Fri, Mar. 14, 2008

Dr. SJD or PhD in Germany

CK - Washington.   In "Doktor" Verboten for Non-European PhDs, the Washington Post touches on German police investigations of Americans who use and describe, apparently entitled to do so, their America-earned PhDs as the German equivalent Dr. Sometimes, it seems, there are no Germans who are not Doktors, although Austria actually beats Germany in addressing lawyers as doctors. So why the fuss?

Transblawg has more on the subject and narrates some of the author's experiences. The graduate of English institutions and renowned translator of legal documents who practices in Germany refused to deal with the formalities and fees required for recognition of her titles in Germany and suffered the consequences. Fortunately, in a European context, that is no longer an issue.

But non-Europeans still suffer discrimination. The policy underlying the abstruse criminal statute reflects a fear of Germans getting taken in by customers of diploma-mills and fake cops. A simple solution would be a humbler attitude, such as eliminating titles from business cards and everyday life, but that seems illusory.

Alternatively, this author would agree to a simple world-wide superscript number for each legal education program one has survived, such as L4. Lots of comments at the Post propose additional approaches.

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