Army's Funded Legal Education Program (FLEP) FAQ

(Applications Advice, Letters of Recommendation . . . )
jayhawkinaustin
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Jun 09, 2013 4:17 pm

Army's Funded Legal Education Program (FLEP) FAQ

Postby jayhawkinaustin » Wed Jun 26, 2013 11:12 pm

The following is a primer on the U.S. Army Funded Legal Education Program or FLEP for short. While all military branches have their own version of FLEP it’s the Army’s version I’m familiar with. Since I’ve started the process, I’ve had a couple of dozen officers ask me about it and so decided to write out my experiences since there is not a lot of anecdotal evidence available on the program due to its small size.

To be on the safe side and so there is no confusion, everything I write about here is based on my own opinions and experiences and in no way approved/endorsed by the U.S. Army nor reflects their views. It’s simply meant to be a guide to help that very, very small percentage of Army Officers out there who are wondering what the FLEP process is like and if it’s for them.

--------

WHAT IS FLEP?

So let’s get down to the basics first. If you’re reading this then you probably have a vaguely general idea about what FLEP. It’s explained in AR 27-1 Chapter Fourteen. Basically it boils down to the fact that every year the Army and Congress can approve UP TO 25 officers already serving in various MOS’s to rebranch JAG and that they’ll pay for three years of law school andthe Army will continue to pay you your salary AND BAH, BAS, COLA while you are attending school. So yes, if you are smart enough to get into NYU or Colombia, the Army will pay you $3300 and change a month just in housing to attend school in NYC. On top of that, by the regulation the Army must cover the entire cost of the school so you end up paying almost nothing out of your own pocket.

So what’s the catch you ask? Approximately six years of service after you graduate (for all of you without a STEM degree that equals a 9 year total commitment) and the fact that getting accepted into the program is not a gimmee. While the Army doesn’t release official figures, the generally agreeded upon numbers on various discussion boards on this site and militaryforum.com is that around 80-90 people apply a year and 20-25 are accepted. So you’re looking at a very rough 25% acceptance rate.

It’s a lot of work, but if you do get accepted you’re looking at $100,000 in education and another $200,000 or so in entitlements and pay over three years so yes, the stakes are high. Here’s the process of what I did to get accepted and what I learned along the way.

First things first: complete packages are due to by 1 November of every year.

--------

WHAT A FLEP PACKAGE INCLUDES

1. MEMO OF APPLICATION- This is your normal Army memo and goes through your BN CDR and BDE CDR. Once you contact Ms. Caron she will send you the template. On the memo you list your (a) personal information, (b) home/work addresses (c) your undergraduate school and GPA (d) what legal studies and experiences you’ve already had (e) your motivation for applying (f) what law schools you’d consider applying to (g) your LSAT score or when you anticipate receiving your LSAT score (g) how much time in service you currently have and will have when school commences (h) the name and date of the Staff Judge Advocate you interviewed with (i) your security clearance level and finally optionally whether or not you are including letters of recommendation.

If it seems like a lot, it is. This is the bread and butter of your application. It’s basically a snap-shot of you and why you want to go JAG.

BIG HINT #1: This memo must be initialed off by your BN CDR and your BDE CDR. Your packet is not considered complete until they have initialed.

2. COLLEGE TRANSCRIPT- Self-explanatory. You must request official transcripts from your undergraduate school and they must show your GPA. Average GPA for FLEP is around 3.4 to 3.5 but this is not a hard and fast rule. There’s a lot of people with lower GPAs who have been accepted and vice-a-versa, I know of two people with much higher GPAs than 3.4 (and much higher GPAs than me) who were passed up.

3. REASON FOR APPLYING- This is point E in the memo and your chance to explain why you want to leave your current branch of service and most importantly, why JAG Corp would benefit having an officer like you in their ranks.

4. LIST OF LAW SCHOOLS- There’s no hard rule for how many schools to put. I put four.

BIG HINT #2: Make sure at least one of the schools on your list (and really I’d say, a majority of them) are public. It’s okay to put private ones too. Just remember this is not a binding list. You can go to a school you didn’t put on your list.

