tyler.durden wrote:I can only speak to the Marine Corps programs but this is what I know:
There are 2 tracks that take you from civilian to Marine Corps JAG (Usually called Staff Judge Advocate or "SJA" in the Marines):
Path 1: PLC-Law You are a college senior with an acceptance letter to an ABA accredited law school. You apply to Platoon Leaders Course Law program which consists of a selection board that stacks you up against your peers from your recruiting district. You are evaluated on -
Academics: Undergrad GPA, ACT or SAT score (must be above 22 or 1000 respectively), LSAT score (must be above 150), and in some cases the ASVAB (above a 74) can substitute for the SAT/ACT scores.
Physical Fitness: Pull-ups, crunches, and a 3-mile run. To be seriously considered you'll need to do pretty well on this
Moral History: Drug use, arrests, citations, and to a certain extent tattoos all can cause issues. Waivers exist for most but some are harder to get than others.
Medical Readiness: Finally you must be medically qualified. This means no asthma past age 12, history of ADD/ADHD/Depression, and significant medical events in your history can all slow or stop the process.
The boards meet throughout the year, usually twice per fiscal year, it is dependent on which of the Marine Corps Recruiting Districts you fall under, talk to your local Officer Selection Officer (usually a captain) for specific dates. If you are selected on the board, you attend Officer Candidate School (OCS) in Quantico, VA for 10 weeks the summer between senior year and 1L. If you graduate from OCS you are commissioned as a 2ndLt at Quantico, and placed into a reserve status called Individual Ready Reserve where you are not paid a salary, but do accrue time in service toward promotion while you go to law school. You will likely be eligible for financial aid and/or tuition assistance but it will be a drop in the bucket compared to law school tuition. During the summers you are eligible to activate and do some hands on "sumer fun" at a major Marine Corps installation's legal center. When you graduate from law school and pass the bar, you are assigned to a TBS class and start your 4 year active duty commitment.
This entire selection process can be initiated during your 1L year or your 2L year as well, the timeline and qualifications are the same, you just have fewer years of service accrued by the time you go to TBS and begin active duty.
Path 2: OCC-Law You have graduated from an ABA accredited law school and passed the bar and you apply through your local Officer Selection Officer for the Officer Candidate Course Law program. The qualifications are the same but the competition level tends to be a bit stiffer. This means you'll need higher PFT scores, GPA (at this point both UGPA and law school GPA are considered), and waivers are even more frowned upon. OCS is exactly the same, where this path diverges from PLC-Law is after OCS, you are commissioned and immediately assigned to TBS and thus your active duty time starts then.
So essentially, if you are selected under either path, you are guaranteed to practice law in the Marine Corps as long as you pass the bar and OCS. If you do not pass OCS, the deal is off and you go back to being a civilian. The only way you could get "screwed" into a different career path is If you cannot pass the bar under the PLC program. In this scenario, you are already a commissioned officer and have a 4 year obligation. This happens rarely (I only know one person who had this happen to them) and usually they'll work with you for a second retake. The person I knew just never told anyone and at the end of TBS as she was headed to Naval Justice School, they found out and made him/her an adjutant. You can imagine there were a series of administrative mistakes made on multiple levels for this to have happened.
Hope this is helpful!
Awesome! Great stuff. This is exactly what I was told, though I certainly could not recite it to the detail here, or remember half of this stuff. Thanks!