Educational Ambivalence: The Rise of a Foreign-Student Doctorate in Law

131 Pages Posted: 5 Aug 2015

Date Written: 2015


This article joins the author’s two earlier ones in tracing the history of the academic doctorate in law – commonly called the S.J.D. or J.S.D. degree – at Columbia, George Washington, Harvard, Michigan, N.Y.U., Wisconsin and Yale. Conceived in an era in which law was emerging as a subject of university study, by the 1920s the degree focused primarily on training U.S. law graduates for teaching careers in U.S. law schools. Today, by contrast, the vast majority of those who pursue the degree are foreign-trained lawyers, many of whom plan academic careers in their home countries. The current article seeks to explain this shift in orientation by examining a confluence of circumstances during the thirty or so years following the end of World War II. In so doing, it raises important questions about the nature of U.S. legal education: professional training versus academic discipline; the particular nature of that discipline; and the communities (local, national, and global) that legal education serves.

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

Suggested Citation

Hupper, Gail J., Educational Ambivalence: The Rise of a Foreign-Student Doctorate in Law (2015). New England Law Review, Vol. 49, p. 319, 2015. Available at SSRN:

Gail J. Hupper (Contact Author)

Independent ( email )

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