A jurist or jurisconsult is a professional who studies, develops,
applies, or otherwise deals with the law. The term is widely used in
American English, but in the United Kingdom and many Commonwealth
countries it has only historical and specialist usage. In most of
Continental Europe any person who possesses a degree in law is called a
English speaking countries
There is no alternative word for "jurist" in English-speaking countries
outside the U.S. Members of the general public are largely unaware of
the term and are likely to confuse it with "juror". Although the word
"jurist" can technically be applied to anyone having a thorough
knowledge of law, American lawyers usually use the word only to refer to
a judge. The term "legal professional" may be used for convenience.
Within the legal community usage of "jurist" is usually restricted to
eminent judges or academics. Apart from this people working in law are
usually described as "lawyers" or solicitors if they are practicing law,
or as belonging to a more specific branch of the legal profession, such
as barrister or advocate, judge or law professor. Less qualified
professionals may be referred to as paralegals.
In some of Continental Europe, anyone with a degree in law (e.g., a
bachelor or master of laws) may be called a jurist. Such jurists can
practice law as employees hired by law firms or legal departments of
other business entities. Being a jurist does not necessarily mean that
one has the privileges usually attributed to "attorney" or "solicitor".
In Germany e.g. you do a first Examination ("Erstes Staatsexamen") after
four years of University studies. If you pass the Examination you are a
"Referendar jur." ("Jurist"). With this you can apply to a two year
post-university education called "Referendariat". If you do this, you
are employed by a German State Government and work in several positions;
normally: judge assistant, assistant to an public prosecutor, civil
servant and assistant to a "barrister". Then you have to do a second
Examination ("Zweites Staatsexamen"). If you pass it, you are a
("Assessor jur.") ("Volljurist"). With this title, you can apply as a
judge, public prosecutor, civil servant or you can work as a
Rechtsanwalt ("barrister"). Independently from this, some German
universities offer LLM studies, but they do not give anyone the
qualification to apply for one of the jobs mentioned above. For this
reason an LLM is considered as a degree without real benefit.
Russia and Ukraine
Law degree - jurist (often compared to an LL.M., but in fact equivalent
to the degree of Specialist specific to the Soviet educational system)
is awarded in Russia and Ukraine after 5 years of study at a university.
Note that this fused, one-degree educational scheme has coexisted with
the two-degree (bachelor's - master's) scheme since Russia launched its
higher education reform to bring the domestic educational system in
closer compliance with the Bologna accords. See also academic degree.