Going for Marine Corps JAG- Advice, Stories, Etc...?

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Saurus
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Joined: Mon Dec 28, 2009 12:54 pm

Going for Marine Corps JAG- Advice, Stories, Etc...?

Postby Saurus » Tue Jan 12, 2010 12:49 pm

I will be attending law school this upcoming fall (been accepted at Tulane, Indiana, and Houston, not dead certain where I'll go yet, leaning towards Houston), and I want to hit the ground running in regards to becoming a Marine Corps JAG officer. Feel free to post any advice, stories of other people and the procedures they took to attain this, etc. I'm waiting on some other schools, (wustl, william & mary) but I'm getting the idea that school rank and prestige isn't the most important thing in pursuing this route. Any thoughts?

Shadicar
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Re: Going for Marine Corps JAG- Advice, Stories, Etc...?

Postby Shadicar » Wed Jan 13, 2010 3:13 am

My first question for you is: Why do you want to be a Marine JAG? Is your desire to be a JAG specific to the Marines?

If you're intent on being a JAG in the Marine Corp, I would advise you to treat entrance into the Marine Corp as seriously, if not more seriously, than you've treated getting into law school. The Marines have a saying: every Marine a rifleman. Per this philosophy, every Marine officer, including each and every JAG, is trained as an infantry officer first. I spoke with a JAG colonel who served in the Marines and then the Army and he remarked that one difference was that the Marines, as a smaller branch, are more likely to have their officers serve in functions other than their specialties, which reflects both the Corp's size and philosophy.

My first advice to you is to contact a Marine OSO (Officer Selection Officer). Find your local marine recruitment office and ask them to give your information to the nearest OSO. If you want, you can contact the Corp as you read this via http://officer.marines.com/rmi, or call a hotline.

The first step is to contact the OSO. The OSO will be able to outline various options for you.

As far the the Corp's interest in your school's rank and prestige; the Corp really does not care. There are minimum requirements but they can be satisfied at any ABA certified school. I will leave your querries to the OSO to answer, as the OSO is the best person to answer your questions and would be glad to do so.

To share my personal story, I'm a junior who has determined that I want to be a Marine JAG. Under a program known as the Platoon Leader's Class, I can go to Officer Candidate School (OCS) during the summer and be commissioned after graduating. Upon my being accepted to a law school, I will be given a law guarantee, meaning that after being commissioned I will be free to go to law school, guaranteed. There are advantages to this program, which I will leave to your OSO to discuss.

OCS is challenging. I know a lawyer who after graduating and before taking the bar, was dropped from OCS in the 10th week. He was told that the only way he would be allowed back was if he was a fully qualified lawyer. After passing the California bar, he is shipping back to OCS in 3 days and I expect that he will succeed.

If you have any questions, I would be glad to answer them but my knowledge is limited.

Anonymous User
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Re: Going for Marine Corps JAG- Advice, Stories, Etc...?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jan 13, 2010 3:46 am

Shadicar wrote:My first question for you is: Why do you want to be a Marine JAG? Is your desire to be a JAG specific to the Marines?

If you're intent on being a JAG in the Marine Corp, I would advise you to treat entrance into the Marine Corp as seriously, if not more seriously, than you've treated getting into law school. The Marines have a saying: every Marine a rifleman. Per this philosophy, every Marine officer, including each and every JAG, is trained as an infantry officer first. I spoke with a JAG colonel who served in the Marines and then the Army and he remarked that one difference was that the Marines, as a smaller branch, are more likely to have their officers serve in functions other than their specialties, which reflects both the Corp's size and philosophy.

My first advice to you is to contact a Marine OSO (Officer Selection Officer). Find your local marine recruitment office and ask them to give your information to the nearest OSO. If you want, you can contact the Corp as you read this via http://officer.marines.com/rmi, or call a hotline.

The first step is to contact the OSO. The OSO will be able to outline various options for you.

As far the the Corp's interest in your school's rank and prestige; the Corp really does not care. There are minimum requirements but they can be satisfied at any ABA certified school. I will leave your querries to the OSO to answer, as the OSO is the best person to answer your questions and would be glad to do so.



+1
If you are going to become an SJA, do it because you want to be a Marine First, lawyer second.

FWIW I basically have an SJA position offered to me at the moment, as a 0L. I would go to OCS this summer, become a 2nd Lt, come out in three years, pass the bar, have gained three years of rank, and then go to TBS (6 months of hardcore infantry training) and finally study specific military law and then begin practice. However, I will probably be turning it down.

If you have the numbers to get into Houston (ie 160 LSAT +, GPA of 3.2 or better), can PT around 250 or so, and have no health problems or criminal background, you are pretty much good to go. While the physical standards can be tough for some, outside of these the process is probably less competitive than all other branches, especially if you sign up before completing law school or even starting. The minimum LSAT required is a 150, and minimum PT a 225 (such a candidate is unlikely to be selected though). PT standards for a perfect 300= 20 pull-ups, 100 sit ups, 18 minute 3 mile run. Subtract 1 point for each missed sit up, 5 for each missed pull up, and 1 for each additional 10 seconds of run time. For females the run standard is different and you do a flexed arm hang and not pull-ups. School rank and prestige do not matter very much. I wouldnt say not at all, but a school like Houston is more than good enough.

