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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Comma quote Jay period Dee period unquote

Without exception, I think every single law school graduate whom I've ever encountered who signs his or her name "John Doe, J.D." has been a shallow, pompous dimwit. But how much more pompous must one be to sign a blog comment that way?

In my professional correspondence (but nowhere else), in the inside address, I'll append the honorific ", Esq." after the names of both male and female lawyers (other than myself). It's a cost-free sign of respect, but it actually serves a more practical purpose because it's a reminder for me at a later glance if the addressee is a lawyer or a layperson; and there are different ethical rules that govern my communications with each.

I don't really even have a problem with doctors and dentists or even PhDs who engage in the whole cult of "Doctor This" and "Doctor That." Fine, whatever.

And finally, I humbly submit the entirety of this blog as a tribute to my respect and awe for the mystic, ever-revered Rule of Law, the practical and tangible institutions of the law, and the majestic, mysterious challenges and rewards of the practice of law (when done right or reasonably close thereto).

But "J.D." by itself does not denote membership in a very exclusive club. So to my fellow law school graduates who haven't figured it out yet: Signing your name with a ", J.D." after it tells us all a lot about you, and the information so conveyed is probably useful for us to have. It's not, however, likely to create the impression that you intended.


UPDATE (Wed Sep 26 @ 1:45am): Follow-up comments here and here. On further investigation, I like the commenter — who thinks I'm a smug bastard, to which I plead nolo contendere without prejudice to the reputation of my parents — better, despite our differing political views. Still think she ought to drop the ", J.D." though, for it can lead to over-harsh first assessments (as mine was, for which, although provoked, I apologize).

Posted by Beldar at 08:56 PM in Humor, Law (2007), Weblogs | Permalink


Other weblog posts, if any, whose authors have linked to Comma quote Jay period Dee period unquote and sent a trackback ping are listed here:


(1) nk made the following comment | Sep 25, 2007 10:55:58 PM | Permalink

When I was still running a cigar store, and law school itself was four years away, a 90-year old lawyer told me that any lawyer who put anything else after his name other than "Attorney at Law" was a shyster. No "J.D.", no "Esquire", no "Attorney and Counselor at Law".

The skimpy little spaces that they give us on overnight mails nowadays obligate me to put "Esq." after the attorney's name in order to fit in the other five lines of his firm, suite #, street address, etc., but in the cover letter it's always "Mr. [or Ms.] _____, Attorney at Law".

(2) EW1(SG) made the following comment | Sep 25, 2007 11:25:21 PM | Permalink

Yesterday, Beldar said:

nor its regular readers (who generally are pretty well educated, but in any event aren't snowed by the likes of you) are going to find that anything but hilarious.

Fer a minnit or so, I wuz worried that thar chuckle & chortle that done stuck in my goozle at readin' "J.D." after J.R.'s post yestiddy wuz inap ... inappr ... wuz wrong; and I got real fluttered up when you said your 'regular readers' is 'generally ... pretty well educated,' but then I figgered 'but in any event' meant it wuz ok fer me ta' laugh too, even if the career counselor at hi school allus jes' axed me iffen I wuz gonna be a logger or iffen I wuz gonna work at the chicken packin' plant.


(3) Beldar made the following comment | Sep 25, 2007 11:52:09 PM | Permalink

Hey, EW1(SG)! Tell Earl over at the plant "Hello from Beldar," okay?

(That's especially funny because one of my recent clients in a civil case works for Tyson's in Arkansas. Good guy, bad rap, but a good result.)

(4) EW1(SG) made the following comment | Sep 26, 2007 6:48:30 AM | Permalink

Hey, EW1(SG)! Tell Earl over at the plant "Hello from Beldar," okay?

Will do!

I do have to say that the unbidden chuckle I got reading "J.D." on a trial lawyers's blog came even before reading your, uh, provoked response. My recent work history (which doesn't include the recently closed chicken plant of my hometown) gave me the pleasure of working with an ung-dly number of folks entitled to put "Ph.D." after their names, but who don't unless publishing in a peer reviewed journal. Might have something to do with the word "Applied" in the name of the physics laboratory. Or not.

In any case, I do hope Mizz J.R. takes your advice:

she ought to drop the ", J.D." though, for it can lead to over-harsh first assessments
based on an appearance of pomposity, deserved or not.

(5) Boyd made the following comment | Sep 26, 2007 8:03:29 AM | Permalink

First, a quick shout to a fellow bubblehead (I'm a CTIC(SS/NAC)(Ret.)). Here's hoping that military initials don't convey the same pomposity that the lawyerly ones do. :)

And regarding the dead cat being swung about the comments of your prior post: is that Felix the Cat, J.D., by any chance?

