Military Law

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Re: Military Law

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Apr 01, 2018 12:59 pm

JARO should send you the packing list a few weeks before you report.

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howell

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Re: Military Law

Postby howell » Mon Apr 02, 2018 10:10 pm

I'm answering some questions from the Navy thread here 1) to not hijack their thread too much and 2) see if anyone else has input.

I am most interested in AF Jag and am seriously considering the GLP program. I have heard that this puts a fairly heavy workload on an already busy law students life but am willing to do this. Can you highlight any reasons why I should do GLP vs the one year program or DA other than the obvious?

Unfortunately, no, I don't have much besides the obvious. Getting a job lined up is the big thing. If you know you want to work in the AF JAG Corps, I would apply at every opportunity you can. Others here might be able to talk about when, exactly, you commission in the GLP and OYCP, because I believe that is the point at which you can't back out.

How soon can you hit the ground running once the training is done? Is there such thing as a typical case load or is it all over the map depending on the base etc?

Possibly immediately. Each of the services handles the first 2-4 years a bit differently. Your first 2 years in the AF will be at a base legal office. You will be prosecuting members in courts-martial, providing legal assistance, doing admin law, and other tasks all at the same time. You could be in court the week you get back from JASOC or it might be a few months. It depends on the base (i.e., justice tempo) and what courts you get assigned to. But you will be working on cases immediately, even if it's in the investigation stage. You will prosecute cases throughout your first assignment.

Your case load will greatly depend on your base and your manning. Some bases are always busy. Some spike higher some years than others - a few drug rings will do that pretty quick. How many Capts you have on hand also affects things. At my first assignment, we went from 6 O-3 billets down to 5 as soon as I got there. We rarely had over 3 at any given time for the next 1.5 years, often managing an office with just 2 O-3s that had been manned with ~10 just 3-4 years prior. If you're at a slow base, you can try to get put on cases at other bases, but I doubt that will happen very often.

Some people go on to another base legal office for their second assignment, and it will be more of the same. Others go to a specialized position like an Area Defense Counsel or Special Victims Counsel. As an ADC, all you do is defend Airmen. That includes admin actions as well, which can take up a lot of time, but you're in court a lot more than you are in the base legal office (in most cases). I shot for 1 court per month plus 1 non-court per month (like a discharge board). That was a nice pace, but you can go faster than that (and sometimes have to). I wouldn't have said it at the time, but the job was amazing. I wish I could go back.

A good number of people move to an ADC gig after 2-4 years in the base legal office, and then that opens the door to our litigation "track." After being an ADC, you can try to be a Senior Trial Counsel, Senior Defense Counsel, or one of the appellate gigs. Some people stay in these jobs their first 8-10 years, but you definitely run the risk of not making O-5. But damn if you don't 1) have fun and 2) get great experience.

I am a 0L and will be choosing between Notre Dame and Vandy in the next couple of weeks. I know ND has an ROTC attached and Vandy uses cross town Tennessee State, but does having an ROTC on campus help an ND student get the prorec any more than a Vandy student?


If I'm understanding your question correctly, no, having the detachment on campus vs. off makes no difference that I am aware of. You get a letter from the ROTC detachment before you apply saying they can support you. Once you have that, I would be shocked if anyone cared further.

Lastly with a 167 LSAT and assuming median make me competitive for a GLP spot? Sorry for all the questions but I am seriously looking at this and am very focused on the criminal aspect of law so any help is greatly appreciated.

GLP seems really nebulous to me. I don't know why they pick the people they do. I know who I would prioritize, but I have no idea if that's what the board does. I haven't had a chance to observe a board yet. If they care about the LSAT score (unlikely), yours would definitely help based off of the average scores I see from applicants. But part of that may be the schools nearby that send applicants our way.

For GLP, the SJA still has to write a report on you on the main areas, and one of the most important is trial/litigation experience. Good luck standing out there as a 1L, but I guess it's possible if you did mock trial in college or something. I would prioritize prior military experience, but I truly don't know if the board does.

I have gotten feedback about students having poor grades. I think the best thing you could do is get good grades your first semester, but I imagine you're properly motivated to do that anyway.

Sorry I couldn't be more help on some of these.

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Re: Military Law

Postby RedPurpleBlue » Tue Apr 03, 2018 3:40 am

The AF JAG advertises that they offer 30 days of paid vacation. That's a lot. Do people actually take this much vacation? If so, is it going to negatively affect your career prospects going forward in JAG?

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Re: Military Law

Postby Patrick Bateman » Tue Apr 03, 2018 5:17 am

RedPurpleBlue wrote:The AF JAG advertises that they offer 30 days of paid vacation. That's a lot. Do people actually take this much vacation? If so, is it going to negatively affect your career prospects going forward in JAG?


All military members earn 2.5 days of leave per month. We (in theory) also have Federal holidays off but that is obviously subject to mission requirements. A lot of Wing commanders will also authorize a "family day" that bookends some of the Federal holidays as well, in effect creating a four day weekend.

The negative, that is different from civilian jobs, is that if you are beyond a certain geographic area from the base, you have to be on leave status - even if that includes weekends or holidays. That means you will be burning your leave days if you travel on that "four day weekend." That geographic limitation can vary wildly from base to base. For example, USAFE bases generally have "Europe" as the restriction, so one can really take advantage of a long weekend without burning any leave. On the other hand, you might be at a northern tier base that is several hours from anywhere and taking any meaningful time off will mean burning leave days.

Most offices will encourage you to take appropriate amounts of leave to make sure folks are not burning out. It will depend on your office and your mission on how you end up actually using that leave.