Be very careful about hitting the ground running without really knowing what you are doing first. Take the idea that you are a rifleman first DEADLY serious. You are signing up to become an infantry officer first, lawyer second. Unlike in some of the other services, you are an unrestricted line officer. While you may not lead troops, you should expect to see combat. Think about this for a moment and make sure you are alright with this. I was put in contact with several SJAs who had seen plenty of fighting. The Corps needs come first, so you could well take on long term non-law assignments. If you are just looking for a place to be a lawyer while also being in the military, I strongly suggest you look elsewhere, such as the Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard or even Army. Being a Marine SJA, from what I could gather, was a lot different than being a JAG in other branches. Just google, "The Basic School", "Marine OCS" and get in contact with your OSO to start getting an idea of what all is entailed. It bears repeating though to do a lot of research first, as the Marine Corps SJA is a lot different than any other branch. It's also by far the smallest lawyer corps in any of the military branches.

Saurus
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Re: Going for Marine Corps JAG- Advice, Stories, Etc...?

Postby Saurus » Wed Jan 13, 2010 11:53 am

Thank you for your replies- as for the aspect of being a marine first and a lawyer second, that is exactly what attracted me to this particular program in the first place. I want to be a marine who happens to practice law, not vice versa. Regarding the physical fitness portion, I know I'm well prepard regarding that (although my 3 mile run time is around 20 minutes, something I can work on), as I can max out on pullups and situps. I am perfectly alright with the idea of seeing combat, as I understand that the Corps needs come first. However, I am experiencing two setbacks. I am currently on ADD medication, and I was told by a Marine Corps Recruiter that I would have to be off of it for a full year before I could do anything regarding the program- this isn't a huge deal I suppose, seeing that I was planning on quitting the medication anyways (doesn't help at all, I focus fine without it, etc. etc.) The medication is really just a remnant of when I was younger, something I don't need anymore. However- this means that couldn't really take action until the middle of my 1st year of school- from what I understand, that wouldn't be too late, but correct me if I'm wrong.

However, the major setback is my parents. While I fully understand that this is my decision and my path, my folks have expressed extreme dread about me seeing active combat duty. They have sacrificed much for me (helping me pay for college, etc.), and I'm hesitant about putting them through the extreme anxiety that I know they would go through.

I am extremely appreciative for the advice you guys' have provided- Hopefully things will work out, this is my absolute first choice regarding a career path.

JOThompson
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Re: Going for Marine Corps JAG- Advice, Stories, Etc...?

Postby JOThompson » Wed Jan 13, 2010 12:04 pm

Saurus wrote:I will be attending law school this upcoming fall (been accepted at Tulane, Indiana, and Houston, not dead certain where I'll go yet, leaning towards Houston), and I want to hit the ground running in regards to becoming a Marine Corps JAG officer. Feel free to post any advice, stories of other people and the procedures they took to attain this, etc. I'm waiting on some other schools, (wustl, william & mary) but I'm getting the idea that school rank and prestige isn't the most important thing in pursuing this route. Any thoughts?

I commend you for your interest in Marine JAG, and I would echo the warnings of other posters. In theory, Marine JAGs are Marines first and attorneys in second. You'll go through the same rough training (OCS/TBS) as infantry, air, armor, etc. candidates. That means you won't jump immediately into law upon graduation. Personally, I think that would be neat, but it's not for everyone. Also, Marine attorneys tend to be generalists. I've heard that this somewhat limits their private sector options but I don't know for sure. Just things to keep in mind.

You should get in contact with an OSO soon. Spots are harder to come by than in previous years. You missed the winter OCS class, but you still have time for June training. Now that you have acceptance letters, you should really focus on physical training. IMO, that's more crucial to your PLC-C application than anything else.

You may need a waiver for that medication, even if you've been off it for a year. Waivers seem to be hit and miss. I know people who been excluded for stuff as simple as eczema--but be persistent and I think it will demonstrate your commitment. As for your parents, I faced the same situation for a few years. It is ultimately your life and you need to make decisions. While they certainly care for your well being, they may not understand your needs and goals as well as you do. Seriously though, join MarineOCS.com. There's tons of helpful information for OCS candidates there. Good luck!
Last edited by JOThompson on Wed Jan 13, 2010 12:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PopCopyManager
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Re: Going for Marine Corps JAG- Advice, Stories, Etc...?

Postby PopCopyManager » Wed Jan 13, 2010 12:05 pm

Saurus wrote:Thank you for your replies- as for the aspect of being a marine first and a lawyer second, that is exactly what attracted me to this particular program in the first place. I want to be a marine who happens to practice law, not vice versa. Regarding the physical fitness portion, I know I'm well prepard regarding that (although my 3 mile run time is around 20 minutes, something I can work on), as I can max out on pullups and situps. I am perfectly alright with the idea of seeing combat, as I understand that the Corps needs come first. However, I am experiencing two setbacks. I am currently on ADD medication, and I was told by a Marine Corps Recruiter that I would have to be off of it for a full year before I could do anything regarding the program- this isn't a huge deal I suppose, seeing that I was planning on quitting the medication anyways (doesn't help at all, I focus fine without it, etc. etc.) The medication is really just a remnant of when I was younger, something I don't need anymore. However- this means that couldn't really take action until the middle of my 1st year of school- from what I understand, that wouldn't be too late, but correct me if I'm wrong.

However, the major setback is my parents. While I fully understand that this is my decision and my path, my folks have expressed extreme dread about me seeing active combat duty. They have sacrificed much for me (helping me pay for college, etc.), and I'm hesitant about putting them through the extreme anxiety that I know they would go through.

