find the latest legal job
Corporate Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Highly-respected, innovative and entrepreneurial Not-for-Profit · Competency based Board
View details
Chief Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Dynamic, high growth organisation · ASX listed market leader
View details
In-house Projects Lawyer | Renewables / Solar | 2-5 Years PQE
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: All Australia
· Help design the future · NASDAQ Listed
View details
Insurance Lawyer (3-5 PAE)
Category: Insurance and Superannuation Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Dynamic organisation ·
View details
Legal Counsel
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: North Sydney NSW 2060
· 18 month fixed term contract · 3-5 years PQE with TMT exposure
View details
Law dean slams JDs as ‘problematic’

Law dean slams JDs as ‘problematic’

Dan Hunter, Swinburne

The difference in education between a bachelor of laws and a juris doctor doesn’t justify the difference in cost, according to a law school dean.

Swinburne University of Technology’s dean of law, Professor Dan Hunter (pictured) has made it openly known that he is opposed to juris doctor (JD) law degrees, and is therefore not offering them at his law school.

“We’re not offering them. I’m not a fan,” Professor Hunter told Lawyers Weekly.

He said the biggest problem is that a JD is significantly more expensive than an LLB, despite difference in what students learn being minimal.

“One of the things about LLBs is that they can be taken, generally speaking, as a graduate. So you can get a Commonwealth-supported place that costs $10,000 per year, for three years, to get a law degree that qualifies you with the academic requirements for practice,” he said.

“The just over $30,000 is also payable on HECS, which is to say that you don’t pay anything until you earn above a certain salary.”

A JD, on the other hand, costs roughly $32-33,000 per year for three years, according to Professor Hunter.

“Alternatively, you could take a JD and get what is exactly the same degree essentially. At the margin there's a bit of a difference perhaps in terms of the numbers of students in the program and it might be a little bit different in terms of the resources that are put in to it – you’d hope so, otherwise it's a really bad deal,” he said.

“I think it’s a really bad deal. If I had to point to an example of students as consumers, I think that a lot of students have this idea that the JD is a better degree, somehow, than an LLB and I think that that's pulling the wool over the students’ eyes.”

Overall, Professor Hunter said the big difference is that LLB students graduate with $30,000 worth of debt, while JD students are closer to $100,000 out of pocket.

“I wouldn’t want to say that offering a JD is unethical, because it’s not, but I think that it’s problematic because you have to offer a hell of a lot more than you offer in an LLB in order to be able to justify it being three times more in terms of costs.”

Meanwhile the president of the Australian Law Students' Association, Paul Melican, has said that some online JD offerings are falling short of expectations.

“We've had an increase in the amount of JD offerings, especially online offerings, that have come about,” Mr Melican said.

“There's probably a few online JD offerings, in particular, that there are some concerns around quality that have been expressed to me from various people perhaps doing those degrees, or often from the face-to-face students in comparing what their course is with what the online offering is.”

He continued: “Also, there’s a lack of support for online offerings. It might be a good offering in terms of the lectures that are available online, etc, but then there's nowhere really to go for that extra support that people might need.”

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Law dean slams JDs as ‘problematic’
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
LCA president Fiona McLeod SC
Aug 17 2017
Where social fault lines meet the justice gap in Aus
After just returning from a tour of the Northern Territory, LCA president Fiona McLeod SC speaks wit...
Marriage equality flag
Aug 17 2017
ALHR backs High Court challenge to marriage equality postal vote
Australian Lawyers for Human Rights (ALHR) has voiced its support for a constitutional challenge to ...
Give advice
Aug 17 2017
A-G issues advice on judiciary’s public presence
Commonwealth Attorney-General George Brandis QC has offered his advice on the public presence of jud...
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...