5. DA PHOTO- In the AR it states you must have a full-length photo. That’s outdated. The standard is the 3/4ths length photo. This is your official photo and you are expected to include it as one of your enclosures in your package.

BIG HINT #3: To make sure your photo matches the rest of your packet in terms of size print off the photo in 8x11 form.

6. LSAT SCORE- Ah! The dreaded LSAT. When you are not working on your packet you should be studying for the LSAT. The average score of a person accepted into FLEP is around a 162-163. That’s in the 80th percentile which is not very easy to get- by definition you must beat 8 out of every 10 people. Like GPA the 162-163 is not a hard rule but the higher you score not only shows the FLEP board your smarts but that you put in the effort to study. Later I’ll get into the way I studied for it but just remember, it’s a test you can totally prepare for and game. No matter how smart you are, if you don’t put in the minimum effort ahead of time, you’re highly HIGHLY unlikely to score above a 160. On the other-hand, even if you’re not the brightest bulb but you put in the hours required for logical reasoning and games, a 170 is not out of question. There’s thousands of guides and courses on mastering the LSATs but I’ll get into my study method later on.

The LSAT is administered four times a year. The last time you can take the test for FLEP is the October test which is usually sometime around Columbus Day. The scores for the October test are usually released around the fifth of November. For those of you paying attention, you’ll notice that’s after the November 1st FLEP deadline. That’s okay. As long as you state what day you took the test and get the scores into Ms. Caron as soon as you get them you’ll be fine.

BIG HINT #4: The actual FLEP board does not meet until first week of December. While your packet is due November 1st, you can usually make small tweaks and send in LSATs up until the board meets.

7. STATEMENT OF YEARS OF SERVICE- Verbatim as follows: “On 1 September (year), I will have (number of) years and (number of) months of active Federal commissioned service and (number of) years and (number of) months of active warrant officer/enlisted service for a total of (number of) years and (number of) months of active Federal service.”

8. STATEMENT OF SECRET CLEARANCE- This is a memo from your S-2 stating your current clearance and what date you received it. This should also be in memo format, signed by your S-2 (CPT and above) and dated within the last six months.

9. INTERVIEW WITH SJA- This part of the application is not difficult to do but will take some time to set up. You need to set up an interview and talk with the Staff Judge Advocate (SJA) of your post or of your division/corps etc. Basically, the person your interviewing with needs to be in a SJA job and a LTC or higher. The person you interview with will then write a letter to the FLEP board about what he/she thinks of you.

BIG HINT #5: This interview is not an impromptu interview. Your SJA will be given a set of questions/criteria by the FLEP board and rate you according to these criteria. While I did not see the list my SJA was reading off of I know I was being judged on a poor/average/good/excellent scale on my military appearance and bearing, my communication skills etc. Think of this interview like NCOs do a promotion board where there are a set number of questions you know you’ll encounter (“why do you want to be a lawyer?”) but you have to be quick-witted and fast enough to answer unscripted follow-up questions as well.

10. ORB/OERs- Make sure your ORB is up to date and reflects all awards, deployments, personal data etc. I treated the FLEP board just like a promotion board and made sure that everything that was listed on my ORB was also reflected on my uniform of my DA photo and that all relevant documents were loaded in ETOPMIS. Just like a promotion board, you do not send in a copy of your ORB or OERs but the board is given a copy of them directly from HRC.

11. LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION- No Letters of Recommendation are required for the FLEP package however they are not discouraged either and due to the fact that every accredited law school requires LORs, you should get in the habit of learning to ask people for them. I sent in two letters of recommendation- one from a person in my chain of command the second from a person not within my chain of command. There is no limit to how many LORs you can include but considering it’s not a required part of the application, you may want to limit it to 2-3 or so.

BIG HINT #6: If you’re going to include LORs make sure to ask for them early and often as it takes people a while to get around to writing them. Also, ask twice as many people as LORs you’re going to use. In my case, I asked five people to write LORs and then just used what turned out to be the two best.

