I have this blog post
up on Jotwell this week reviewing Gail Hupper’s article Educational Ambivalence: The Rise of a Foreign-Student Doctorate in Law.
The article is on the history of the JSD/SJD program in the U.S. which also by extension created today’s LLM. Before I read Hupper’s article I had always assumed these programs were created for foreign students to study law in the United States. Needless to say, I was wrong. These degrees were originally directed at law students in the United States interested in teaching careers. The story of their decline among U.S. students and resurgence as vehicles for study by foreigners is both fascinating and helps explain their often idiosyncratic nature today. I also argue in the blog post that their story raises deeper questions about what the advanced study of law even should be (particularly in a country like the U.S. which is deeply embedded in the realist tradition in law). Given the large number of Indian students who either consider or go to the U.S. for an advanced degree in law I thought this history would be of more general interest to readers of this blog.