The Academic Doctorate in Law: A Vehicle for Legal Transplants?

42 Pages Posted: 29 Apr 2008 Last revised: 17 Mar 2014

Date Written: March 3, 2009


In our current era of globalization, there has been considerable writing about the ways in which U.S. ideas about law are diffused to other countries. While some of this literature refers to graduate degrees for foreign lawyers, most authors ignore the nature of the degree itself and the complexity of the U.S. legal educational environment in which the degree is pursued. This article argues that the academization and internationalization of U.S. legal education, combined with the growing dominance of U.S. legal models worldwide, has produced an unprecedented level of interest in U.S. S.J.D. and J.S.D. degrees during the past ten to fifteen years. Moreover, in countries in which the degree is most popular, that popularity marks the reception of not only U.S. doctrinal models, but also theoretical and interdisciplinary scholarship as practiced at a small number of leading U.S. schools. These phenomena suggest important insights about the changing nature of U.S. legal education and its impact on a world stage.

Keywords: S.J.D., J.S.D., graduate legal education, globalization

JEL Classification: K10

Suggested Citation

Hupper, Gail J., The Academic Doctorate in Law: A Vehicle for Legal Transplants? (March 3, 2009). Journal of Legal Education vol. 58, September 2008, p. 413-454, Available at SSRN:

Gail J. Hupper (Contact Author)

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United States

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