--------

MY PERSONAL TIMELINE

The FLEP process took me approximately four months

JAN 2012- Decide for sure to apply to FLEP program. Start learning everything I can about it while deployed. (There was not much on it…hence this guide.)
JUN 2012- Get back from deployment. Sign up for an LSAT class. Sign up to have my DA Photo Taken. Sign up for the October LSATs.
JUL 2012- Begin LSAT classes 2-3 times per week. Begin taking a couple practice LSATs. Ask my CDR and four other people for LORs.
AUG 2012- Have DA Photo Taken. Start collecting first of LORs. Start first draft of my personal statement. Schedule SJA interview. Contact my undergrad school for official transcripts.
SEP 2012- Begin having other parties critique personal statement. Have SJA interview. Get the last of my LORs. Have my S-1 update my ORB. Write the security clearance memo for my S-2 and have him sign it. Begin taking weekly practice LSATs. Get 8x11 prints of my DA photo from a Walgreens photo center.
Early-OCT 2012- Follow up with SJA and thank him for interview. Now taking practice LSATs twice a week. Take LSATs around OCT 10-12. Finalize personal statement and the FLEP memo. Give it to my CDR to have him and my BDE CDR bless off on it.
Mid-OCT 2012- Get manila folder from S-1 and send a hard-copy of my approved memo along with all of the above-listed attachments to the FLEP liaison and a copy to my branch manager. Package is now complete.
Mid-DEC 2012- FLEP results posted on https://www.jagcnet.army.mil/

--------

MY FLEP APPLICATION

Below is listed a close copy of what my finalized FLEP memo looked like with all the personal info removed. This was done in standard Army memo format.

SUBJECT: Application for the Judge Advocate General’s Funded Legal Education Program

1. In accordance with AR 27-1, Chapter 14, I hereby apply for detail to the Judge Advocate General’s Corps under the Funded Legal Education Program. If selected, I will begin legal training in the fall of 2013.

2. Application information for JOE SNUFFY 111-11-1111

a. Home Address: BLUE FALCON LANE
ANY TOWN, NY 123456
555-555-5555

b. Work Address: EASY COMPANY, 1-1 INFANTRY
BLDG 123456, EASY STREET
FORT ANYWHERE, 123456
DSN: 555-555-5555

c. AKO Email Address: joe.snuffy@us.army.mil

3. I graduated from School of Life University with a Bachelor of Arts in kicking ass and taking names. All official undergraduate transcripts are attached under Enclosure 1.

4. My legal studies completed to date include the following undergraduate courses where we studied the law such as criminal justice 101 and constitutional history 201. In high school I participated on debate.

5. My legal experiences include interning at my grandfather Joe Snuffy Senior’s Law Firm my Freshman thru Junior year of college. In addition, I’ve been on a Court Martial jury since joining the U.S. Army

6. My motivation for attending law school: I’ve loved the law since I was a child and would like to spend approximately one page single-spaced telling you about this love.

7. Law schools applied to or will consider applying to IAW AR27-1, 14-5a(1): Princeton Law School, Brown Law School, University of Alaska, My Home-state school.

9. My DA official photograph is attached under Enclosure 2.

10. I will take the LSAT on the 5 of July 2012 at The University of Nearby College and I understand that I will not be considered until I provide the score separately before the board convenes.

11. On 1 September 2014, I will have 4 years and 0 months of active Federal commission service and 4 years and 0 months of active officer/warrant officer/enlisted service for a total of four years and 0 months of active Federal service.

12. I interviewed with LTC Charles Darwin, the Staff Judge Advocate, Fort Anywhere on 1 September at the Office of the Staff Judge Advocate.

13. I presently have a valid Top Top Top Secret Security Clearance. Memorandum of Verification is attached under Enclosure 4.

14. I have enclosed two Letters of Recommendations attached under Enclosure 5 and 6

--------

IN CLOSING

All of the above may look relatively easy but trust me, it takes a while to make your application perfect. In total I spent around 100 hours working on my application and personal statement and roughly $2000 and who knows how many hours signing up for and studying for the LSATs. (The LSAT course I took cost $1500, the actual LSAT itself cost $200 and incidental fees of nice paper for my application, transportation/lodging so I didn't have to drive the night before my LSATs etc. were roughly another $200-300 or so.) If you serious about FLEP be prepared to invest a lot of hours in your application and study, study, study for the LSATs!!!