(6) EW1(SG) made the following comment | Sep 26, 2007 9:28:23 AM | Permalink

Boyd pipes up:

Here's hoping that military initials don't convey the same pomposity that the lawyerly ones do. :)
Heh™. I suppose that they might at that. At least among laymen. ;)

I would argue that there is a qualitative difference though, in that everybody knows what a "J.D.," a "D.D.S.," an "M.D.," or a "Ph.D." is, while them thar military letters are gibberish to most people, even if CTIC(SS/NAC)(Ret.) gives me a pretty good idea of how old you must be (at a minimum), what service schools (and where) you attended, a broad indication of your current financial status, and even whether it's possible that we have some drinkin' buds in common.

Try to get all of that out of "B.S.!"

(7) Lysander made the following comment | Sep 26, 2007 1:20:33 PM | Permalink

When I was working tech support at Second Law School, I was the one saddled with dealing with too-expectant professors and "aiding" the student help desk when some 1/3 L got too uppity. The most memorable incident was when some 2L was berating the student help desk tech for telling her she royally screwed up her own laptop (which she did). When I got there, she launched into the predictable "I'm a law student..." speech. This made the tech smile, since he knew what was coming next. I cut her off and informed her that "Not only do I already have my LL.B., but I have my first LL.M, and am three classes away from my second LL.M., so I don't want to hear your B.S. And if [name redacted] said you screwed up your own computer, you most certainly did." The reigning silence went a great way towards making that job bearable.

(8) Xrlq made the following comment | Sep 26, 2007 7:51:24 PM | Permalink

I used to remember what ", J.D." stood for, but I'm a bit hazy nowadays. I'm pretty sure it's some Latin phrase that means "flunked the bar."

(9) Kent made the following comment | Sep 26, 2007 9:40:56 PM | Permalink

I sometimes tell people I'm a doctor, but not the kind that helps people.

The only time I can remember that I've put the Ph.D. after my name is on a business card, because in my business that's kind of expected.

The only time I put a "Dr." in front of my name is in correspondence to politicians. They're the only ones I want to impress/need to impress/can impress in such a shallow manner.

(10) jaye made the following comment | Sep 26, 2007 11:51:39 PM | Permalink

Apology noted and accepted.

I wouldn't mind guest blogging about how screwed up the Democratic Party is sometime. I can tell you that I certainly agree with your assessment of their more tedious and ridiculous concerns. They should be more concerned with supporting the middle class. I must tip my hat to Republicans with their ability to get to the heart of matters. I get frustrated with Democrats who promote multiculturalism as the goal of education. And I am really sick and tired of hearing about the poor suffering Palestinians. I am pro-Israel.

I teach government, political science and criminal justice at HCCS and my department is loaded with those creatures only more obnoxious than law school grads, Ph.D.s. Using J.D. which I would never do socially is a habit borne out of working with humorless Ph.D.s who insist on being called "Doctor." Let's discuss how silly that is. It is part of (h)academe.

Alas, when I sit for the Bar in February and become licensed in May, I will simply sign my name and of course others will quake with the proper fear. Yeah, right.

Most of the time I agree with you--conservative Democrat that I am.


(11) jaye made the following comment | Sep 26, 2007 11:53:31 PM | Permalink

Oh, yeah and I also agree that it is a pompous way to sign a blog. The degree, however, didn't make me more pompous. I just am.

(12) EW1(SG) made the following comment | Sep 27, 2007 7:48:07 AM | Permalink

Mizz jaye sez:

[whole lot of good stuff snipped]

--conservative Democrat that I am.


You have done more to rehabilitate my opinion of you in a single post in the comment section of a crusty trial lawyer's blog than I would have thought possible.

I had earlier dismissed you in my mind as a pompous bitch with a tenuous grasp of the real world, no matter that you have acheived above and beyond what others in your family have been denied to date.

To follow with a second post as effective as the first is an earth shaking accomplishment. Where before now, I would have dismissed your opinions without bothering to consider them, I think I would enjoy having you along to the house to dinner in a clamorous den of ideas, initial pomposity or not.

Welcome to the blogosphere, and remember to use your power wisely.


The one and only,

(13) ech made the following comment | Sep 27, 2007 3:53:42 PM | Permalink

One of the reasons R.N.s, M.D.s, D.D.S.s, D.P.M.s, etc. sign their names with the initials is for legal reasons. Anyone can bill themselves as "Dr.", but you have to have the degree to put the initials after your name. In medical records it clarifies who has the authority and responsibility for various levels of treatment. So, my wife signs her name with initials/lastname/MD so it's clear who she is and what her scope of authority is.

As an aside, in Spanish-speaking countries, engineers use the honorific "Ing." before their name and have prestige similar to physicians.

(14) Lysander made the following comment | Sep 28, 2007 10:33:40 AM | Permalink


"J.D." means "I have a second Bachelor's Degree - the LL.B. - but since the A.B.A. is a powerhouse, and since we're jealous of Doctors (MDs), we're going to file off the "S" from "S.J.D." and call ourselves "Juris Doctors" so we can be all high-fallutin' too." - says one who has an Aussie LL.B. and a US LL.M. (I never did take those three classes; having my own shingle out is education enough.) ;)

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