Detail from the sarcophagus of Roman jurist Valerius Petronianus (315–320)

A jurist is a person with expert knowledge of law; someone who analyzes and comments on law.[1][2] This person is usually a specialist legal scholar, mostly (but not always) with a formal education in law (a law degree) and often a legal practitioner.

In the United Kingdom the term "jurist" is mostly used for legal academics, while in the United States the term may also be applied to a judge.[3] With reference to Roman law, a "jurist" (in English) is a jurisconsult (iurisconsultus).[4]

The English term jurist is to be distinguished from similar terms in other European languages, where it may be synonymous with legal professional, meaning anyone with a professional law degree that qualifies for admission to the legal profession, including such positions as judge or attorney. In Germany, Scandinavia and a number of other countries jurist denotes someone with a professional law degree, and it may be a protected title, for example in Norway. Thus the term can be applied to attorneys, judges and academics, provided that they hold a qualifying professional law degree.[5] In Germany – the term "full jurist" is sometimes used informally to denote someone who has completed the two state examinations in law that qualify for practising law, to distinguish from someone who may have only the first state examination or some other form of legal qualification that does not qualify for practising law.

Notable jurists

Main article: List of jurists

Some notable historical jurists include:

See also


  1. ^ Murray, James A. H., ed. (1901). "Jurist". A New English Dictionary on Historical Principles. Vol. 5. Oxford: Clarendon Press. p. 636. One who professes or treats of law; one versed in the science of law; a legal writer.
  2. ^ Vieto Piergiovanni (2000). Comparative Studies in Continental and Anglo-American Legal History. Germany: Duncker & Humblot. p. 236. ISBN 978-3428097562.[not specific enough to verify]
  3. ^ Garner, Bryan A., ed. (2019). "Jurist". Black's Law Dictionary (11 ed.). Thomson West. ISBN 9781539229759.
  4. ^ "jurisconsult". Dictionary.
  5. ^ Falkanger, Thor (8 July 2022). Gisle, Jon (ed.). "jurist". Store Norske Leksikon. Retrieved 1 August 2022.