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Difference Between a Juris Doctor (JD) and Master of Law (LLM) - Check Insights Here

Subhashri Roy
Subhashri RoyUpdated On: December 24, 2019 04:27 pm IST

Check out everything about the JD and LLM courses including the eligibility criteria, duration, top colleges etc. Find out the key differences between the two top law courses in the world. 

Difference Between JD and LLM

Although both Juris Doctor (JD) and Master of Law (LLM) focus on law and the ways to apply it across different industries, both are two unique courses. Candidates should consider deciding their career paths before making a choice between JD and LLM as they vary greatly from each other. The JD is a prerequisite to practise law in the US. While JD graduates are eligible to appear for the bar exam in a state which licenses to practice law, LLM can help one gain legal training in a specific field of law such as corporate, civil, environmental, human rights, etc.

What is a Juris Doctor Course?

Juris Doctorate Degree is the highest education in the legal profession. The course is for students who seek a career as attorneys, lawyers, counsellor or any other legal professions. The purpose of the degree is to help the students with an in-depth knowledge of the legal system along with the laws that govern it. The students are required to take subject coursework apart from the general courses. The subject coursework depends on the area of interest of the student. Some of the subjects a student of a JD programme can expect are Torts, Civil Law, Civil Procedures, Public Law, Courtroom Practices, Constitutional Law, International Law, Contract Law, Business/Financial Law, Real Estate and Property Law.

Following these, a set of internships that involve hands-on experience in the field are also included in the course curriculum.

Also Read: Top National Law Universities in India 2020 - Admission Process, Fees & Eligibility

What is an LLM?

A Master of Law or an LLM is a degree awarded to a candidate who has completed advanced research and education in a particular area of law. Lawyers can pursue LLM to gain knowledge and expertise in a specific sector in order to build a better career path and professional network in the field. Different sectors/specialisations in LLM include tax law, international law, commercial law, criminal law, cyber law, energy law, intellectual property law, jurisprudence, human rights, environmental law, and more. The course has been designed in such a manner that it provides detailed education regarding trademarks and trademark law practice in India and all over the world. From the legal history to the various present-day legal constraints, a plethora of aspects of law are covered in the LLM programme.

What is the Difference Between JD and LLM?

The table given below states the key differences between JD and LLM:


Juris Doctor (JD)

Master of Law (LL.M)

Eligibility Criteria

The JD degree can be taken up by candidates who have completed a three-year bachelor's degree and academic performance as specified by the university. The candidates are also required to appear for the law school admission test whose score will be considered by the institute of the candidate's preference. Students may apply for transfer and note that one should be accredited by the country's Bar Association.

The basic criteria to be able to go for LLM is to have an undergraduate degree in law from a recognised university with not less than aggregate marks as specified by the institute of choice.


$43,000 per year

Rs 2 lakh per year

Duration of the course

3 years

1 year

Also Read: CLAT Important Dates 2020

Top Institutes for JD

Some of the best institutes for pursuing JD are:

  • University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, William S. Richardson School of Law
  • Albany Law School
  • Singapore Management University
  • Peking University School of Transnational Law
  • Seton Hall University, School of Diplomacy and International Relations
  • Australian National University (ANU) - Law
  • University of Technology Sydney
  • California Western School of Law

Top Institutes for LLM

Some of the top institutes for pursuing LLM are as follows:

Job Prospects and Career Scope of JD

Pursuing JD opens multiple doors to jobs in both the public and private sectors. Although the most common job positions for one with a Juris Doctor degree include becoming a lawyer or an attorney. Few of the job positions that one can expect after completing the degree are Lobbyist, Legal Consultant, Patent Attorney, Compliance Attorney, Real Estate Lawyer, Arbitrator, Mediator. The annual salary of an individual with a Juris Doctor degree ranges between $60,000 and $90,000.

Also Read: AILET Important Dates 2020

Job Prospects and Career Scope of LLM

LL.M is one of the most sought-after courses in India and candidates can find jobs in both the private and public sectors. Job offers to various organisations and different government departments are made on the basis of entrance exams. Individuals with an LLM degree are offered great salary packages which are ought to increase with the job type, years of professional experience in the field, etc. Few of the job positions/profiles LLM graduates can opt for are:

  • Magistrate
  • Judge
  • Legal Associate
  • Professor of Law
  • Notary
  • Oath Commissioner
  • Advocate

The average pay package of an LLM graduate ranges from Rs 5 lakh to Rs 8 lakh per annum. The JD course is a much longer and broader programme than LLM. However, both of them are two of the most popular law courses in the world which primarily focus on building competitive legal careers for the students.


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