I am extremely appreciative for the advice you guys' have provided- Hopefully things will work out, this is my absolute first choice regarding a career path.



Let me be the first to say that alot of this "infantry officer" first stuff is pretty unfounded. The marines used to use Navy Officers alot for their lawyers, and they are not at all infantry-based. At best, this is a recruiter/OSO trying to sound knowledgeable when, in fact, he is not.

Additionally, your "packet" will go before a selection board. If you don't think that school prestige means anything here, you are wrong. Especially ITE, every branch of the military is extremely selective and a Harvard graduate will get selected before a Texas A&M graduate.

I'm not going to out myself by showing the source of my knowledge, but I will tell you that the people giving advice are not YET in the military, and therefore do not have a great understanding of how things work.

With that said, any time you join the military, you should be prepared for possible combat. However, you will not be joining an infantry company and hearing cases on the side...

oneforship
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Re: Going for Marine Corps JAG- Advice, Stories, Etc...?

Postby oneforship » Wed Jan 13, 2010 12:06 pm

This thread has tons of good info:

viewtopic.php?f=3&t=31543

JOThompson
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Re: Going for Marine Corps JAG- Advice, Stories, Etc...?

Postby JOThompson » Wed Jan 13, 2010 12:19 pm

PopCopyManager wrote:
Saurus wrote:Thank you for your replies- as for the aspect of being a marine first and a lawyer second, that is exactly what attracted me to this particular program in the first place. I want to be a marine who happens to practice law, not vice versa. Regarding the physical fitness portion, I know I'm well prepard regarding that (although my 3 mile run time is around 20 minutes, something I can work on), as I can max out on pullups and situps. I am perfectly alright with the idea of seeing combat, as I understand that the Corps needs come first. However, I am experiencing two setbacks. I am currently on ADD medication, and I was told by a Marine Corps Recruiter that I would have to be off of it for a full year before I could do anything regarding the program- this isn't a huge deal I suppose, seeing that I was planning on quitting the medication anyways (doesn't help at all, I focus fine without it, etc. etc.) The medication is really just a remnant of when I was younger, something I don't need anymore. However- this means that couldn't really take action until the middle of my 1st year of school- from what I understand, that wouldn't be too late, but correct me if I'm wrong.

However, the major setback is my parents. While I fully understand that this is my decision and my path, my folks have expressed extreme dread about me seeing active combat duty. They have sacrificed much for me (helping me pay for college, etc.), and I'm hesitant about putting them through the extreme anxiety that I know they would go through.

I am extremely appreciative for the advice you guys' have provided- Hopefully things will work out, this is my absolute first choice regarding a career path.



Let me be the first to say that alot of this "infantry officer" first stuff is pretty unfounded. The marines used to use Navy Officers alot for their lawyers, and they are not at all infantry-based. At best, this is a recruiter/OSO trying to sound knowledgeable when, in fact, he is not.

Additionally, your "packet" will go before a selection board. If you don't think that school prestige means anything here, you are wrong. Especially ITE, every branch of the military is extremely selective and a Harvard graduate will get selected before a Texas A&M graduate.

I'm not going to out myself by showing the source of my knowledge, but I will tell you that the people giving advice are not YET in the military, and therefore do not have a great understanding of how things work.

With that said, any time you join the military, you should be prepared for possible combat. However, you will not be joining an infantry company and hearing cases on the side...

You seem slightly off-base here. Also, Marine is always capitalized. Sorry, but I know plenty of Marines who are nitpicky about that and it's rubbed off on me :P

Okay, in concept, every Marine is a rifleman first. This means you even JAGs will attend the same non-MOS training as infantry officers (0302s). That's ten weeks of torturous OCS at Quantico and another six months of infantry-focused training at The Basic School after law school graduation. After completing TBS, every JAG will technically be versed in the basics of leading a platoon.

However, you are very correct that most JAGs will serve in non-law, non-combat positions. I can only think of one case where this wasn't true, and it concerned a prior-enlisted Marine. That's not to say that JAGs won't wind up in combat zones. There are a number of stories of 4402s facing indirect fire, using their weapons while riding in convoys, etc.--I just wouldn't expect those to be all that frequent.

I disagree about the prestige factor. Marine JAG tends to be the least picky about that. I know several Cooley 4402s as well as graduates from the T20. Sure, if it comes down to it, a Harvard candidate with a 295 PFT may be chosen over a T2 graduate with a 300 PFT, but the ranking of your school doesn't seem to be a factor that will make or break his application.

Sources: First-hand accounts from actual Marine JAGs. I spent upwards of a year researching this, and that included speaking with probably upwards of ten 4402s. I can't say much about the JAG selection process in other branches though.

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jlnoa0915
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Re: Going for Marine Corps JAG- Advice, Stories, Etc...?

Postby jlnoa0915 » Wed Jan 13, 2010 12:30 pm

Shadicar wrote:My first question for you is: Why do you want to be a Marine JAG? Is your desire to be a JAG specific to the Marines?

If you're intent on being a JAG in the Marine Corp, I would advise you to treat entrance into the Marine Corp as seriously, if not more seriously, than you've treated getting into law school. The Marines have a saying: every Marine a rifleman. Per this philosophy, every Marine officer, including each and every JAG, is trained as an infantry officer first. I spoke with a JAG colonel who served in the Marines and then the Army and he remarked that one difference was that the Marines, as a smaller branch, are more likely to have their officers serve in functions other than their specialties, which reflects both the Corp's size and philosophy.

