BigLaw Associate Considering Adding Air Force JAG Reserve

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Anonymous User
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BigLaw Associate Considering Adding Air Force JAG Reserve

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Mar 11, 2013 3:17 pm

First year associate at a biglaw firm here. I'm considering applying for the Air Force JAG Reserve. The Air Force only requires a 4-year minimum commitment. One weekend a month, and two weeks a year seems completely manageable. Some major benefits of the JAG Reserve include: 1) eligibility for VA Home Loans (no down payment, compared to 3.5% down for FHA -- this would save me from having to spend approximately $20,000 upfront); and 2) $65,000 student loan repayments over three years.

My big fear is the required time off for training. It would consist of approximately 13 weeks for COT and JASOC training. I'm well aware of USERRA protections. However, I'm concerned about the practical implications. How would would a firm look upon this? Clearly an associate, especially a first-year, is that much less valuable to a firm if they have to give paid time off for military leave. Has anyone joined the JAG Reserve as a first-year associate? Should I wait until I have a full year of experience? Or maybe try to get accepted as soon as possible, so as to do training before I get too far/entrenched in my career? Again, it's the initial training period that worries me -- not the follow-up weekends and two weeks a year.

Any advice?

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jawsthegreat
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Re: BigLaw Associate Considering Adding Air Force JAG Reserve

Postby jawsthegreat » Mon Mar 11, 2013 3:19 pm

PM me

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Re: BigLaw Associate Considering Adding Air Force JAG Reserve

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Mar 11, 2013 3:21 pm

jawsthegreat wrote:PM me


PM sent. Thanks for the quick response.

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patrickd139
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Re: BigLaw Associate Considering Adding Air Force JAG Reserve

Postby patrickd139 » Mon Mar 11, 2013 3:22 pm

Won't you lose more than $65k in bonuses by missing billable targets during the weekends you miss for service plus the foregone salary from the ~20 or so weeks you'd be out for training?

Also, why not just save the money for the down payment?

I mean, if you're interested in civil service for your country, that's one thing. Doing this for a cheaper down payment for a house and for loan forgiveness seems a bit...off.

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Re: BigLaw Associate Considering Adding Air Force JAG Reserve

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Mar 11, 2013 3:29 pm

patrickd139 wrote:Would you not make more than $65k in bonuses by hitting billable targets during the weekends you miss for service plus the foregone salary from the ~20 or so weeks you'd be out for training?

Also, why not just save the money for the down payment?

I mean, if you're interested in civil service for your country, that's one thing. Doing this for a cheaper down payment for a house and for loan forgiveness seems a bit...off.


There are many reasons for my wanting to join the JAG reserves. Some of them are too personal to be posting in a public forum. Additional non-identifying reasons include the additional training, prestige, and service of country. The financial incentives, however, are also a part of my decision making process. And there's nothing wrong with that. That's the whole point of those financial incentives.

As for the number crunching: first-year bonuses are not anywhere near $65K. They were before the recession. Now, first years are lucky to receive $10K at most major firms. Plus, I don't work every weekend anyways. This would be extra cash. And I have a down payment saved up. It would be nice to keep that as my rainy-day fund though, if possible.

Sup Kid
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Re: BigLaw Associate Considering Adding Air Force JAG Reserve

Postby Sup Kid » Mon Mar 11, 2013 8:35 pm

Anonymous User wrote:First year associate at a biglaw firm here. I'm considering applying for the Air Force JAG Reserve. The Air Force only requires a 4-year minimum commitment. One weekend a month, and two weeks a year seems completely manageable. Some major benefits of the JAG Reserve include: 1) eligibility for VA Home Loans (no down payment, compared to 3.5% down for FHA -- this would save me from having to spend approximately $20,000 upfront); and 2) $65,000 student loan repayments over three years.

My big fear is the required time off for training. It would consist of approximately 13 weeks for COT and JASOC training. I'm well aware of USERRA protections. However, I'm concerned about the practical implications. How would would a firm look upon this? Clearly an associate, especially a first-year, is that much less valuable to a firm if they have to give paid time off for military leave. Has anyone joined the JAG Reserve as a first-year associate? Should I wait until I have a full year of experience? Or maybe try to get accepted as soon as possible, so as to do training before I get too far/entrenched in my career? Again, it's the initial training period that worries me -- not the follow-up weekends and two weeks a year.

Any advice?

My gut reaction after working at a firm for ~6 months now is that the inevitable question (even if not actually asked) by the partners in your group will be "Why didn't you do the 13 weeks of training after the bar exam before you began work?" I agree that the one weekend/month and two weeks/year is fine (though it may cut into some of your vacation time), but the upfront training is definitely a concern. I would personally run it by some midlevels at your firm that you're close with to get their point of view.

markeconrad
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Re: BigLaw Associate Considering Adding Air Force JAG Reserve

Postby markeconrad » Tue Mar 12, 2013 10:15 am

So basically you'll be owned by both the BigLaw firm and the US government. Sounds terrible.

