Military Law

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bjack347
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Re: Military Law

Postby bjack347 » Wed May 23, 2012 3:37 pm

Patrick Bateman wrote:
acw1213 wrote:I'm in a sticky situation.

I bombed the LSAT so I'm at a T3/T4 school. However, I've done all the "right" things: good grades (top 10%), moot court, probably law review, judicial internship, etc...

At this point I think I've got a pretty good shot at getting into some T1 schools that I could have only dreamed of when first applying. However, I don't want to "lose" all those (above) things that I've worked for. Does the military care as much about the rank of the school or what you've done while in school? I've seen people selected from Harvard and from Cooley so I know they look at the whole range, but, with the market continuing to decline I'm guessing they can afford to take from the "better" schools.

I'm paying sticker right now (I know...fml) but hoping to get some scholarship offers once official rank comes out. What should I do - stay or go??


My recommendation would be to apply for transfer admission and make an educated decision this summer. As a whole, at least at the lowly O-3 level, the AF JAG Corps does not seem to give a crap about your law school pedigree (in respect to career progression - I cannot speak about influence on the accessions process). That said, the JAG Corps represents an awfully small part of law practice and the vast majority of folks are not going to be doing 20+ years in uniform. In making this decision you need to honestly assess the over/under of being selected for JAG, not a foregone conclusion these days, and then the odds of staying active duty, with all that entails. Should you not be picked up for JAG or decide after a few years that you want to go reserves and do civilian practice, your degree pedigree may matter a great deal more.

Apply to those dream T1 schools and figure things out then. You can either transfer and pick up the bright and shinny diploma, along with the debt, or leverage your transfer acceptances against your current school to get more scholarship money out of them.


I'd agree with Bateman here too.

I'm from one of those not so good schools you might have seen on that list when you saw Harvard and Cooley. I was nowhere near the top 10% (more like top 50%) and had none of the extracurriculars you mentioned. I got in because I killed it in my interview and because my application and recommendations conveyed loads of leadership intangibles. The school you attend does NOT matter. Being in the top 10 % and doing ALL of those extra-curriculars does not necessarily matter. Still, the selection rate is still 5-6% so having those things definitely increases you chances. Even if you do not do as well as top 10% at these other schools, you will still earn a better degree and there are other ways to bolster your JAG app. At least apply and see where you get in. IMO, if it is not in the top 30 to 40 law schools, stick with the good thing you have going for you.

weevil
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Re: Military Law

Postby weevil » Wed May 23, 2012 8:52 pm

I have a few questions that I'm hoping some active JAGs might be able to answer for me. I feel fairly certain that JAG is what I want to do (if they will take me), but I am torn between my career goals and...well, my personal life. My fiancee, a rising 3L, is going to a firm in DC this summer and presumably post graduation. So while I know that JAG would be perfect for me, I also don't think either of us want to do a 2-3 year long distance relationship from, say, DC to Nellis. Obviously I would be deployed with JAG for 6 months (I think?) but permanent living situation is a little different. How much say do JAGs have for location? Is the fate of my future marriage pretty much up to the military?

I also don't want to count my chickens, since I know how ridiculously hard it is to get JAG to begin with. I was fortunate enough to get a JAG internship this summer (I am a rising 2L); does this improve my chances? Should I try to intern with JAG my 2L summer as well, or would that be useless? In the event that I don't get selected for boards I obviously don't want to be jobless, so I don't know if my best bet is to look for a firm job for next summer. I also don't know if taking a firm job would reflect badly on me.

Thanks in advance for any thoughts or opinions you might have to offer!

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FlanAl
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Re: Military Law

Postby FlanAl » Wed May 23, 2012 10:57 pm

I'm wondering if any of the Jag's could tell me or possibly ask someone to help me out with this issue:

the recruiter I'm working with is telling me to leave off what I'd consider experimental drug use from my application. He said that I don't have to put it down and that it would make the whole process a lot easier. I know that what I did was "experimental" and I'm not sure if there are distinct differences for the application, I also don't want to be dishonest.

Thanks

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howell
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Re: Military Law

Postby howell » Wed May 23, 2012 11:21 pm

My responses below should be read with the knowledge that I am just one person that has gone through the application process for the Air Force. I can't speak to successful JAG-attorney married couples, unfortunately.

weevil wrote:I was fortunate enough to get a JAG internship this summer (I am a rising 2L); does this improve my chances?


The consensus on this seems to be yes. It demonstrates interest and some commitment. How much does it help? I can't say. The help from just the line item on your resume is nice, but you might find that the best benefits will be in what you can get out of the internship. You will hopefully secure several very solid letters of recommendation from people who can speak to what it takes to make a good officer better than about any non-military reference you can get. You will also meet a lot of people that have gone through the process and can give you advice on what might help in getting selected. You will also have a chance to see for yourself what matters on the job (to an extent), and that can help you mold your choices throughout your remaining time in law school and in putting your application package together.

Should I try to intern with JAG my 2L summer as well, or would that be useless?


Two summers with a JAG corps might not be twice as good as one, but it can certainly help. Consider everything I mentioned above and that you will hopefully have an entire new base of people to learn from and possibly get letters of recommendation from. It shows further interest and commitment to government/military work too.

In the event that I don't get selected for boards I obviously don't want to be jobless, so I don't know if my best bet is to look for a firm job for next summer.