My first advice to you is to contact a Marine OSO (Officer Selection Officer). Find your local marine recruitment office and ask them to give your information to the nearest OSO. If you want, you can contact the Corp as you read this via http://officer.marines.com/rmi, or call a hotline.

The first step is to contact the OSO. The OSO will be able to outline various options for you.

As far the the Corp's interest in your school's rank and prestige; the Corp really does not care. There are minimum requirements but they can be satisfied at any ABA certified school. I will leave your querries to the OSO to answer, as the OSO is the best person to answer your questions and would be glad to do so.

To share my personal story, I'm a junior who has determined that I want to be a Marine JAG. Under a program known as the Platoon Leader's Class, I can go to Officer Candidate School (OCS) during the summer and be commissioned after graduating. Upon my being accepted to a law school, I will be given a law guarantee, meaning that after being commissioned I will be free to go to law school, guaranteed. There are advantages to this program, which I will leave to your OSO to discuss.

OCS is challenging. I know a lawyer who after graduating and before taking the bar, was dropped from OCS in the 10th week. He was told that the only way he would be allowed back was if he was a fully qualified lawyer. After passing the California bar, he is shipping back to OCS in 3 days and I expect that he will succeed.

If you have any questions, I would be glad to answer them but my knowledge is limited.



As a former Marine, I recommend you take the bold statement to heart as however unlikely it may be, you may end up leading men into combat and have their lives and your own in your hands. If that is not a responsibility you can handle, look to the other armed forces for JAG. If it is then good luck to you.

That said, I was in the same situation with my parents before I joined (left college to enlist). Although they had their reservations (rightfully so) ultimately the decision was mine to make. So if you feel that the Marines is where you truly want to be then go for it; your parents will eventually understand.

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PopCopyManager
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Re: Going for Marine Corps JAG- Advice, Stories, Etc...?

Postby PopCopyManager » Wed Jan 13, 2010 12:37 pm

You seem slightly off-base here. Also, Marine is always capitalized. Sorry, but I know plenty of Marines who are nitpicky about that and it's rubbed off on me :P

Okay, in concept, every Marine is a rifleman first. This means you even JAGs will attend the same non-MOS training as infantry officers (0302s). That's ten weeks of torturous OCS at Quantico and another six months of infantry-focused training at The Basic School after law school graduation. After completing TBS, every JAG will technically be versed in the basics of leading a platoon.

However, you are very correct that most JAGs will serve in non-law, non-combat positions. I can only think of one case where this wasn't true, and it concerned a prior-enlisted Marine. That's not to say that JAGs won't wind up in combat zones. There are a number of stories of 4402s facing indirect fire, using their weapons while riding in convoys, etc.--I just wouldn't expect those to be all that frequent.

I disagree about the prestige factor. Marine JAG tends to be the least picky about that. I know several Cooley 4402s as well as graduates from the T20. Sure, if it comes down to it, a Harvard candidate with a 295 PFT may be chosen over a T2 graduate with a 300 PFT, but the ranking of your school doesn't seem to be a factor that will make or break his application.

Sources: First-hand accounts from actual Marine JAGs. I spent upwards of a year researching this, and that included speaking with probably upwards of ten 4402s. I can't say much about the JAG selection process in other branches though.



I actually think that we are for the most part in agreement. Sure, you will be trained in infantry tactics, sure you will learn to be a rifleman, etc. However, you will not be going to Infantry school (Yes, this is its own school). Also, there are platoons of EACH type of Marine, down to the mail-handlers. Yes, there are Marine mailmen.

I also agree that JAGs will end up in combat zones. That is MUCH different from being assigned to an infantry company. Hell, even Kuwait and Qatar are "combat zones." Traveling in convoys is something any soldier should be prepared for.

As far as the prestige factor is concerned, I am going to have to agree to disagree. While there are surely Cooley JAG members, I would guarantee that this is becoming less common as officer slots become more highly sought after. PFT scores are of course highly important as well.

Bottom Line: Don't buy into the whole "combat lawyer" BS that alot of uniformed people will insist on. While you should be prepared to face combat, you will not be leading troops into battle as a JAG. I promise.

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jlnoa0915
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Re: Going for Marine Corps JAG- Advice, Stories, Etc...?

Postby jlnoa0915 » Wed Jan 13, 2010 12:55 pm

PopCopyManager wrote:
You seem slightly off-base here. Also, Marine is always capitalized. Sorry, but I know plenty of Marines who are nitpicky about that and it's rubbed off on me :P

Okay, in concept, every Marine is a rifleman first. This means you even JAGs will attend the same non-MOS training as infantry officers (0302s). That's ten weeks of torturous OCS at Quantico and another six months of infantry-focused training at The Basic School after law school graduation. After completing TBS, every JAG will technically be versed in the basics of leading a platoon.

However, you are very correct that most JAGs will serve in non-law, non-combat positions. I can only think of one case where this wasn't true, and it concerned a prior-enlisted Marine. That's not to say that JAGs won't wind up in combat zones. There are a number of stories of 4402s facing indirect fire, using their weapons while riding in convoys, etc.--I just wouldn't expect those to be all that frequent.