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Re: Military Law

Postby Mobster1983 » Tue Apr 03, 2018 5:35 am

RedPurpleBlue wrote:The AF JAG advertises that they offer 30 days of paid vacation. That's a lot. Do people actually take this much vacation? If so, is it going to negatively affect your career prospects going forward in JAG?


Can't speak to JAG specifically, but to the military in general. You get 30 days of leave, and unused carries over to the next years. You can save up to 60 days of leave at the end of the fiscal year. Anything above and it is "use or lose." In ten years AD, have never seen anyone lose leave because they couldn't take it. Plan ahead and you will be fine. No individual in the military is so important that they can't take leave. Trust me, we are all expendable. ;-)

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Re: Military Law

Postby lawdaddy1 » Tue Apr 03, 2018 8:07 am

howell wrote:I'm answering some questions from the Navy thread here 1) to not hijack their thread too much and 2) see if anyone else has input.

I am most interested in AF Jag and am seriously considering the GLP program. I have heard that this puts a fairly heavy workload on an already busy law students life but am willing to do this. Can you highlight any reasons why I should do GLP vs the one year program or DA other than the obvious?

Unfortunately, no, I don't have much besides the obvious. Getting a job lined up is the big thing. If you know you want to work in the AF JAG Corps, I would apply at every opportunity you can. Others here might be able to talk about when, exactly, you commission in the GLP and OYCP, because I believe that is the point at which you can't back out.

How soon can you hit the ground running once the training is done? Is there such thing as a typical case load or is it all over the map depending on the base etc?

Possibly immediately. Each of the services handles the first 2-4 years a bit differently. Your first 2 years in the AF will be at a base legal office. You will be prosecuting members in courts-martial, providing legal assistance, doing admin law, and other tasks all at the same time. You could be in court the week you get back from JASOC or it might be a few months. It depends on the base (i.e., justice tempo) and what courts you get assigned to. But you will be working on cases immediately, even if it's in the investigation stage. You will prosecute cases throughout your first assignment.

Your case load will greatly depend on your base and your manning. Some bases are always busy. Some spike higher some years than others - a few drug rings will do that pretty quick. How many Capts you have on hand also affects things. At my first assignment, we went from 6 O-3 billets down to 5 as soon as I got there. We rarely had over 3 at any given time for the next 1.5 years, often managing an office with just 2 O-3s that had been manned with ~10 just 3-4 years prior. If you're at a slow base, you can try to get put on cases at other bases, but I doubt that will happen very often.

Some people go on to another base legal office for their second assignment, and it will be more of the same. Others go to a specialized position like an Area Defense Counsel or Special Victims Counsel. As an ADC, all you do is defend Airmen. That includes admin actions as well, which can take up a lot of time, but you're in court a lot more than you are in the base legal office (in most cases). I shot for 1 court per month plus 1 non-court per month (like a discharge board). That was a nice pace, but you can go faster than that (and sometimes have to). I wouldn't have said it at the time, but the job was amazing. I wish I could go back.

A good number of people move to an ADC gig after 2-4 years in the base legal office, and then that opens the door to our litigation "track." After being an ADC, you can try to be a Senior Trial Counsel, Senior Defense Counsel, or one of the appellate gigs. Some people stay in these jobs their first 8-10 years, but you definitely run the risk of not making O-5. But damn if you don't 1) have fun and 2) get great experience.

I am a 0L and will be choosing between Notre Dame and Vandy in the next couple of weeks. I know ND has an ROTC attached and Vandy uses cross town Tennessee State, but does having an ROTC on campus help an ND student get the prorec any more than a Vandy student?


If I'm understanding your question correctly, no, having the detachment on campus vs. off makes no difference that I am aware of. You get a letter from the ROTC detachment before you apply saying they can support you. Once you have that, I would be shocked if anyone cared further.

Lastly with a 167 LSAT and assuming median make me competitive for a GLP spot? Sorry for all the questions but I am seriously looking at this and am very focused on the criminal aspect of law so any help is greatly appreciated.

GLP seems really nebulous to me. I don't know why they pick the people they do. I know who I would prioritize, but I have no idea if that's what the board does. I haven't had a chance to observe a board yet. If they care about the LSAT score (unlikely), yours would definitely help based off of the average scores I see from applicants. But part of that may be the schools nearby that send applicants our way.

For GLP, the SJA still has to write a report on you on the main areas, and one of the most important is trial/litigation experience. Good luck standing out there as a 1L, but I guess it's possible if you did mock trial in college or something. I would prioritize prior military experience, but I truly don't know if the board does.

I have gotten feedback about students having poor grades. I think the best thing you could do is get good grades your first semester, but I imagine you're properly motivated to do that anyway.

Sorry I couldn't be more help on some of these.


Thank you very much for your insightful answers. I haven't gotten any trial experience but did have the opportunity to shadow a magistrate judge and have been interviewed for a summer internship for the State's Attorney's office where I am from. If I am fortunate enough to land that internship I hope it would help some. Thanks again!

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Re: Military Law

Postby usn26 » Tue Apr 03, 2018 8:44 am

Patrick Bateman wrote:
RedPurpleBlue wrote:The AF JAG advertises that they offer 30 days of paid vacation. That's a lot. Do people actually take this much vacation? If so, is it going to negatively affect your career prospects going forward in JAG?


The negative, that is different from civilian jobs, is that if you are beyond a certain geographic area from the base, you have to be on leave status - even if that includes weekends or holidays. That means you will be burning your leave days if you travel on that "four day weekend." That geographic limitation can vary wildly from base to base. For example, USAFE bases generally have "Europe" as the restriction, so one can really take advantage of a long weekend without burning any leave. On the other hand, you might be at a northern tier base that is several hours from anywhere and taking any meaningful time off will mean burning leave days.


