Sunday, January 23, 2011

According to Ohio, "JD" means Licensed Attorney - image

I'm slowly but surely crossing states of the list of places I'm willing to live. Arizona came off a long time ago and I'm officially putting Ohio on notice.

The ABA Journal recently reported that an Ohio judge ruled that a disbarred law grad can't use 'JD' after his name. The person at issue, Bruce Andrew Brown, is definitely a shady character. He has an extensive criminal record that includes multiple felonies (grand theft and forgery just to name a few), for a more complete list see the Supreme Court of Ohio Report. Long story short: Shady fellow who lies and steals a lot is disbarred in 1992. He uses his 'JD' title to mislead people into believing that he's an attorney, kind of frequently. Ohio slams him with the (rightful) conviction of practicing law without a license. So far I'm on board.

Here's where I think the profession starts sounding douchey. The judge also ruled that Brown can't use "Esq.," "Esquire," "Juris Doctor" or "JD" after his name. Seriously? This is something we care about? It conjures up images of the Princess Diana situation post-divorce. Is there anyone out there who thinks those policies are useful or relevant?

Worse, it's just inaccurate. He may not be the best representation of the legal profession, but Mr. Brown has, in fact, earned his JD (from Columbia Law School none the less). If "JD" means you are a licensed attorney, then the preparation and application for the bar exam should be included in my tuition and law school training. My law school has supplied me with no shortage of fast talking lines about how "applicable" my degree will be even if I don't practice. Doesn't that mean that whether or not I'm licensed I'm still a "JD"?

Mr. Brown is a loser but that doesn't mean a judge in Ohio can deny him an accomplishment he earned long ago. And really, at the end of the day does it matter what the letters behind his name are when the address below them belongs to a county jail?


  1. I honestly can't figure out the reasoning of this judge. As an initial matter, how does the state of Ohio have the right to tell him he can't do this? I get that they can tell him not to practice law, but isn't there a first amendment problem here, so long as he's not soliciting business? And what about people who never take the bar? Are they forbidden from using "J.D." so as not to mislead people into think they're attorneys?

    1. ...our Mr. Bruce Brown, whatever title he uses at the moment, is in jail AGAIN as of yesterday. Grand theft...passing himself off as an attorney, took poor family's money whose house was in foreclosure, did nothing about it and when they demanded their money back, he gave them a bad check on a closed account. Way to go, those of you that stick up for him....his stint in prison made him smarter, now he's back in again, probably will get out and cheat people again!!!

  2. Nice post. Taking away Mr. Brown's J.D. is B.S.

  3. Mmmm, yeah. Former Ohio resident, apparently not moving back any time soon. I use JD after my name professionally, because my legal education is relevant to my job, but I'm not an attorney (having never taken - nor been required or expected to take - any bar). AWESOME!

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