

Pakistan

Countries offering JD

JD is primarily offered by law colleges in the USA. However, the programme is available in some other countries as well. Some of the countries where JD is available are given below.

Canada

Japan

Hong Kong

Australia

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LLB vs JD: Colleges

Colleges offering LLB

Here are some of the top colleges in India offering the LLB programme.

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Colleges offering JD

Some of the top law schools in the United States offering the JD programme can be found below.

  • Yale University
  • Stanford University
  • Harvard University
  • Columbia University
  • University of Virginia
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • New York University
  • University of California - Berkley
  • University of Chicago

Basically, LLB and JD are mostly similar courses requiring the same levels of education from applicants. However, while LLB is the dominant undergraduate degree for law students in most of the countries around the world, US universities have adopted the comparatively more modern programme -- Juris Doctor.

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