This is generally true, although how strictly it is enforced may vary based on service and command. I asked a few CG JAGs about this and I don't think they had ever had to consider it, for example taking trips from DC to New England on a three-day federal holiday weekend.

Also, IIRC back when I was joining the Navy ('09-ish) the deal was you had to check in and out of leave in person (on base? I forget exactly why this was the case), so you would burn leave on weekend days that you would have gotten off anyway. So if you went on an out of state trip and left on Saturday the 7th and got back on Sunday the 15th, you'd burn 9 days of leave even though you'd only had five days off work. Does that sound familiar Patrick? The Coastie JAGs I've talked to had never heard of such a thing.

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Re: Military Law

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Apr 03, 2018 9:07 am

RedPurpleBlue wrote:The AF JAG advertises that they offer 30 days of paid vacation. That's a lot. Do people actually take this much vacation? If so, is it going to negatively affect your career prospects going forward in JAG?


I actually haven't used enough vacation in the last few years, so I have to use another two weeks of leave before losing it in September. And I took a TON of vacations in the last two years (foreign countries, sibling's wedding, multiple trips to the beach, etc). I got lucky with the 18-week maternity leave policy a few years back, and didn't use any of my accrued vacation that year as a result. Additionally, any medical leave ("convalescent leave") does not count towards your 30 days paid vacation. That means any sick days, medical appointments, recovery time from surgeries, etc. aren't charged leave.

As a result, I know many officers (especially senior ones) that end up taking off every Friday from July-Sept... they need to burn through the extra vacation and figure they might as well make a consistent 4-day week out of it. I don't know anyone that has outright lost leave, but some definitely scramble during the summer to use what they have!

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Re: Military Law

Postby Patrick Bateman » Tue Apr 03, 2018 9:10 am

usn26 wrote:
Patrick Bateman wrote:
RedPurpleBlue wrote:The AF JAG advertises that they offer 30 days of paid vacation. That's a lot. Do people actually take this much vacation? If so, is it going to negatively affect your career prospects going forward in JAG?


The negative, that is different from civilian jobs, is that if you are beyond a certain geographic area from the base, you have to be on leave status - even if that includes weekends or holidays. That means you will be burning your leave days if you travel on that "four day weekend." That geographic limitation can vary wildly from base to base. For example, USAFE bases generally have "Europe" as the restriction, so one can really take advantage of a long weekend without burning any leave. On the other hand, you might be at a northern tier base that is several hours from anywhere and taking any meaningful time off will mean burning leave days.


This is generally true, although how strictly it is enforced may vary based on service and command. I asked a few CG JAGs about this and I don't think they had ever had to consider it, for example taking trips from DC to New England on a three-day federal holiday weekend.

Also, IIRC back when I was joining the Navy ('09-ish) the deal was you had to check in and out of leave in person (on base? I forget exactly why this was the case), so you would burn leave on weekend days that you would have gotten off anyway. So if you went on an out of state trip and left on Saturday the 7th and got back on Sunday the 15th, you'd burn 9 days of leave even though you'd only had five days off work. Does that sound familiar Patrick? The Coastie JAGs I've talked to had never heard of such a thing.


So I am not sure if USCG might have slightly different rules with this in that they fall under DHS vice DOD. What you are describing with them sounds basically how leave is handled as a Federal civilian. You only burn leave days for your actual days out of the office -- this does not count weekends or Federal holidays (if I take leave Sat the 7th - Sunday the 15th, I am only on the hook for 5 leave days in my current Federal job).

For the AD folks, your hypo with the 7th->15th is correct. If your time off takes you off station and beyond the geographic limit, that time is charged against you regardless of weekends or other days off. All 9 days get deducted. You can sometimes work the system a little smarter, and return from a trip on Friday evening, enabling you to have your weekend off but not being charged for those weekend days.

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Re: Military Law

Postby howell » Tue Apr 03, 2018 9:32 am

usn26 wrote:This is generally true, although how strictly it is enforced may vary based on service and command. I asked a few CG JAGs about this and I don't think they had ever had to consider it, for example taking trips from DC to New England on a three-day federal holiday weekend.

Also, IIRC back when I was joining the Navy ('09-ish) the deal was you had to check in and out of leave in person (on base? I forget exactly why this was the case), so you would burn leave on weekend days that you would have gotten off anyway. So if you went on an out of state trip and left on Saturday the 7th and got back on Sunday the 15th, you'd burn 9 days of leave even though you'd only had five days off work. Does that sound familiar Patrick? The Coastie JAGs I've talked to had never heard of such a thing.

I believe the rules say we should take 9 days of leave for that example. How much that is enforced varies from office to office. The leave rules aren't as clear as they should be, and so I take my honest best guess at what days should be claimed, and I have never had pushback on it, despite being in some very strict offices. The main concern would likely be whether you're in the line of duty when you break a leg skiing or whatever.

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Re: Military Law

Postby usn26 » Tue Apr 03, 2018 11:17 am

howell wrote:The main concern would likely be whether you're in the line of duty when you break a leg skiing or whatever.


Having done DES and VA work I'm fairly certain that wouldn't make a difference for those purposes. Breaking your leg skiing in Aspen while you're on "liberty" from JB Andrews might not end great for other reasons, of course.

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Re: Military Law

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Apr 03, 2018 4:41 pm

Has any AD army JAG selection for FY 18/19, who is possibly slated to DCC 10/18, heard anything from JARO regarding obtainin the SF 86 for security clearance..

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Re: Military Law

Postby RedPurpleBlue » Tue Apr 03, 2018 9:09 pm

Thanks for going into such great detail about my leave question!

I've got a few more for you all. I apologize if they have been asked already, but I went through about 30 pages of this thread and spent some time using the search function to no avail. Hopefully my questions will be somewhat unique!

