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Law Firm and National Guard / Reserve?

Posted: Mon Jul 04, 2011 9:11 pm
by R7A333

I have an unusual question for the forum. I’m a rising 2L at a lower T-14 school, and I’m considering National Guard service. (My grades are about average, maybe a bit above. I’m pretty sure that I could improve them during my 2L and 3L years). Since I would not want to go the JAG route, the Guard would require me to take almost a year of training for a commission. Unfortunately, I hear that many larger and midsized firms won’t touch applicants who’ve spent time in non-legal jobs like consulting, and I worry that military training would create the same problem, or worse.

This leaves me with a dilemma. I really do want to serve, but I haven’t heard about many lawyers who’ve managed to maintain legal careers at the same time that they fulfill National Guard or Reserve duties. Would attending Officer Candidate School between the end of my 3L year and the beginning of my first job destroy my career prospects? (In that scenario, I'm not sure if I could ask my 2L summer employer for a year-long extension, or if I would have to look for post-OCS work during my 3L year).

Alternatively, would taking a gap year between 2L and 3L year -- if possible -- cause the same problem?

Are either of these possibilities viable? I’ve done as much research as I could, but I haven’t located too much information about lawyers in the Guard aside from an occasional news story. Where do I go from here? If I choose to proceed, how should I prepare for my job search? What extra steps should I take?

(Incidentally, I would prefer a job in Pennsylvania, New York, or New Jersey, but if other options are available I would be willing to move.)

Thanks for your time, everyone.

Re: Law Firm and National Guard / Reserve?

Posted: Sat Jul 30, 2011 3:50 pm
by firemed
Bump because I am interested in responses to this....

OP if you don't get any responses try asking this question again in the military law forum. It seems pretty active.

Re: Law Firm and National Guard / Reserve?

Posted: Sat Jul 30, 2011 6:02 pm
by NeighborGuy
As a 0L I can't address your question specifically, but as a recent veteran I'm going to advise you not to get involved with the military for any reason other than love of country. You need to ask yourself if you want to join because of prestige, or benefits, or job security, or any other such ulterior motive. If you are, my advice is to forget it and focus on law. You'll be much better off.

Re: Law Firm and National Guard / Reserve?

Posted: Sat Jul 30, 2011 10:00 pm
by Anonymous User
I've been out of law school about 2 years now and know a couple of people who are reservists as well as lawyers. All of them were active duty before law school. As far as I can tell, their military service was extremely well regarded by law firms. 2 are litigators at big firms and one works for a very highly regarded district attorney's office. They all have no problem getting time off for drills, and they tell me that they still get good work assignments and work with great partners. It also sounds like partners who are veterans/former JAG, as well as former AUSAs, gov't attorneys, and Assistant DAs really value military experience.