I disagree about the prestige factor. Marine JAG tends to be the least picky about that. I know several Cooley 4402s as well as graduates from the T20. Sure, if it comes down to it, a Harvard candidate with a 295 PFT may be chosen over a T2 graduate with a 300 PFT, but the ranking of your school doesn't seem to be a factor that will make or break his application.

Sources: First-hand accounts from actual Marine JAGs. I spent upwards of a year researching this, and that included speaking with probably upwards of ten 4402s. I can't say much about the JAG selection process in other branches though.



I actually think that we are for the most part in agreement. Sure, you will be trained in infantry tactics, sure you will learn to be a rifleman, etc. However, you will not be going to Infantry school (Yes, this is its own school). Also, there are platoons of EACH type of Marine, down to the mail-handlers. Yes, there are Marine mailmen.

I also agree that JAGs will end up in combat zones. That is MUCH different from being assigned to an infantry company. Hell, even Kuwait and Qatar are "combat zones." Traveling in convoys is something any soldier should be prepared for.

As far as the prestige factor is concerned, I am going to have to agree to disagree. While there are surely Cooley JAG members, I would guarantee that this is becoming less common as officer slots become more highly sought after. PFT scores are of course highly important as well.

Bottom Line: Don't buy into the whole "combat lawyer" BS that alot of uniformed people will insist on. While you should be prepared to face combat, you will not be leading troops into battle as a JAG. I promise.



Agreed to a point, and as I hesitantly assume you are or were in the armed forces, you should know there is no 'front line' and if, for example, a convoy was attacked, the officers and NCOs need to take charge. Not the same as an infantry squad, but combat is combat. That said, I also had buddies who were admin and aviation Marines tapped to join infantry squads for patrols. (though this is the enlisted side and albeit not the same as commissioned officers but however unlikely, is still a possibility and something a person should be to terms with before becoming a Marine.)

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PopCopyManager
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Re: Going for Marine Corps JAG- Advice, Stories, Etc...?

Postby PopCopyManager » Wed Jan 13, 2010 1:05 pm

jlnoa0915 wrote:
PopCopyManager wrote:
You seem slightly off-base here. Also, Marine is always capitalized. Sorry, but I know plenty of Marines who are nitpicky about that and it's rubbed off on me :P

Okay, in concept, every Marine is a rifleman first. This means you even JAGs will attend the same non-MOS training as infantry officers (0302s). That's ten weeks of torturous OCS at Quantico and another six months of infantry-focused training at The Basic School after law school graduation. After completing TBS, every JAG will technically be versed in the basics of leading a platoon.

However, you are very correct that most JAGs will serve in non-law, non-combat positions. I can only think of one case where this wasn't true, and it concerned a prior-enlisted Marine. That's not to say that JAGs won't wind up in combat zones. There are a number of stories of 4402s facing indirect fire, using their weapons while riding in convoys, etc.--I just wouldn't expect those to be all that frequent.

I disagree about the prestige factor. Marine JAG tends to be the least picky about that. I know several Cooley 4402s as well as graduates from the T20. Sure, if it comes down to it, a Harvard candidate with a 295 PFT may be chosen over a T2 graduate with a 300 PFT, but the ranking of your school doesn't seem to be a factor that will make or break his application.

Sources: First-hand accounts from actual Marine JAGs. I spent upwards of a year researching this, and that included speaking with probably upwards of ten 4402s. I can't say much about the JAG selection process in other branches though.



I actually think that we are for the most part in agreement. Sure, you will be trained in infantry tactics, sure you will learn to be a rifleman, etc. However, you will not be going to Infantry school (Yes, this is its own school). Also, there are platoons of EACH type of Marine, down to the mail-handlers. Yes, there are Marine mailmen.

I also agree that JAGs will end up in combat zones. That is MUCH different from being assigned to an infantry company. Hell, even Kuwait and Qatar are "combat zones." Traveling in convoys is something any soldier should be prepared for.

As far as the prestige factor is concerned, I am going to have to agree to disagree. While there are surely Cooley JAG members, I would guarantee that this is becoming less common as officer slots become more highly sought after. PFT scores are of course highly important as well.

Bottom Line: Don't buy into the whole "combat lawyer" BS that alot of uniformed people will insist on. While you should be prepared to face combat, you will not be leading troops into battle as a JAG. I promise.



Agreed to a point, and as I hesitantly assume you are or were in the armed forces, you should know there is no 'front line' and if, for example, a convoy was attacked, the officers and NCOs need to take charge. Not the same as an infantry squad, but combat is combat. That said, I also had buddies who were admin and aviation Marines tapped to join infantry squads for patrols. (though this is the enlisted side and albeit not the same as commissioned officers but however unlikely, is still a possibility and something a person should be to terms with before becoming a Marine.)


I can't disagree with anything you are saying here.

nycparalegal
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Re: Going for Marine Corps JAG- Advice, Stories, Etc...?

Postby nycparalegal » Wed Jan 13, 2010 1:06 pm

Probably not the best place to put this but I had a question: If you go the PLC-Law route, and you advance through the ranks during law school, do you get paid as if you were an 0-3 or are you getting paid as if you just got commissioned?

JOThompson
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Re: Going for Marine Corps JAG- Advice, Stories, Etc...?

Postby JOThompson » Wed Jan 13, 2010 1:19 pm

nycparalegal wrote:Probably not the best place to put this but I had a questions: If you go the PLC-Law route, and you advance through the ranks during law school, do you get paid as if you were an 0-3 or are you getting paid as if you just got commissioned?

