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TJSL’s First JSD Dissertation Defense was a Global Affair

March 11, 2013

TJSL's First JSD Degree Awarded

On February 22, TJSL’s online doctoral (JSD) program conducted its first dissertation defense, called a “rigorosum.”  “JSD” stands for a Latin phrase that means “Doctor of the Science of Law.”  A rigorosum is the culmination of up to five years of work by the student following receipt of a J.D. or other graduate degree such as an LL.M. or J.S.M., and is conducted in a question and answer format. 

This rigorosum, conducted via videoconference, was a global affair.  It also may have been a historic first.

“To my knowledge, no other law school in the United States or elsewhere has an online JSD program,” said TJSL’s Assistant Dean for Distance Education Programs, Arnold Rosenberg, who is Director of TJSL’s JSD program.

“This was, therefore, to my knowledge, the first JSD dissertation defense ever conducted entirely online.”

The student, Olufeyisan Feyi-Sobanjo, was in Nigeria, where he resides.  The dissertation supervisor, Adjunct Professor Robert Munro, was in Florida.  The evaluators were Professor Amelia Boss of Drexel University School of Law in Philadelphia and Dr. Dionsysios Demetis in London, formerly a faculty member at the London School of Economics.  Dean Rosenberg, who organized and directed the event, was in San Jose, California.

The outcome was that Mr. Feyi-Sobanjo was granted the JSD degree and is now Dr. Feyi-Sobanjo.

Feyi’s dissertation topic was “Legal Issues and Recommendations for E‐Commerce Development in West Africa: A Comparative Analysis of the Economic Community for West Africa States, Nigeria, Ghana, United States and European Union Electronic Commerce Legal Regimes.”

Professor Boss is one of the world’s leading commercial law scholars.  Dr. Demetis is a leading international expert on Internet security, as is Professor Munro.