Sunday, April 25, 2010

JDs and Government:

I have a JD (and an MBA and LL.M., all from Temple). That's the degree you get when you graduate from a "school of law," necessary to become a licensed attorney in the United States.

America produces lots of JDs. Arguably too many. For the average JD graduate in America, it's not easy to find a good paying (i.e., six figures or something close) law practice job.

There are other things one can do with a JD. Though, like getting a good job as an attorney, none is easy to attain. You can, like me, teach at the college level. And, for full time tenure track positions (positions that actually pay $$ off of which you can live) these jobs are harder to secure and pay less than successful law practice positions. (And at my college -- though this is not the case all colleges -- a JD is for pay and promotion a terminal degree, equivalent to a PhD). Some notable writers on political and other matters are JDs. Further, a JD may qualify you for various public and private human resources management type positions.

Or you can become a politician. Now, there are no official academic credentials required of politicians. You are either elected or appointed. And plenty are not JDs. Though JDs seem to be the vastly overrepresented credential among elected officials at most if not all levels of government.

It seems that half of the modern Presidents were JDs (Obama, Clinton, Ford, Nixon, with LBJ being a law school drop out). The other half not (GW and GHW Bush, Reagan, Carter, LBJ being a law school drop out).

The last six governors of New York were JDs (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6) with Nelson Rockefeller the last governor of NY to not have a JD.

Do readers know of any good articles or studies on the matter (how many politicians have JDs?).

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