PLC-C graduates don't receive pay while attending law school, although they're eligible for healthcare IIRC.

You might be interested in the Funded Legal Education Program though, which grants tuition, housing, and full officer's pay. Unfortunately, I don't think FLEP is available to unless you're already an officer.

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Re: Going for Marine Corps JAG- Advice, Stories, Etc...?

Postby nycparalegal » Wed Jan 13, 2010 1:28 pm

JOThompson wrote:
nycparalegal wrote:Probably not the best place to put this but I had a questions: If you go the PLC-Law route, and you advance through the ranks during law school, do you get paid as if you were an 0-3 or are you getting paid as if you just got commissioned?

PLC-C graduates don't receive pay while attending law school, although they're eligible for healthcare IIRC.

You might be interested in the Funded Legal Education Program though, which grants tuition, housing, and full officer's pay. Unfortunately, I don't think FLEP is available to unless you're already an officer.


Yes, I understand they dont receive pay while attending law school, but when they graduate law school they would have had three years time as being a commissioned officer, do there pay grade start at 0-1 over three years of service, as an 0-3 under 2 years of service, or 0-1 under 2 years of service?

JOThompson
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Re: Going for Marine Corps JAG- Advice, Stories, Etc...?

Postby JOThompson » Wed Jan 13, 2010 1:33 pm

nycparalegal wrote:
JOThompson wrote:
nycparalegal wrote:Probably not the best place to put this but I had a questions: If you go the PLC-Law route, and you advance through the ranks during law school, do you get paid as if you were an 0-3 or are you getting paid as if you just got commissioned?

PLC-C graduates don't receive pay while attending law school, although they're eligible for healthcare IIRC.

You might be interested in the Funded Legal Education Program though, which grants tuition, housing, and full officer's pay. Unfortunately, I don't think FLEP is available to unless you're already an officer.


Yes, I understand they dont receive pay while attending law school, but when they graduate law school they would have had three years time as being a commissioned officer, do there pay grade start at 0-1 over three years of service, as an 0-3 under 2 years of service, or 0-1 under 2 years of service?

As I understand it, those years in service do apply toward your pay and rank. I know a JAG from Vandy was promoted to captain by the time he started TBS.

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Drew2010
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Re: Going for Marine Corps JAG- Advice, Stories, Etc...?

Postby Drew2010 » Wed Jan 13, 2010 1:55 pm

jlnoa0915 wrote:

Agreed to a point, and as I hesitantly assume you are or were in the armed forces, you should know there is no 'front line' and if, for example, a convoy was attacked, the officers and NCOs need to take charge. Not the same as an infantry squad, but combat is combat. That said, I also had buddies who were admin and aviation Marines tapped to join infantry squads for patrols. (though this is the enlisted side and albeit not the same as commissioned officers but however unlikely, is still a possibility and something a person should be to terms with before becoming a Marine.)


nothing in this paragraph is blatantly false, but it is somewhat misleading... while there isn't a 'front line' there is a pretty huge difference between a grunt deployment and a POG deployment

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PopCopyManager
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Re: Going for Marine Corps JAG- Advice, Stories, Etc...?

Postby PopCopyManager » Wed Jan 13, 2010 2:10 pm

Drew2010 wrote:
jlnoa0915 wrote:

Agreed to a point, and as I hesitantly assume you are or were in the armed forces, you should know there is no 'front line' and if, for example, a convoy was attacked, the officers and NCOs need to take charge. Not the same as an infantry squad, but combat is combat. That said, I also had buddies who were admin and aviation Marines tapped to join infantry squads for patrols. (though this is the enlisted side and albeit not the same as commissioned officers but however unlikely, is still a possibility and something a person should be to terms with before becoming a Marine.)


nothing in this paragraph is blatantly false, but it is somewhat misleading... while there isn't a 'front line' there is a pretty huge difference between a grunt deployment and a POG deployment



Credited... this is basically what I was trying to say

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Re: Going for Marine Corps JAG- Advice, Stories, Etc...?

Postby postitnotes » Thu Jan 14, 2010 12:01 am

Saurus wrote:I will be attending law school this upcoming fall (been accepted at Tulane, Indiana, and Houston, not dead certain where I'll go yet, leaning towards Houston), and I want to hit the ground running in regards to becoming a Marine Corps JAG officer. Feel free to post any advice, stories of other people and the procedures they took to attain this, etc. I'm waiting on some other schools, (wustl, william & mary) but I'm getting the idea that school rank and prestige isn't the most important thing in pursuing this route. Any thoughts?


School rank/prestige isn't that important, but your rank in class is very, very important. It's very competitive to get into JAG ite, so the best thing you can do while in school is graduate in the top of your class.

mugwump
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Re: Going for Marine Corps JAG- Advice, Stories, Etc...?

Postby mugwump » Thu Jan 14, 2010 12:12 am

Saurus, putting all of the above aside, are you prepared to prosecute or defend Marines in accordance with the Uniform Code of Military Justice? Would advise you to become familiar with military justice before committing yourself to any military service.

