JAG law/Foreign Area Officer--decision help!

(Applications Advice, Letters of Recommendation . . . )

Which option to go with....

Option 1
0
No votes
Option 2
2
50%
Option 3
2
50%
 
Total votes: 4

Runner2008
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JAG law/Foreign Area Officer--decision help!

Postby Runner2008 » Mon May 27, 2013 11:14 am

edit.
Last edited by Runner2008 on Sat May 23, 2015 8:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Runner2008
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Re: JAG law/Foreign Area Officer--decision help!

Postby Runner2008 » Mon May 27, 2013 11:22 am

Anyone??

20141023
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Re: JAG law/Foreign Area Officer--decision help!

Postby 20141023 » Mon May 27, 2013 11:28 am

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Last edited by 20141023 on Mon Feb 16, 2015 12:00 am, edited 1 time in total.

20141023
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Re: JAG law/Foreign Area Officer--decision help!

Postby 20141023 » Mon May 27, 2013 11:34 am

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Last edited by 20141023 on Mon Feb 16, 2015 12:00 am, edited 1 time in total.

Runner2008
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Re: JAG law/Foreign Area Officer--decision help!

Postby Runner2008 » Mon May 27, 2013 11:37 am

Ok, thanks. Yeah you're probably right, sort of outside the mainstream of posts....

Anyway appreciate the input!

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twenty
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Re: JAG law/Foreign Area Officer--decision help!

Postby twenty » Mon May 27, 2013 12:49 pm

Pretty familiar with military law, FLEP is a bit of a grey area for me, though. Out of curiosity, how are you a FAO at 27? o_O

It honestly depends on your priorities here. If you *really* want JAG, and nothing else really sounds that great to you (i.e, feds, biglaw, etc), do Marquette and hope for FLEP. You understand the risk here, though -- if there's a good chance this doesn't happen, you've wasted a whole bunch of time in school working on a degree that won't count for anything.

First and foremost, what's your GPA? If you're a 2.76, you're not going to a great school regardless, and you may as well do Marquette -- since if you did decide to do law school later on, that's about the best school you'd get into regardless. If you're a 3.5-3.7, you're in a significantly better position. Come back and let us know.

Also, if you don't mind, I'm going to have a few questions for you as well. I would honestly take JAG/FAO over a SCOTUS Clerkship, and I'm trying to figure out how to best put myself in a position to achieve that coming from the civilian side. :)

20141023
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Re: JAG law/Foreign Area Officer--decision help!

Postby 20141023 » Mon May 27, 2013 1:02 pm

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ManOfTheMinute
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Re: JAG law/Foreign Area Officer--decision help!

Postby ManOfTheMinute » Mon May 27, 2013 1:05 pm

kappycaft1 wrote:
twentypercentmore wrote:I would honestly take JAG/FAO over a SCOTUS Clerkship, and I'm trying to figure out how to best put myself in a position to achieve that coming from the civilian side. :)

Why, may I ask? I haven't looked into anything about Judge Advocates (because I'm not interested in anything military), but do they get paid well or something?


You get to work with Catherine Bell

20141023
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Re: JAG law/Foreign Area Officer--decision help!

Postby 20141023 » Mon May 27, 2013 1:13 pm

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twenty
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Re: JAG law/Foreign Area Officer--decision help!

Postby twenty » Mon May 27, 2013 1:15 pm

kappycaft1 wrote:
twentypercentmore wrote:I would honestly take JAG/FAO over a SCOTUS Clerkship, and I'm trying to figure out how to best put myself in a position to achieve that coming from the civilian side. :)

Why, may I ask? I haven't looked into anything about Judge Advocates (because I'm not interested in anything military), but do they get paid well or something?


This is one of those "for me, personally" things; SCOTUS Clerking is fabulous, but ultimately not for me, since my goal is to stay as far away from biglaw as possible. JAG is already kind of the conglomeration of everything I'm looking for in a first legal job, and combined with the hyper-prestigious FAO, is about as close as it gets to practicing international law outside of working for Interpol.