1. PB has previously alluded to the possibility of doing a contracting LLM at GW with a service commitment attached during the senior years of being Capt, if I recall correctly. I was wondering what other LLM (and general continuing education opportunities) look like through the USAF (or other services). The AF website is rather vague and just says you can pursue an LLM in "government contract law, environmental law, labor law, cyber law, air and space law and international law" or pursue education through "Squadron Officers College, Air Command and Staff College and Air War College." What exactly does your job look like after completing an education through these opportunities? Is it practically the same but you have better promotion prospects? Drastically different?

2. I've seen PB talk about shitbags that you barely believe made O-5 and fast burning (can't recall the specific phrasing) O-6s. I'm curious how you tell what assignments are high profile and conductive to your career and what assignments would be red flags for a senior officer.

3. The opportunity of getting to do trial work and then someday be a military judge or teaching future JAGs is very intriguing to me. Could you go more into how competitive these opportunities are, at what point in your career they pop up, and how long you could conceivably serve in those roles?

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Re: Military Law

Postby howell » Tue Apr 03, 2018 11:12 pm

RedPurpleBlue wrote:1. PB has previously alluded to the possibility of doing a contracting LLM at GW with a service commitment attached during the senior years of being Capt, if I recall correctly. I was wondering what other LLM (and general continuing education opportunities) look like through the USAF (or other services). The AF website is rather vague and just says you can pursue an LLM in "government contract law, environmental law, labor law, cyber law, air and space law and international law" or pursue education through "Squadron Officers College, Air Command and Staff College and Air War College." What exactly does your job look like after completing an education through these opportunities? Is it practically the same but you have better promotion prospects? Drastically different?


So our LLM "program" is an assignment action. Every year, the AF chooses ~30 officers to attend an LLM program for the next school year. They publish a list (last year it was in May) of all the LLM slots they're looking to fill (e.g., "5 Cyber Law slots, 3 Labor Law slots, 6 Procurement Law slots, etc.) along with the schools you would possibly go to for each. Most people go to the Army JAG School or George Washington. There's usually 1 International Law slot at Columbia, now 5-ish Cyber slots at Nebraska, 1 Space slot at McGill, and maybe one or two others I'm forgetting. But all the areas you listed above are options.

You generally can't be selected to go before you've completed 4 years, and they normally don't send anyone beyond O-4. So most people going are "senior" Capts or Majors, and probably not terribly senior Majors (for many reasons). You go to school for that year, and that's your only job. Full pay and everything, but, if you're going to one of the civilian schools, you can show up to "work" in sweatpants. After the year, you owe a 3 year service commitment. You will very likely be placed in a job using the LLM you just received (though the needs of the AF sometimes trump). In the past, these were often 2 year assignments, but there is talk of moving them to 3 to get more out of our LLMs.

SOS, ACSC, and AWC are a separate thing. At each rank, you need to accomplish one of them:

O-3 - SOS
O-4 - ACSC
O-5 - AWC

"Accomplish" can mean in residence or by correspondence, depending. Currently, SOS is all in residence. So every Capt at some point will go to SOS at Maxwell. It's a 7(?) week course. They changed it since I went, so I think it's 7 weeks. You just check a box by going; you don't earn a degree.

ACSC is a bit different. Most people do it via correspondence (online). It takes months to a year or two to finish at a moderate pace (I think). Some people get selected to go in residence, but that's usually very competitive, as we send maybe 6 Majors a year. ACSC in residence is an assignment action, and it's a one year school at Maxwell. You get a Master's when you're done, and you'll almost certainly make O-5 (and some say O-6). You can also get some cool SJA gigs coming out of there. Depending on where you are in your career, you might apply for ACSC and an LLM at the same time, but you'll only get picked up for one at the time. Timing wise, it's nearly impossible to do both.

AWC is for O-5s. Similar to ACSC in that most do it via correspondence and a few special people get to do a year-long course in residence. I think they can go as an O-5 or O-6. Someone yell at me if I'm wrong.

2. I've seen PB talk about shitbags that you barely believe made O-5 and fast burning (can't recall the specific phrasing) O-6s. I'm curious how you tell what assignments are high profile and conductive to your career and what assignments would be red flags for a senior officer.

Very good question. What matters for promotion is what happens at the promotion board. There they'll see certain records of yours, so those need to look good - both in quality of feedback and career progression. A board is composed of a JAG and a couple non-JAG officers, so the board is given a cheat sheet on what career progression should be for a JAG and what different jobs mean. This is a very powerful cheat sheet they are given, but my political commentary is a separate topic.

So the jobs that matter are the ones that make the promotion board happy . . . and figuring out what that will be isn't a 100% process. JAGs will tell you what they think, and most of the collective wisdom is solid. So your SJA might give you advice, the assignments officer might give you advice, etc. But sometimes people are surprised.

For going from Capt to Maj, the selection rate is ~95%. Just don't suck. For going from Maj to Lt Col, the goal is to be a Deputy SJA at a busy legal office. For Lt Col to Col, the goal is to be an SJA at a busy legal office (and do well, obvs). There are other good jobs as well (I think "Judge" would do well). But sometimes the collective wisdom is not that helpful. People have been told that being a Senior Defense Counsel is the equivalent of being a DSJA. The bloodbath for SDCs (and STCs) that was our most recent Lt Col board would beg to differ. So sometimes things aren't the guarantee they sound lie.

Overall, you want to look like a leader in the JAG Corps to people who see Commanders as the goal of Air Force officers. So the larger and more important organization/office you run, the better you will likely be. But the way you learn is getting out, talking to people, and paying attention to other people's careers. Stalk the hell out of people's bios to get a feel for what career progressions are better or worse. I would not recommend just showing up to work every day and not worrying about where you go next. I've seen a lot of outstanding officers who clearly weren't mentored on these things, and that's partially on them - one should always seek out mentors.