If you've got any more questions feel free to hit me up. Good luck and hope to see some of you in the JAG Corp some day!

kggaines
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Mar 02, 2015 9:52 pm

Re: Army's Funded Legal Education Program (FLEP) FAQ

Postby kggaines » Mon Mar 02, 2015 9:59 pm

Hey sir,
Thanks so much for all the information. Im currently a 2LT, DOR 13FEB15( two weeks ago). I commissioned through ROTC and I am really interested in FLEP. I was just curious as to whether one can turn down a FLEP offer if the army does not agree to provide funding for the schools on your list. For example, if one were to apply to a bunch of schools and get into a highly competitive and expensive school that the army was not willing to fund, could the applicant simply refuse FLEP assistance and ETS when his/her service commitment ended?
Thanks a lot

USMA13
Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Apr 26, 2016 2:10 am

Re: Army's Funded Legal Education Program (FLEP) FAQ

Postby USMA13 » Tue Apr 26, 2016 2:16 am

So I graduated from West Point in 2012. I had an extremely low GPA. I graduated with a 2.4. I know its low. I have two OERs. One is a top block and the other is a highly qualified top 10% officer. I can get good recommendations for the FLEP program. I plan on taking the June LSAT and then the SEPT one also. What do you think my chances of getting accepted into FLEP? I've been told I need to score 170 or higher to get accepted with my low GPA. Do you think if I score 160-165 I could still get accepted.

User avatar
Specter1389
Posts: 119
Joined: Mon May 18, 2015 3:07 pm

Re: Army's Funded Legal Education Program (FLEP) FAQ

Postby Specter1389 » Tue Apr 26, 2016 3:49 pm

USMA13 wrote:So I graduated from West Point in 2012. I had an extremely low GPA. I graduated with a 2.4. I know its low. I have two OERs. One is a top block and the other is a highly qualified top 10% officer. I can get good recommendations for the FLEP program. I plan on taking the June LSAT and then the SEPT one also. What do you think my chances of getting accepted into FLEP? I've been told I need to score 170 or higher to get accepted with my low GPA. Do you think if I score 160-165 I could still get accepted.

USAFA 2013 grad here. There is a 2011 West Point grad on here with a 2.7 GPA and 177 LSAT who applied and was not picked up for Army FLEP. I don't know how much that had to do with his GPA. He's getting out though and attending a T-14 with the GI Bill, which is also what I will probably be doing for the Air Force if I am not picked up for FLEP before my commitment is up.

User avatar
Dcc617
Posts: 1488
Joined: Mon Oct 13, 2014 3:01 pm

Re: Army's Funded Legal Education Program (FLEP) FAQ

Postby Dcc617 » Tue Apr 26, 2016 7:06 pm

I didn't apply but had looked into it while I was in. If I recall correctly OERs and recommendations matter much more than LSAT. They don't really care where you as long as you're a great officer who can get in somewhere (part of why I didn't apply is that I had very average OERs).

jayhawkinaustin
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Jun 09, 2013 4:17 pm

Re: Army's Funded Legal Education Program (FLEP) FAQ

Postby jayhawkinaustin » Wed Apr 27, 2016 9:39 am

BLUF: Try to clear a 170 and then anything is possible.

Yeah, that's a low GPA but I had a relatively low GPA as well. Though interestingly, the SJA who I interviewed with actually called me back a day after the interview and asked for a second meeting. I was nervous as all hell but he literally only asked one question-- why was my GPA so low? I guess he felt it was necessary to address it in his recommendation. I had a pretty good reason and fortunately as I've said above, his recommendation is really what I think carried the day.

So to answer your initial question-- I think you're right in that a 170 or so is the hurdle you're going to have to clear but if you do that, anything is possible. I'd definitely mention it in your 'why am I applying' section and also if you have a professor from USMA who'd be willing to write a letter on your behalf addressing how there were mitigating circumstances or you struggled at first but dealt with the adversity and started overcoming by the time you graduated etc.