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Re: Going for Marine Corps JAG- Advice, Stories, Etc...?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 14, 2010 1:21 am

PopCopyManager wrote:
Drew2010 wrote:
jlnoa0915 wrote:

Agreed to a point, and as I hesitantly assume you are or were in the armed forces, you should know there is no 'front line' and if, for example, a convoy was attacked, the officers and NCOs need to take charge. Not the same as an infantry squad, but combat is combat. That said, I also had buddies who were admin and aviation Marines tapped to join infantry squads for patrols. (though this is the enlisted side and albeit not the same as commissioned officers but however unlikely, is still a possibility and something a person should be to terms with before becoming a Marine.)


nothing in this paragraph is blatantly false, but it is somewhat misleading... while there isn't a 'front line' there is a pretty huge difference between a grunt deployment and a POG deployment



Credited... this is basically what I was trying to say


Yeah

I don't think anyone is saying you should expect to be an infantry officer first, just that you should be well aware that you could wind up in combat. While I'm going to assume you have been in the military and know better than I, I don't think the ex-SJA's I spoke with were posturing when they said they lead nightly patrols in Vietnam. Is this atypical or unlikely? Possibly. But to act like you shouldn't worry about combat or be prepared for the possibility of it seems a little bit...well stupid, frankly. I think many people who are interested in JAG don't realize that you are also joining the military and all that entails (though the OP does). The OSO I worked with made it seem like combat was unlikely, and I would tend to agree, but to act like it isn't a serious consideration one needs to think about before signing up is pretty ridiculous, especially for the Marine Corps. Again, you may know better than I, and I know infantry, armor etc. are all seperate schools after TBS, but I don't think you are going through 6 months of TBS just for fun. Contrast this to the Air Force where you aren't even an unrestricted line officer.
Sources; Ex-JAGs and SJAs, recruiters, immediate family members who have served in both the Marines and Air Force (in non-legal billets).

Saurus
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Re: Going for Marine Corps JAG- Advice, Stories, Etc...?

Postby Saurus » Tue Jan 19, 2010 3:33 pm

Thanks for the advice, this has been extremely useful. I think I have what it takes, I just need to complete more research regarding military law to ensure that this is something I have a genuine fascination with. Thanks to everyone that has responded.

merryo
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Re: Going for Marine Corps JAG- Advice, Stories, Etc...?

Postby merryo » Thu Apr 29, 2010 6:16 pm

I know exactly the process you are going through. I was recently selected to attend Marine OCS in the PLC-Law program and will be shipping early June.

In case anyone was wondering, my stats are 163/3.1 and I am attending Maryland Law School (was waitlisted at NYU - so maybe, but probably not). I scored a 245 on the PFT that went with the application and didn't consider myself to be in great shape, but I have since been scoring 270 - 280 on a regular basis with time left to improve by early June.

For me it was a difficult choice, and I am still having to take time to really grasp the decision I have made and don't think it will really hit me until my first week of OCS. My parents are also very apprehensive about me joining the armed forces, more specifically about me joining the Marines. I took what they said to heart, but I feel that this is the best choice for me. I couldn't see myself working in a private firm for countless hours with nothing to show for it but money. That isn't what I am about. I wanted to study law, however, and this gives me the opportunity to maximize my physical, emotional, and mental capacity while getting the opportunity to do something worthwhile.

The reason I chose the Marines is simple. My grandfather was a Marine in WWII and earned 5 Distinguished Flying crosses. My grandmother was also a Marine and is one of the youngest commissioned officers in the history of the Marines. My brother-in-law was a Marine Enlisted and later became a Marine Officer (Mustangs, as they call them). Not only do I have a family tradition of the Marines, but I was really excited about being trained as a Marine Rifleman and the whole aspect of being a "Marine first".

I have spoken with the OSO and also current Marine JAG officers, and they all seem to echo the same thing. For male JAG officers, it is highly unlikely you will see combat. You will likely be deployed with a combat battalion, but you will be in a forward command post giving advice to Marines on the rules of engagement, dealing with their legal issues, and all of that stuff - but it's not like you will be the point man during a house raid or the taking of a town. Of course you will have to travel with convoys - how they hell else would you get around? However, who knows what the situation will be like in any of these countries in 3-4 years? For all we know the majority of the troops could be pulled out of Iraq and Afghanistan by the time we graduate from law school, go through TBS and Naval Justice School, and finally get our assignment. Whatever it is, however, I will take it and deal with it.

You can message me if you want any advice or want me to put you in contact with some current JAG people.

Good luck on your decision!

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Re: Going for Marine Corps JAG- Advice, Stories, Etc...?

Postby JupiterOne » Fri May 07, 2010 11:47 pm

I may have some helpful experience to share regarding the USMC JAGC. I graduated from law school in December 2008 and subsequently lost my profitable job at an international corporate law firm. Based on my previous enlisted experience with the US Air Force and the fast deteriorating career prospects for young lawyers, I applied to all branches of the military for a JAG position, and I was one of the lucky 7% accepted, to top it I was accepted both in the US Army JAG Corps and the US Marine JAG Corps.

I first met with an officer recruiter in South Florida and trained with the Marines, taking care of paper work, and learning more about what that career path entailed as opposed to the Army path. The Marines is the smallest branch in the military, unlike its sister branches, the Marines is a Core, not a Department, as such it relies on the US Navy, on which it is dependent for all funding, to provide professional officers being physicians and chaplains. However, the USMC does have its own lawyers, but they remain line officers as another post here already alluded to, so they can be put in charge of things outside the legal realm, which can be your cup of tea. The training with the Marines was most defenitely challenging physically, I had a hard time with those pesky chin-ups, but I was getting in shape fast and I loved the pride and esprit the corps exhibited by this elite warrior class... however.