3. The opportunity of getting to do trial work and then someday be a military judge or teaching future JAGs is very intriguing to me. Could you go more into how competitive these opportunities are, at what point in your career they pop up, and how long you could conceivably serve in those roles?

Judge is relatively competitive. You need (I hope to God) significant trial experience, so that narrows down the crowd. Then they have to trust you'll do a good job. I think it's good career-wise to get this, and a lot of litigators think they're SCOTUS material, so a segment of people sees it as a prize. Like with most jobs, however, I think you have a lot of control over setting yourself up for what you want. It's never a guarantee, but hard (and wise) work and not being completely unlikeable goes very far.

There are a few teaching opportunities. The largest one is at the AF JAG School. There are a good number of slots there, but it's rare a "bad" JAG gets sent there. They usually get their pick and have a lot of people vying for the jobs. There, you'll be teaching JAGs at all levels (and maybe paralegals some). Most people enjoy it. It's also great for your career in that you get to know everyone, because everyone comes through the school. Post-JAG School assignments seem very favorable.

There are also a couple of slots at the Academy, but those are VERY competitive. I think we had 48 applications for 1 slot one year. Some LLMs are set up to send you straight to the Academy afterward. Most people really enjoy teaching at the Academy.

If you do really well in the LLM program at the Army JAG School, you can be invited to stay another year (or two?) and teach there.

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Re: Military Law

Postby Patrick Bateman » Wed Apr 04, 2018 5:22 am

Really good questions. And some awesome responses from Howell in the last few days!

I will only add a few comments to supplement Howell's comprehensive responses.

RedPurpleBlue wrote:1. PB has previously alluded to the possibility of doing a contracting LLM at GW with a service commitment attached during the senior years of being Capt, if I recall correctly. I was wondering what other LLM (and general continuing education opportunities) look like through the USAF (or other services). The AF website is rather vague and just says you can pursue an LLM in "government contract law, environmental law, labor law, cyber law, air and space law and international law" or pursue education through "Squadron Officers College, Air Command and Staff College and Air War College." What exactly does your job look like after completing an education through these opportunities? Is it practically the same but you have better promotion prospects? Drastically different?


If memory serves, the LLMs for this year were:

Air & Space at McGill (1)
Cyber at Nebraska (~5)
Environmental at GW (~5)
Procurement at TJAGLCS and GW (~10)
International at Columbia (1), at TJAGLCS and GW (~10)
Labor at GW (~3)
Military Justice at TJAGLCS (~2)

The numbers, programs, and schools can vary from year to year. There is usually a National Security slot at GULC but I don't think it was an option this year. As Howell noted, post LLM is going to have you in a position where you use that newly gained expertise. For example, for environmental and labor, that usually means serving in the Field Support Centers that address that subject matter. You can also teach at USAFA/AFJAGS/TJAGLCS.

ACSC v. LLM is an interesting consideration in how it relates to your question about promotion. LLM is obviously a very JAG specific thing to do - you are getting an advanced law degree. JAGs understand an LLM - your typical line officer that sits on a promotion board, however, probably doesn't truly track on the nuances. ACSC, on the other hand, has you in school with majors from all sorts of different career fields (typically, folks that have done well and are on a Squadron Command track). Promotion board members for sure will understand what in-residence ACSC means. So, there can be an argument which is the "better" option career wise. ACSC grads typically will have their follow on assignment to a higher visibility SJA or DSJA position. That represents another fork in the career road -- a subject matter expert job post-LLM versus a leadership job post-ACSC. Arguments can be made which does better at a promotion board.

Completing ACSC via the online course ("correspondence") is a de-facto requirement to move past major -- both on the AD side and reserve side. It is a massive time suck. 12 months completion time would be an aggressive but reasonable timeline (you are not working for 12 straight months. There are self paced courses where you do testing online. Then there are moderated courses that you have to sign up for, sometimes creating several week gaps between courses. It is this that slows down the whole process and makes it frustrating to complete.) Because it is the Air Force, you almost always have to have completed your online ACSC before being selected to attend in residence.

Air War College is 1-2 high speed Lt Cols each year. Highly competitive and it basically guarantees making O-6. There is also generally one slot at the National War College and one at the Eisenhower School at McNair -- even harder to get. Those folks will go onto the very senior O-6 slots (MAJCOM SJAs, etc). Lt Cols hoping to make O-6 also have to do online AWC - it is like the online ACSC, but longer and worse.

RedPurpleBlue wrote:2. I've seen PB talk about shitbags that you barely believe made O-5 and fast burning (can't recall the specific phrasing) O-6s. I'm curious how you tell what assignments are high profile and conductive to your career and what assignments would be red flags for a senior officer.


Howell nailed it. I will say, as a general rule, it seems far better to be in a leadership job (SJA/DSJA) than in a specialty job (e.g., AFLOA) for the 1-2 years before you meet promotion boards for O-5/O-6. There are exceptions to this all over the place but if there was a way to graph out O-5 selects and non-selects, I bet you would find a correlation between those who had recently been SJA/DSJA and those that had not.


howell wrote:Overall, you want to look like a leader in the JAG Corps to people who see Commanders as the goal of Air Force officers. So the larger and more important organization/office you run, the better you will likely be. But the way you learn is getting out, talking to people, and paying attention to other people's careers. Stalk the hell out of people's bios to get a feel for what career progressions are better or worse. I would not recommend just showing up to work every day and not worrying about where you go next. I've seen a lot of outstanding officers who clearly weren't mentored on these things, and that's partially on them - one should always seek out mentors.


For your current newbie JAGs, this is some incredibly important and sage advice.