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TTH
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Re: BigLaw Associate Considering Adding Air Force JAG Reserve

Postby TTH » Tue Mar 12, 2013 1:42 pm

I think I would be furious if I were the partner that went to bat for you after OCI/callback to get you an offer if you did this. Whether you mean it to or not, I think doing this screams from a rooftop that you are ambivalent about the firm and its practice. I don't know anything about USERRA or protections for military folks from workplace discrimination, but I imagine there are a million ways for a biglaw firm to build a paper trail on any associate to get them out the door within a year or two if they want to.

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patrickd139
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Re: BigLaw Associate Considering Adding Air Force JAG Reserve

Postby patrickd139 » Tue Mar 12, 2013 2:01 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
patrickd139 wrote:Would you not make more than $65k in bonuses by hitting billable targets during the weekends you miss for service plus the foregone salary from the ~20 or so weeks you'd be out for training?

Also, why not just save the money for the down payment?

I mean, if you're interested in civil service for your country, that's one thing. Doing this for a cheaper down payment for a house and for loan forgiveness seems a bit...off.


There are many reasons for my wanting to join the JAG reserves. Some of them are too personal to be posting in a public forum. Additional non-identifying reasons include the additional training, prestige, and service of country. The financial incentives, however, are also a part of my decision making process. And there's nothing wrong with that. That's the whole point of those financial incentives.

As for the number crunching: first-year bonuses are not anywhere near $65K. They were before the recession. Now, first years are lucky to receive $10K at most major firms. Plus, I don't work every weekend anyways. This would be extra cash. And I have a down payment saved up. It would be nice to keep that as my rainy-day fund though, if possible.

I didn't say there was anything wrong with the finances being a part of your decision-making process, I just think that, financially, you're better off going only the firm route than AFR JAG.

And I'm very well aware that first years only make $10k in bonuses. But that's not all you're giving up, and you're not just giving it up your first year. Like my post said, you've got to consider the fact that you're missing 3 MONTHS of salary for initial training, 2 WEEKS per year after that for training, AND the possibility (certainty?) that you'll be missing billables during the one weekend per month that you miss for service. You don't get to pick which weekends you work, and I guarantee that, given a long enough timeframe, there's going to be some conflict.

My overall point: Adding all of that up, you're probably losing (net) more than $65k on just the salary you're giving up for training alone during the 4 years. I'm glad you've got non-financial reasons to pursue this, because from a purely financial reason, which is all your OP mentioned, btw, this plan doesn't make sense.

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Re: BigLaw Associate Considering Adding Air Force JAG Reserve

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Mar 12, 2013 8:37 pm

patrickd139 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
patrickd139 wrote:Would you not make more than $65k in bonuses by hitting billable targets during the weekends you miss for service plus the foregone salary from the ~20 or so weeks you'd be out for training?

Also, why not just save the money for the down payment?

I mean, if you're interested in civil service for your country, that's one thing. Doing this for a cheaper down payment for a house and for loan forgiveness seems a bit...off.


There are many reasons for my wanting to join the JAG reserves. Some of them are too personal to be posting in a public forum. Additional non-identifying reasons include the additional training, prestige, and service of country. The financial incentives, however, are also a part of my decision making process. And there's nothing wrong with that. That's the whole point of those financial incentives.

As for the number crunching: first-year bonuses are not anywhere near $65K. They were before the recession. Now, first years are lucky to receive $10K at most major firms. Plus, I don't work every weekend anyways. This would be extra cash. And I have a down payment saved up. It would be nice to keep that as my rainy-day fund though, if possible.

I didn't say there was anything wrong with the finances being a part of your decision-making process, I just think that, financially, you're better off going only the firm route than AFR JAG.

And I'm very well aware that first years only make $10k in bonuses. But that's not all you're giving up, and you're not just giving it up your first year. Like my post said, you've got to consider the fact that you're missing 3 MONTHS of salary for initial training, 2 WEEKS per year after that for training, AND the possibility (certainty?) that you'll be missing billables during the one weekend per month that you miss for service. You don't get to pick which weekends you work, and I guarantee that, given a long enough timeframe, there's going to be some conflict.

My overall point: Adding all of that up, you're probably losing (net) more than $65k on just the salary you're giving up for training alone during the 4 years. I'm glad you've got non-financial reasons to pursue this, because from a purely financial reason, which is all your OP mentioned, btw, this plan doesn't make sense.


It's called Paid Time Off for military leave. Most large firms offer it FYI. So yes, it would be in one's financial interest to do so. Whether it would be in one's practical interest (e.g., pissing off partners) is another matter altogether.

Anonymous User
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Re: BigLaw Associate Considering Adding Air Force JAG Reserve

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 28, 2014 7:53 pm

Can you provide an update about what you decided RE enlisting and why? If you enlisted, how is it going? Do you recommend it to others?




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