Thursday, November 5, 2009

A dilemma of degrees

A long time ago, I graduated from law school and got a diploma that says I have an LLB (Bachelor of Laws) degree. It sounded ok to me at the time. The diploma is on the way in my office although the view of it is somewhat obscured by all the other junk in there (I was trained to not see clients in my office so it is not impressing anybody except the cleaners).
Now I have a chance to switch it for the degree of JD (Juris Doctor).
Some people think that it needs to be made clear that an LLB, despite being a bachelor's degree, is not a first degree. Almost everyone who earns one today or when I went to law school already has an undergraduate degree, another Bachelor's degree.
In the States, the common degree for lawyers is the JD. Canadian law schools that used to give out LLBs are switching to giving out JDs.
Somebody wants to make sure that everybody understands that Canadian lawyers generally have two degrees and that the law degree is a graduate degree. The Wikipedia mentions that English LLB degrees do not require prior degrees whereas Canadian ones generally do. When I went you only needed two years of university, now anything less than a degree is an option mainly for mature students.
So, for a nominal fee, I can get a nice new JD degree.
By the way, I do not have to mail back my LLB either. Hmm, something else for the wall.
So, what to do?
My parents got my undergraduate degree very nicely framed. I got everything else framed the same way at a cost of $400 which was and is for me a small fortune. I put all the framed paper (degrees and legal qualifications) in a box. Then, one day, the lawyer in the next office stuck her degrees, etc. on the way. She did it with thumb tacks and no frames but the main thing is that everyone saw how many she had. I felt unqualified so I ended up putting mine up too and there they have stayed. The most impressive of them is my certificate of being a Notary Public, a qualification which cost me no study and only $100. It even has a bit of ribbon on it.
The obvious problem is getting my JD degree, if and when I get one, framed to match the others.
There is a little urgency, the fee for getting the JD will go up after a while so I can save a few dollars by doing it now.

At various times I have thought it would be good to get a Masters degree, an LLM. Getting this JD is much easier with few fees and no work. Very attractive.
But if I get my JD and put it up on the wall will I take down my LLB or put a note in front of it saying replaced by JD or will I secretly hope that people will think I have a third degree and that it is some kind of doctorate? Am I so vain? Perhaps someone will even say Dr. Lantz and will I immediately snap back that it is inappropriate to call me that with a JD instead of a D.Jur. (Doctor of Jurisprudence)?

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