RedPurpleBlue wrote:3. The opportunity of getting to do trial work and then someday be a military judge or teaching future JAGs is very intriguing to me. Could you go more into how competitive these opportunities are, at what point in your career they pop up, and how long you could conceivably serve in those roles?


While I have seen a few military judge selections that were down right puzzling, the vast majority have distinguished litigation backgrounds. A normal track for a MJ position would be ADC as a captain and then STC/SDC/Appellate. You will find folks that double up - serving as an STC and Appellate, STC and then SDC (or vice versa), etc. MJs are almost always at least Lt Col selects, so it is pretty common to have done all the criminal litigation work by the time you are a junior-mid major, take another assignment doing X, and then be selected for the bench.

I have nothing to add on the instructor positions.

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Re: Military Law

Postby howell » Wed Apr 04, 2018 9:43 am

Reading Patrick's post reminded me of something else - timing. When you go up for promotion, the top document on your stack of records is the Promotion Recommendation Form (PRF). It has what you might call more of a narrative section (but in bullet format) and then an overall recommendation. Your senior rater is who fills this form out. Who that rater is and who else you're competing with under their command become very important with respect to how good that PRF looks. For this discussion, I'll just be talking about those who are "in the zone" - those promoting on the normal schedule, neither early nor late.

The biggest thing, statistically, is the overall recommendation of Do Not Promote, Promote, or Definitely Promote. Nearly everyone gets a P or DP, but the promotion statistics are drastically different between the two. For example, in the latest O-5 board, 28 of 29 DPs were promoted, while only 16 of 34 Ps were promoted. If you're in AFLOA when you hit the board, you're in a bloodbath, and it's harder to stand out and get a DP. If my math is correct, over 40% of Majors are in AFLOA. Certainly AFLOA will have more DPs to give out to JAGs than some other organizations, but there are a LOT of good JAGs there. Every STC, SDC, appellate attorney, exec to a big boss, etc. is there. To quote the bad guy on the phone in Taken, good luck.

On the other hand, if you're in a MAJCOM with fewer JAGs and you happen to be in a decent leadership position as a Major, it might be a lot easier to snag a one of the few DPs, even if you're not as shiny as a lot of the JAGs in AFLOA. Similar thing if your senior rater is the WG/CC at your base. As a Major, you are (you hope) a DSJA for a big base. You will be competing with other Majors on that base for DPs. If a lot of the squadron commanders on base are still Majors, that's not good for you. That's because we only aim to be like SQ/CCs - we are not them. But if most SQ/CCs are Lt Cols, it's going to be easier to stand out among the Majors and get that DP.

This is one way the same JAG in different jobs at promotion time could have drastically different outcomes. This probably went further than the call of the question, so sorry for veering a little off topic.

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Re: Military Law

Postby MacSauce » Wed Apr 04, 2018 11:57 pm


howell wrote:Overall, you want to look like a leader in the JAG Corps to people who see Commanders as the goal of Air Force officers. So the larger and more important organization/office you run, the better you will likely be. But the way you learn is getting out, talking to people, and paying attention to other people's careers. Stalk the hell out of people's bios to get a feel for what career progressions are better or worse. I would not recommend just showing up to work every day and not worrying about where you go next. I've seen a lot of outstanding officers who clearly weren't mentored on these things, and that's partially on them - one should always seek out mentors.


Thank you all for the great posts lately. Was wondering if you all had any advice or success stories about finding mentors as a JA? Are there formal mentoring programs to take advantage of? What events or organizations do you recommend attending/joining to help grow your professional network while on active duty?

Thank You.

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Re: Military Law

Postby howell » Thu Apr 05, 2018 11:44 am

MacSauce wrote:Thank you all for the great posts lately. Was wondering if you all had any advice or success stories about finding mentors as a JA? Are there formal mentoring programs to take advantage of? What events or organizations do you recommend attending/joining to help grow your professional network while on active duty?

My recent posting indicates I'm not in the busiest job in the world.

Caveats - I am by no means an expert on 1) success in the JAG Corps or 2) developing mentoring relationships. What follows is my take on how I've developed relationships with valuable mentors. Third caveat: I am an introvert. What works for me - and especially what doesn't work for me - might be very different for others.

"Networking," professional organizations, etc. never worked for me. My introversion is likely a big part of this, but the other part is that a mentor/mentee relationship is more than shaking hands and exchanging some e-mails later. I'd prefer to observe someone for awhile and then determine if they're someone I can learn from. You'll get "advice" from all kinds of places, but unless it's applicable to you and given in a way you can truly understand it, it's pointless. LeBron James could give me advice on basketball, but me not being 6'8" and insanely talented might get in the way of that being effective advice. People are also really bad at determining why they are successful. A thousand people could all work really hard to become a General and only one is chosen, but if that General tells you the secret to success is working really hard, that might not be helpful. You have to filter through the bullshit "say your prayers and take your vitamins" advice from people who have no idea what your struggles are. Larger events and organizations where you're drawn to "successful" people might not show you who can be a really good mentor for you.

Possibly off-topic but certainly related - pay attention to people who failed. Think about why they failed with as few biases in your mind as possible. Many people are quick to write failure off as a lack of effort or some moral failing. This is not always the case, especially in the military. Wrong place, wrong time can often be a reason. The military isn't here to make sure every single servicemember gets the same fair chance; the military is here to accomplish its mission. If a system works for 95% of servicemembers, that is likely phenomenal, but that 5% might not be failing because of anything they did wrong.

My mentors have usually been people I have worked with or been exposed to long enough so that I trust their advice is applicable to me and they trust I will listen. I also want to know the mentor WANTS me to listen for my own good. Mentor-mentee relationships are two-way streets. It's not just knowledge coming down from on high. If you've ever mentored someone and seen it pay off, you realize you receive a lot more than the mentee did. A good mentor will be invested in your success. If they're not, they're likely just giving you platitudes to listen to their own greatness or to get you out of their office.