Good luck!

User avatar
Nagster5
Posts: 548
Joined: Tue Jul 28, 2015 11:28 am

Re: Army's Funded Legal Education Program (FLEP) FAQ

Postby Nagster5 » Thu Apr 28, 2016 2:46 pm

Specter1389 wrote:
USMA13 wrote:So I graduated from West Point in 2012. I had an extremely low GPA. I graduated with a 2.4. I know its low. I have two OERs. One is a top block and the other is a highly qualified top 10% officer. I can get good recommendations for the FLEP program. I plan on taking the June LSAT and then the SEPT one also. What do you think my chances of getting accepted into FLEP? I've been told I need to score 170 or higher to get accepted with my low GPA. Do you think if I score 160-165 I could still get accepted.

USAFA 2013 grad here. There is a 2011 West Point grad on here with a 2.7 GPA and 177 LSAT who applied and was not picked up for Army FLEP. I don't know how much that had to do with his GPA. He's getting out though and attending a T-14 with the GI Bill, which is also what I will probably be doing for the Air Force if I am not picked up for FLEP before my commitment is up.


That's me. I don't know if it's my GPA or my lackluster OERs that sunk me (all good, but no "walks on water top 5%"), but I will tell you that they really are looking at the whole package, not just LSAT>>>GPA>>>All. I know a few guys who got picked up with nothing spectacular but everything solid.

No one can tell you what will get you picked up. The board is composed of different people every year (2 JAG, 3 other O6s if I remember correctly), there is little to no guidance on who they pick ( language says "best qualified" or something similar), and sample size is tiny. All you can do is put together the best packet possible. Having said all that, if I had to bet money I would guess that a 2.4 will sink you. Even with great OERs and a high LSAT, they want well rounded, and 2/3 is not round.

User avatar
Dcc617
Posts: 1488
Joined: Mon Oct 13, 2014 3:01 pm

Re: Army's Funded Legal Education Program (FLEP) FAQ

Postby Dcc617 » Thu Apr 28, 2016 3:01 pm

Nagster5 wrote:
Specter1389 wrote:
USMA13 wrote:So I graduated from West Point in 2012. I had an extremely low GPA. I graduated with a 2.4. I know its low. I have two OERs. One is a top block and the other is a highly qualified top 10% officer. I can get good recommendations for the FLEP program. I plan on taking the June LSAT and then the SEPT one also. What do you think my chances of getting accepted into FLEP? I've been told I need to score 170 or higher to get accepted with my low GPA. Do you think if I score 160-165 I could still get accepted.

USAFA 2013 grad here. There is a 2011 West Point grad on here with a 2.7 GPA and 177 LSAT who applied and was not picked up for Army FLEP. I don't know how much that had to do with his GPA. He's getting out though and attending a T-14 with the GI Bill, which is also what I will probably be doing for the Air Force if I am not picked up for FLEP before my commitment is up.


That's me. I don't know if it's my GPA or my lackluster OERs that sunk me (all good, but no "walks on water top 5%"), but I will tell you that they really are looking at the whole package, not just LSAT>>>GPA>>>All. I know a few guys who got picked up with nothing spectacular but everything solid.

No one can tell you what will get you picked up. The board is composed of different people every year (2 JAG, 3 other O6s if I remember correctly), there is little to no guidance on who they pick ( language says "best qualified" or something similar), and sample size is tiny. All you can do is put together the best packet possible. Having said all that, if I had to bet money I would guess that a 2.4 will sink you. Even with great OERs and a high LSAT, they want well rounded, and 2/3 is not round.


But maybe if you're already accepted to a couple places that could help. That way they know they're funding a sure thing.

User avatar
Nagster5
Posts: 548
Joined: Tue Jul 28, 2015 11:28 am

Re: Army's Funded Legal Education Program (FLEP) FAQ

Postby Nagster5 » Thu Apr 28, 2016 3:09 pm

Dcc617 wrote:
Nagster5 wrote:
Specter1389 wrote:
USMA13 wrote:So I graduated from West Point in 2012. I had an extremely low GPA. I graduated with a 2.4. I know its low. I have two OERs. One is a top block and the other is a highly qualified top 10% officer. I can get good recommendations for the FLEP program. I plan on taking the June LSAT and then the SEPT one also. What do you think my chances of getting accepted into FLEP? I've been told I need to score 170 or higher to get accepted with my low GPA. Do you think if I score 160-165 I could still get accepted.