20141023
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Re: JAG law/Foreign Area Officer--decision help!

Postby 20141023 » Mon May 27, 2013 1:25 pm

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twenty
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Re: JAG law/Foreign Area Officer--decision help!

Postby twenty » Mon May 27, 2013 2:08 pm

kappycaft1 wrote:JAG is already kind of the conglomeration of everything I'm looking for in a first legal job,


I'm in a bit of a unique situation where I have a substantial boost when it comes to federal hiring (DOJ and AUSA specifically), though I only get to use it once. The feds also have a pretty significant mandatory veteran's preference that makes that boost even bigger. In short, my resume combined with VP would jump me to the front of the line at insanely-competitive federal positions after 4-8 years of military law. The military also continues giving me seat time on the federal side even though I'm not working in a civilian capacity.

That's aside from the fact that I'm ultimately going to have to pay sticker at whatever school I choose (stupid no-GPA thing), which means I'll have to do LRAP. The way the military's pay scale is set up, a substantial amount of your salary comes from tax-free allowances, which means for LRAP's purposes, I might only be making 45k a year (thus no participant contribution), but in reality I'm making closer to 83k.

I have a former JAG in my fed office who absolutely loved his job; the only reason he left is because his wife had triplets (o_O) and needed a 9-5 working from home 3 to 4 days a week. Before JAG he had been in OIG, but fully felt that the JAG/FAO combo was pretty much the single best position in the military outside of niche intel, which leads me to:

FAO, is about as close as it gets to practicing international law outside of working for Interpol.


The reason I ask about a 27-year old being an FAO is that usually FAO spots are used as bait to get an incredibly-talented early-30's officer to stay with the military rather than jump ship for family/civilian life. It's currently the most competitive process in the Army (not sure about other branches), even more so than pilot entry programs. Training time can be 3-5 years, of which a lot of FAO trainees go "I'm outta here, thanks for the free graduate degree at NPS while being paid full time salary and trained Arabic fluency on the military's dime." If they decide to stick with it, they end up going to an embassy/attache working as both a JAG officer and an FAO. Retention rates on FAOs are significantly higher than the rest of the military, and if you want to go for O-6 you will probably have that option.

All the legal work you do as a JAG/FAO ends up being explicitly international in nature, and generally deals with the US' presence in the host country. Since there's so few JAG/FAOs, you end up being the decision maker and attorney for a huge portion of US interests.

Runner2008
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Re: JAG law/Foreign Area Officer--decision help!

Postby Runner2008 » Mon May 27, 2013 2:26 pm

Some of the statements you made wrt FAOs are correct. Some aren't. Shoot me an IM with your questions. In short, I got FAO with great DLPT & DLAB scores, prior experience abroad, experience as a university language instructor, multiple successful deployment, and a good amount of luck.

You're right about the typical age of FAOs in the army. I'm not in the army.

Thanks for the feedback!

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twenty
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Re: JAG law/Foreign Area Officer--decision help!

Postby twenty » Mon May 27, 2013 2:31 pm

Runner2008 wrote: Some aren't.


I don't mind being publicly humiliated for misunderstanding the FAO process. (In fairness, I'm coming from an Army perspective, but I'd imagine it doesn't change that much.) If you have any thoughts on where I'm not entirely correct, feel free to point them out. :)

Also, what was your cumulative undergraduate GPA?

Runner2008
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Re: JAG law/Foreign Area Officer--decision help!

Postby Runner2008 » Mon May 27, 2013 2:51 pm

edit.
Last edited by Runner2008 on Sat May 23, 2015 8:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Cobretti
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Re: JAG law/Foreign Area Officer--decision help!

Postby Cobretti » Mon May 27, 2013 3:17 pm

Runner2008 wrote:I ended up with a 3.4/162.

FAOs work in all sorts of billets--liaison, coordination & assessment teams, future operations planning, advisor roles, UN monitor teams, and as you stated, attaches. However attaché is a separate slating process and does not always require the FAO designation. There is at least one attaché in South Asia who was selected just based on exemplary military service.