Part of this is being open to mentors coming from many different places and actively looking for them. JAGs might often think someone who isn't exactly in the position they want to be in (e.g., high-ranking, successful JAG) can't mentor them. "He's just a paralegal." "She's just a civilian." "He's only a Major." "She works in Finance." "He's just a Reservist." This greatly limits the pool of effective mentors. JAGs are worse than most people with this, because many come in thinking they're special, they're a lawyer, and 99% of the population doesn't know anything that can help them. Do not have this attitude. If you treat people poorly because of their position or status, you will only hurt yourself, and one of those ways is missing out on mentors.

Most of my mentors came through work interactions. I have been lucky to have had a couple of amazing bosses that doubled as mentors. (I've also had bosses I would characterize differently.) I was lucky to have them, but I also had to develop the relationship. I made it clear I was a good employee first, but then made clear (through my actions) I would listen to them and not waste their time. Civilian attorneys are often much more valuable as mentors than JAGs think, and I've had several as mentors. Many times these civilian attorneys who work with us have more active duty experience than anyone else in the office. But treat the civilian attorneys well, and they will usually help you out tremendously. I stood every time a civilian attorney came in my office, for example. I used sir/ma'am. I listened, I didn't interrupt them, etc. I treated them with value. That stuff is all free to do.

When I come into contact with other JAGs through work, relationships seem to develop with some of them. It's on us to do things to make that happen. I worked with a more senior defense counsel on one case, and from that, we became friends, and I regularly ask her questions. She's now in a very important position in the JAG Corps, so there is a LOT I can learn from her. But this came from just being someone who worked hard, treated her with respect, and showed her I cared what she had to say. I had no intentions of "leveraging" her for my benefit; I just wanted to do a good job for her, and I realized there was a lot I could learn from her.

You'll build a network of people. Even if people aren't strictly "mentors," this network can be extremely valuable. You'll hear solid stories about what others are going through, and you can learn from that. You can reach out to people you otherwise wouldn't be able to through this network. This is actually the most important thing at JASOC. Certainly listen, study, and learn what you can, but at the end of JASOC, there will be 40-80 people going to as many locations throughout the world who know your name and know you well. I can pick up the phone and call a buddy in Guam for help with a case there if I need to. Do I need help with a labor law issue? Well, let me look up who I know in the field support center and start there. This all comes from being a decent human being. I truly understand that can be difficult for some of us in this career field, but do what you can. If people you meet are just objects whose value is how you can leverage them to get what you want, you'll miss out on a lot of valuable relationships.

This all sounds incredibly simple, and it is. A lot of people just don't open themselves up to it. Learn what you can from everyone you meet while not being naïve. Certainly find ways to put yourself out there and meet new people. Organizations, networking events, etc. might work for you. I never built quality interactions that way, but that might just be on me. Maybe its intramural sports for you or something else. But we are lucky enough to work with a lot of quality people, so just pay attention!

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Re: Military Law

Postby Mobster1983 » Thu Apr 05, 2018 7:58 pm

Howell gave excellent detailed advice, but I want to add/expand on one thing. This is coming from my experience as an infantry officer and commander in the Army who had to (unfortunately) deal with JAG a lot.

Do not limit mentors to those in the legal field. I think some of the best mentors for JAGs can be the commanders and senior NCOs (mainly 1st Sergeants) in the units you advise. Unlike in the civilian world, the decision maker is the commander, not the attorney, in particular when it comes to preferring charges. It is important for an attorney/advisor to understand where the unit leadership is coming from, what their perspective is, and their goals and mission for the unit. Understanding these things will go a long way in giving great legal advice that the commanders can use and respect. This will pay dividends over your career.

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Re: Military Law

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Apr 06, 2018 12:43 am

Ya'll (PB, Howell, and many others in this thread) are legitimately too good for any of us newbies to deserve. I was wondering if you all had any tips for any spots to improve on my resume (beyond current law school GPA). I've read a lot of the wisdom in this thread on what looks good to JAG, and I think I've applied that fairly well, but some more specific advisement would be great!

Fitness
  • Good

Scholastics
  • GPA: median (top 14 law school)
  • UGPA: very good (top 15 undergrad)
  • LSAT: 165

Extracurricular Activities
  • Law school leadership: President of International Law Organization, VP of Veterans' Law Group (note: I am NOT a veteran)
  • General law school involvement: moot court, secondary journal
  • Undergrad leadership: VP & Secretary of an Organization doing non-profit healthcare work in a 3rd world country
  • General undergrad involvement: UNICEF, Student Gov't
  • Volunteer Work: Neighboring law school's veteran's clinic, food kitchen, humane society

Relevant Work Experience
  • Summer before 1L: Gubernatorial campaign
  • 1L Summer: JAG Internship w/ one of AF/NAVY
  • 2L Fall: Extern with state VA agency

[Languages]
  • Arabic (Intermediate)
  • Spanish (Advanced)
Last edited by Anonymous User on Sat Apr 07, 2018 10:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Military Law

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Apr 07, 2018 8:48 pm

Are there are limitations on (1) publishing articles or (2) being an adjunct faculty member while serving? I've found a decent number of career JAG officers who did 20+ years and then moved off into law school teaching positions at GW, Texas Tech, and a few other schools. That's something I'd love to do long-term as a 2nd career, and so I'm naturally interested in to what degree you can punish (inside and outside of the AF Law Review) and teach.

