I have been revisiting an ongoing argument as to whether holders of a J.D.degree are entitled to call themselves 'Doctors.' Since the formal title of the degree is Juris Doctor, the argument seems inane. I never called myself Doctor Root when I was practicing or when traveling within the United States, simply because there is a prevailing attitude among professionals, lawyers included, that 'only arrogant assholes' use the title. Then I reviewed the argument propounded by the arrogant asshole who opposed it, and pitted it against the expositions of the California lawyer who pushed its use --the inimitable San Francisco personal injury lawyer Melvin Belli. Both arguments serve their own constituency. The American Bar Association takes the position it is up to the individual lawyer to decide whether to use the title, My husband convinced me to use it when I traveled in Europe outside theU.K. He also had a J.D., and he was known as Doctor Root in his scientific workplace.
The crux of the argument against calling the J.D. degree a doctorate implies there is no academic component to enduring three years in law school and is insulting to anyone who ever took and passed the California Bar Exam. I grant that some academic regimens are tougher than others, but whoever said the academics of becoming a medical practitioner require the brain of a Stephen Hawking? And then, we get to Chiropractors, Optometrists, and Dentists. None of those jobs require dissertations. Neither does the M.D. degree. There goes the argument that lawyers cannot be doctors because they did not undergo the formalities required of a Ph.D. Neither did Doctor Michael de Bankey.
I am not prepared to say my several friends who hold the Ph.D. degree are my intellectual superiors, or that their education was more rigorous than mine. Oh, yes they survived the horrors of the dreaded dissertation, but I had the California Bar Exam, which has been called the toughest professional qualifying exam in the world. And until you pass it, you cannot call yourself a lawyer, let alone a doctor.
So, let them call me an arrogant asshole if that makes them feel better. I am ticketed on my upcoming flight to Europe as Doctor Linda Root. At least I am not wearing my tee shirt that says, Never Underestimate an Old Woman with a Law Degree.
Join me if you dare!
I am like a Janus face. On this page, I turn away the countenance of the historical novelist and expose the strange egocentric creature I call 'me.' It was time to separate the co-joined. I discovered that those who visited my blog for a glimpse of the personal Linda Root did not wish an encounter with the novelist, and the visitors who came hoping for a look at the First Marie or with intent to scale the wall of the abbey Saint Pierre les Dames for a glimpse of the Hidden Princess in my Midwife's Secret trilogy did not want to read about my childhood in Cleveland during WWII.
In a sense, what appears on this page will be a historical novel in the making--a collage of autobiographical pieces embellished with a sprinkle of whimsy, a touch of soul-searching and occasional doses of pain. We all see ourselves as through a mirror, a slightly different view that what outsiders see. I once was quoted as saying that 'too much introspection is not good for anyone.' Apparently I've changed my mind.