Although its possible, JAGs aren't typical first choices for attaché. Why? They spend their careers in a courtroom, not a battlefield. Attaches needs to understand how the military relationship works with the in-country team. Though law is helpful background knowledge, there are other folks in the embassy with legal expertise. You're there to be the military "bridge".

FAOs can get stuck doing pretty crappy jobs too. i.e. if you're just acting in an advisor capacity for a low concern country/region on a huge command staff. Standby to be under appreciated and underutilized. I guess take that for what it's worth. If your goal is to be on an embassy/ODC or in-country team, my best advice is to get some background experience overseas and lead a successful combat arms career until you make o-5, which is when you'd be (generally) eligible. That being said, you COULD be selected as a JAG for overseas FAO billets, but you would be an anomaly without a 'regular' military background.

so you're a 27 yr old O-5? :shock:
that's high speed as shit, stay in and get dem stars

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twenty
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Re: JAG law/Foreign Area Officer--decision help!

Postby twenty » Mon May 27, 2013 4:09 pm

Runner2008 wrote:I ended up with a 3.4/162.


Hmmm... That's actually pretty decent. The thing is, if you can get up to the 168+ range, you can probably ED to a decent school and go for free assuming your GI Bill kicks in and Yellow Ribbon handles the rest. That's kind of one of those things for you to figure out with your family, though, since I think that would probably mean sitting out Marquette.

My best advice is to get some background experience overseas and lead a successful combat arms career until you make o-5, which is when you'd be (generally) eligible. That being said, you COULD be selected as a JAG for overseas FAO billets, but you would be an anomaly without a 'regular' military background.


Would it make sense to join as a reserve combat/intel officer (through OCS Army or (lolol this is super likely) DCO Navy) before/during law school? Is there this huge divide between folks with "regular" military backgrounds and those that kind of just happened to get in through Direct Commission post-law school?

Runner2008
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Re: JAG law/Foreign Area Officer--decision help!

Postby Runner2008 » Mon May 27, 2013 7:59 pm

To respond to the O-5 at 27 nonsense... I'm an O-3, just like the majority of recently-designated foreign area officers. A FAO is not a defense attache.

FAO= Somebody with an MOS (military occupational specialty or designation) that allows them to fill certain 'coded' billets thaqt require linguistic, cultural and regional expertise...i.e. foreign liaison, assessment and coordination teams, command advisers,embassy Defense Attache, combatant command (i.e. SOUTHCOM, CENTCOM, PACOM) country/region desk officers, etc.

Defense Attache= Senior military member assigned to an embassy for the purpose of coordinating U.S. military activity as it effects that country. I.e. the attache in Panama will help coordinate U.S. Navy vessel passage through the canal.

If your dream is to be both a Foreign Area Officer and JAG, the best path would be to go into the active duty component as a judge advocate, do well on the DLAB (not really a test you can study for outside basic grammar), and apply for FAO when you become eligible. If you destroy the Defense Aptitude Language Battery (110+ is generally competitive) and consistently rank among the top 10% of your peer group, you probably have a decent chance.

When it comes to intelligence (the officer variety, not the condition):
As an officer, you will really not ever have a "niche" that allows for specialization. There are plenty of intelligence officers out there and all they do is information management and reporting for the commander. The enlisted specialists are the niche folks. You as an officer will always be a people/process manager--something most lawyers aren't really keen on. TS/SCI clearance is sweet, but you're still a manager. That being said, military intelligence is largely focused on TACTICAL intelligence--i.e. how well will the soil support enemy/friendly vehicles, what's the weather going to be like, latest enemy movements. What does this really mean (besides the fact that its sort of...blah)? It means that unless you're deployed you really aren't doing much intelligence and you're most likely your command's PowerPoint guru and secret equipment vault-locker... Your job will be more boring than the infantryman/artilleryman/tanker because you just sit around twiddling your thumbs while everyone else plays with cool toys. Just some things to consider...

A reservist combat arms/intel wouldn't do you any good getting FAO, however the clearance you would get as an intel guy combined with a law background might help with three letter agency hiring later down the road.




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