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howell

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Re: Military Law

Postby howell » Sat Apr 07, 2018 9:30 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Ya'll (PB, Howell, and many others in this thread) are legitimately too good for any of us newbies to deserve. I was wondering if you all had any tips for any spots to improve on my resume (beyond current law school GPA). I've read a lot of the wisdom in this thread on what looks good to JAG, and I think I've applied that fairly well, but some more specific advisement would be great!

Everything you listed is great. You're missing a lot less than most candidates I see. Any "negatives" like drug use, arrests, credit, etc?

If you can get trial experience, that would help. I think you're fine on that, but certainly doing a trial under a third year practice law would be money. Very few students have that, though.

Try to talk to enough JAGs to get an idea how you can explain how your experience relates to the job. If I were to interview you, I would try to tease that out, but not all interviewers will be as proactive. I see a lot of stuff you listed that you can absolutely make stand out even more so in the interview. Make sure that gets out in the interview.

I'm not sure of the timing, but if you can get board/leadership positions on your journal or with your school's moot court organization, that could be good. Not saying it's worth it, but it would help.

For the fitness section, go find out what your PT test requirements would be. Read the instructions on how to conduct a PT test. Give yourself a mock PT test and score it. Repeat until your score is at least passing if not over 90. Make sure you are under the weight requirement.

If you haven't, find JAGs/attorneys/officers from your internship who can write letters of recommendation. Make sure you have 5 LORs total and ready to go when you apply.

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Re: Military Law

Postby howell » Sat Apr 07, 2018 9:47 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Are there are limitations on (1) publishing articles or (2) being an adjunct faculty member while serving? I've found a decent number of career JAG officers who did 20+ years and then moved off into law school teaching positions at GW, Texas Tech, and a few other schools. That's something I'd love to do long-term as a 2nd career, and so I'm naturally interested in to what degree you can punish (inside and outside of the AF Law Review) and teach.

I don't know of any concrete limits on publishing. When I was in AFLOA, either AFLOA or one of the subordinate sections under it had a requirement that we have any publications improved at a higher level (maybe the AFLOA level?). So you might have bosses that require you to get approval. So long as it's not a political Molotov cocktail of an article, it should be fine. Even without that requirement, I would check with whoever you boss is to make sure it's cool. You are free to publish a lot if you have the time in most cases. And you're not limited to the AFLR. Certainly good to get published there, but there are only so many slots a year.

I've had friends work as adjunct faculty members. It shouldn't be a big problem. You will probably have to fill out an off-duty employment application, but that should be approved. The biggest issue will likely be whether you're in a job where you don't travel too much.

If you want academia at some point, some assignments could help with that. Focusing on your area is pretty obvious (e.g., don't do trial work forever if you want to be a contracts professor). Grabbing and LLM and a teaching position would be good (we've discussed a few of the teaching options in the past couple pages, I think).

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Patrick Bateman

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Re: Military Law

Postby Patrick Bateman » Sun Apr 08, 2018 4:41 am

Anonymous User wrote:Ya'll (PB, Howell, and many others in this thread) are legitimately too good for any of us newbies to deserve. I was wondering if you all had any tips for any spots to improve on my resume (beyond current law school GPA). I've read a lot of the wisdom in this thread on what looks good to JAG, and I think I've applied that fairly well, but some more specific advisement would be great!

Fitness
  • Good

Scholastics
  • GPA: median (top 14 law school)
  • UGPA: very good (top 15 undergrad)
  • LSAT: 165

Extracurricular Activities
  • Law school leadership: President of International Law Organization, VP of Veterans' Law Group (note: I am NOT a veteran)
  • General law school involvement: moot court, secondary journal
  • Undergrad leadership: VP & Secretary of an Organization doing non-profit healthcare work in a 3rd world country
  • General undergrad involvement: UNICEF, Student Gov't
  • Volunteer Work: Neighboring law school's veteran's clinic, food kitchen, humane society

Relevant Work Experience
  • Summer before 1L: Gubernatorial campaign
  • 1L Summer: JAG Internship w/ one of AF/NAVY
  • 2L Fall: Extern with state VA agency

[Languages]
  • Arabic (Intermediate)
  • Spanish (Advanced)


I agree with Howell that you look to be an above average applicant based on all of this.

I think Howell's point about trial experience is a good one (obviously we are commenting from the AF perspective). Moot court will be an asset and its good that you have that already. If there is a trial team or trial advocacy class, that would be a good addition. Same goes for trial related coursework like the basic and advanced versions of crim pro, evidence, etc. Look to see if there are any interesting courses taught by adjuncts - in my day, I came across a course in LOAC/Law of War taught by the SJA for the entire state NG. Ended up being a great course and a good mentor.

I would also consider an intern/extern position at the local DA/PD/USAO/FPD office if you can swing it. It will add to your already decent public service creds and also give you some real world trial experience that generally plays will for selection.

Finally, in that you are ahead of the curve time wise, I would also invest some time in learning about the military, officership, and the Air Force. There are a lot of great books out there. It can help educate your answers as to the "why" you want to serve and will also make you a better junior officer should you be selected down the road.

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Re: Military Law

Postby froglaw23 » Sun Apr 08, 2018 9:29 am

In filling out the AF base preference sheet does anyone have recommendations for bases that would be more suitable to get good first assignment experience (military justice area especially).

From my conversation with past JAGS their suggestions have been Lackland, Scott, Sheppard, and possibly Charleston.

In reviewing the recent information on Courts-Martial on the AF web page it seems that Hurlburt Field, Holloman, Nellis, Davis-Monthan have been some of the busier bases. Just don't know how much that information is helpful in determining what a good first assignment base would be. I'm less concerned with a great geographic area (I live in ND right now) and want have a preference sheet that gives me a shot at getting great experience. (although I know they may laugh at it and do whatever they want). Thanks!



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