I found out a few things that gave me pause about the USMC JAGC program. For one, you enter the program as any other officer, meaning that unlike the other branches which give you recognition for your extra years in school and the added costs incurred, in the Marines you start as an O1, as a Second Leutenant, instead of starting as an O2 for 6 months during training, and then becoming an O3. Being treated as if I just had a Bachelor's degree without any recognition of my law degree burned me as a matter of principle and regarding my finances. Second, the US Army offers a Loan Repayment Program which pays back up to $65,000 in school loans, an amazing break... the Marines offer no such benefit. Third, the training with the Army consists of a 12 day orientation period in VA, a 10 week course in military law in beautiful and prestigious Charlottesville, VA, next to the UVA campus, followed by OCS in Ft Benning, GA for about 6 weeks... and they try to give you your choice of station to keep you happy, which mine was Hawaii and I got it (yes, I chose the US Army JAG Corps over the US Marines for the reasons I'm unfolding), while the training with the US Marines was a grueling 8 months of pure hell, where you become an infantry officer, and only then do they teach you about military law... you may want the adventure, but I'm quite focused on my goals, and have sparse energy or time to spare for things outside my interests, but that's a personal matter which you may not share. Finally, the US Army being the greatest branch in scope and size, it reaches a lot further, and has many more opportunities, for example I'd like to work for NATO in Brussels at some point as well as specialize in cotracts with large military contracting firms for latter in life... while, in the Marines, you'll be concentrated on filing assault charges non-stop, and do criminal, operational, family and administrative law mainly, which may be what fits you best, but it's not my case.

Anyways, that was my perspective on the matter. I chose the US Army JAGs over the US Marines for the reasons I enumerated, however both are amazingly prestigious and personally gratifying choices for sure, and your decision must be based on your particular circumstances and personal goals.

I wish you luck and I look forward to working with you.

Salute.

Saurus
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Re: Going for Marine Corps JAG- Advice, Stories, Etc...?

Postby Saurus » Tue May 11, 2010 6:19 pm

JupiterOne wrote:I may have some helpful experience to share regarding the USMC JAGC. I graduated from law school in December 2008 and subsequently lost my profitable job at an international corporate law firm. Based on my previous enlisted experience with the US Air Force and the fast deteriorating career prospects for young lawyers, I applied to all branches of the military for a JAG position, and I was one of the lucky 7% accepted, to top it I was accepted both in the US Army JAG Corps and the US Marine JAG Corps.

I first met with an officer recruiter in South Florida and trained with the Marines, taking care of paper work, and learning more about what that career path entailed as opposed to the Army path. The Marines is the smallest branch in the military, unlike its sister branches, the Marines is a Core, not a Department, as such it relies on the US Navy, on which it is dependent for all funding, to provide professional officers being physicians and chaplains. However, the USMC does have its own lawyers, but they remain line officers as another post here already alluded to, so they can be put in charge of things outside the legal realm, which can be your cup of tea. The training with the Marines was most defenitely challenging physically, I had a hard time with those pesky chin-ups, but I was getting in shape fast and I loved the pride and esprit the corps exhibited by this elite warrior class... however.

I found out a few things that gave me pause about the USMC JAGC program. For one, you enter the program as any other officer, meaning that unlike the other branches which give you recognition for your extra years in school and the added costs incurred, in the Marines you start as an O1, as a Second Leutenant, instead of starting as an O2 for 6 months during training, and then becoming an O3. Being treated as if I just had a Bachelor's degree without any recognition of my law degree burned me as a matter of principle and regarding my finances. Second, the US Army offers a Loan Repayment Program which pays back up to $65,000 in school loans, an amazing break... the Marines offer no such benefit. Third, the training with the Army consists of a 12 day orientation period in VA, a 10 week course in military law in beautiful and prestigious Charlottesville, VA, next to the UVA campus, followed by OCS in Ft Benning, GA for about 6 weeks... and they try to give you your choice of station to keep you happy, which mine was Hawaii and I got it (yes, I chose the US Army JAG Corps over the US Marines for the reasons I'm unfolding), while the training with the US Marines was a grueling 8 months of pure hell, where you become an infantry officer, and only then do they teach you about military law... you may want the adventure, but I'm quite focused on my goals, and have sparse energy or time to spare for things outside my interests, but that's a personal matter which you may not share. Finally, the US Army being the greatest branch in scope and size, it reaches a lot further, and has many more opportunities, for example I'd like to work for NATO in Brussels at some point as well as specialize in cotracts with large military contracting firms for latter in life... while, in the Marines, you'll be concentrated on filing assault charges non-stop, and do criminal, operational, family and administrative law mainly, which may be what fits you best, but it's not my case.

Anyways, that was my perspective on the matter. I chose the US Army JAGs over the US Marines for the reasons I enumerated, however both are amazingly prestigious and personally gratifying choices for sure, and your decision must be based on your particular circumstances and personal goals.

I wish you luck and I look forward to working with you.

Salute.



Very useful information, thanks! It's been a while since I've posted on this particular conversation, but I'm still very interested in JAG... either way, due to the high selectivity of these programs, it sounds like it is a necessity to apply to all of them. However, the Marines are what peak my interest (as of now), but we'll see how it goes. I suppose the best thing is to focus on start of my 1st year of law school... (gotta take it step by step, haha)




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