USAFA 2013 grad here. There is a 2011 West Point grad on here with a 2.7 GPA and 177 LSAT who applied and was not picked up for Army FLEP. I don't know how much that had to do with his GPA. He's getting out though and attending a T-14 with the GI Bill, which is also what I will probably be doing for the Air Force if I am not picked up for FLEP before my commitment is up.


That's me. I don't know if it's my GPA or my lackluster OERs that sunk me (all good, but no "walks on water top 5%"), but I will tell you that they really are looking at the whole package, not just LSAT>>>GPA>>>All. I know a few guys who got picked up with nothing spectacular but everything solid.

No one can tell you what will get you picked up. The board is composed of different people every year (2 JAG, 3 other O6s if I remember correctly), there is little to no guidance on who they pick ( language says "best qualified" or something similar), and sample size is tiny. All you can do is put together the best packet possible. Having said all that, if I had to bet money I would guess that a 2.4 will sink you. Even with great OERs and a high LSAT, they want well rounded, and 2/3 is not round.


But maybe if you're already accepted to a couple places that could help. That way they know they're funding a sure thing.


They really don't seem to care where you go. The JAGs on the board know a 177 would get me into all but maybe 10 law schools in a given year, and yet they denied me for people who went to T3s. . The conventional wisdom of law school admissions (LSAT/school prestige being all important) simply doesn't seem to apply to JAG. They want strong, well-rounded officers with great OERs. LSAT and GPA seem to be floors, not driving factors. Again, this is all anecdotal due to the tiny size of the program. The average officer accepted had <3.5 and <160.

NU Pastime
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Jun 02, 2016 11:04 am

Re: Army's Funded Legal Education Program (FLEP) FAQ

Postby NU Pastime » Thu Jun 02, 2016 11:13 am

Hey everyone! I'm also applying for the FLEP this year and taking the June LSAT (this upcoming Monday). I greatly appreciate all of the info so far as this thread has answered a lot of my questions.

One remaining question I do have regards school selection if selected. The reg says that you should expect to go to an in-state public school, and that the Army ultimately decides what school you go to. I understand this, but from reading articles on FLEP this doesn't seem to be a hard rule as they've listed a number of private schools that FLEP recipients have attended. So, how much say does one actually have in which law school you attend?

Thank you again for all the info!

Wipfelder
Posts: 419
Joined: Wed Jul 09, 2014 3:26 am

Re: Army's Funded Legal Education Program (FLEP) FAQ

Postby Wipfelder » Thu Jun 02, 2016 11:41 am

Dcc617 wrote:I didn't apply but had looked into it while I was in. If I recall correctly OERs and recommendations matter much more than LSAT. They don't really care where you as long as you're a great officer who can get in somewhere (part of why I didn't apply is that I had very average OERs).


The Army's insistence on this point baffles me. They have tons of crappy lawyers in the Army, but they were good platoon leaders or whatever, so they stay and get promoted. The talented, capable JAGs are then forced to carry their load.

I have a friend who was "culled" during QMP; he is fluent in Arabic, has an engineering degree and two deployments to Iraq where he advised Iraqi Army units, buuuuuuut, he was only an average Artillery Battery Commander, so he's gotta go.......because there probably isn't a future need for Arabic-speaking officers who are exceptionally good at working with foreign military's. He recieved 60k severance pay and found a job paying 180k+ in roughly 93 hours. He's recently been headhunted by a contracting groups to go to Iraq and help train/assist for 40ish thousand a month. The Army is absolutely terrible at personnel management.

Honestly, if you can go to a decent LS for free or close to it, don't waste your life in the Army, do something useful that provides a better family life and true financial independence. (rant over)




Return to “Law School Admissions Forum”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot], Google [Bot], Thewanderer and 2 guests