This is one of the most difficult parts of the process to me - figuring out a plan B if it doesn't work out. I don't have any really good advice. It was easier for me for two reasons. First, I worked full-time through law school the first 3 years, and I kept my job part-time my last year of law school, so I had my foot in the water of my old career in case things didn't work out. Second, I found that with respect to non-JAG attorney jobs, I only wanted PD/DA kind of work. It's easier to mold yourself for that as your back-up plan than firm life. All I can offer is to wish you good luck in deciding.

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Patrick Bateman
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Re: Military Law

Postby Patrick Bateman » Thu May 24, 2012 8:05 pm

weevil wrote:I have a few questions that I'm hoping some active JAGs might be able to answer for me. I feel fairly certain that JAG is what I want to do (if they will take me), but I am torn between my career goals and...well, my personal life. My fiancee, a rising 3L, is going to a firm in DC this summer and presumably post graduation. So while I know that JAG would be perfect for me, I also don't think either of us want to do a 2-3 year long distance relationship from, say, DC to Nellis. Obviously I would be deployed with JAG for 6 months (I think?) but permanent living situation is a little different. How much say do JAGs have for location? Is the fate of my future marriage pretty much up to the military?

I also don't want to count my chickens, since I know how ridiculously hard it is to get JAG to begin with. I was fortunate enough to get a JAG internship this summer (I am a rising 2L); does this improve my chances? Should I try to intern with JAG my 2L summer as well, or would that be useless? In the event that I don't get selected for boards I obviously don't want to be jobless, so I don't know if my best bet is to look for a firm job for next summer. I also don't know if taking a firm job would reflect badly on me.

Thanks in advance for any thoughts or opinions you might have to offer!


JAX will take your inputs as to where you want to be stationed but the needs of the Air Force will always trump. At least from what I've seen, it would be highly unusual, but not impossible, to land back to back assignments in the NCR. The assignments process is incredibly fluid and changing constantly as folks decide to separate, retire, etc. I say this because even JAX cannot say 100% if they could put in your DC for a given year.

A successful internship will significantly improve your application. I know the 1L spots are hard to come by, so good on you for landing one. If you intern with JAG for 2L summer, I would try to do something outside of the traditional base legal office (assuming that is where you are going this summer). There are also internships with the DOD OGC and other military agencies that would given you an even broader perspective and look great on a resume - given the emphasis that is placed on trial law, I would also consider looking at USAO or DOJ.

shock259
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Re: Military Law

Postby shock259 » Thu May 24, 2012 11:05 pm

One more follow up question for PB/others: do you think I will know if I had a "successful" summer internship? My legal office has 1 JAG in it (my OIC) and I am the only intern. As such, I'll hopefully be walking out with one great letter of rec. Given this, I'm a bit worried that if we don't mesh well, I'll end up in a bad spot. And I guess my fear is that I won't know it.

Edit: maybe this is a silly thought. I think I'm just getting anxious because I start in a few days and have no idea what to expect. :)

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abogadesq
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Re: Military Law

Postby abogadesq » Fri May 25, 2012 12:44 am

FlanAl wrote:I'm wondering if any of the Jag's could tell me or possibly ask someone to help me out with this issue:

the recruiter I'm working with is telling me to leave off what I'd consider experimental drug use from my application. He said that I don't have to put it down and that it would make the whole process a lot easier. I know that what I did was "experimental" and I'm not sure if there are distinct differences for the application, I also don't want to be dishonest.

Thanks


I had this same problem. Before I got into law school, I was completing an OCS packet, and was asked the drug question. I was torn, and ended up not finishing the application process. Now that I'm back in square one, but in the JAG route, I can only say this: Tell the truth. Years from now, if you continue in the military as an officer, you will eventually be given a polygraph to allow you higher security clearances, and if you lie or your answers don't match up, your career will be terminated. This stain will be with you all your life. The military wants to know if you can be trusted...

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Patrick Bateman
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Re: Military Law

Postby Patrick Bateman » Fri May 25, 2012 3:43 pm

shock259 wrote:One more follow up question for PB/others: do you think I will know if I had a "successful" summer internship? My legal office has 1 JAG in it (my OIC) and I am the only intern. As such, I'll hopefully be walking out with one great letter of rec. Given this, I'm a bit worried that if we don't mesh well, I'll end up in a bad spot. And I guess my fear is that I won't know it.

Edit: maybe this is a silly thought. I think I'm just getting anxious because I start in a few days and have no idea what to expect. :)


If the OIC is doing his/her job right, starting out they should give you their initial expectations so there are no surprises as you get started ("initial feedback" in AF parlance). If you start doing something annoying or stupid, most officers/NCOs have no problem giving you helpful/corrective feedback as well. In my experience, there is no hiding the ball that I've sometimes seen with law firms (the "did you salt your food before tasting it" sort of crap) when it comes to expectations and feedback. If you have decent social intelligence skills, the rest will fall into place.

If you have not already, spend some time this weekend and memorize the rank structure, insignia, and proper terms of address for whatever service you are with. Also, know the proper procedure for Reveille and Retreat if you are outside on foot or driving (I had a few moments of looking pretty stupid as an intern due to being behind the learning curve). They are small things that no one is going to demand from a civilian intern on day-one but in my book, would go a long way.

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Esquire
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Re: Military Law

Postby Esquire » Fri May 25, 2012 5:38 pm

acw1213 wrote:I'm in a sticky situation.

I bombed the LSAT so I'm at a T3/T4 school. However, I've done all the "right" things: good grades (top 10%), moot court, probably law review, judicial internship, etc...

At this point I think I've got a pretty good shot at getting into some T1 schools that I could have only dreamed of when first applying. However, I don't want to "lose" all those (above) things that I've worked for. Does the military care as much about the rank of the school or what you've done while in school? I've seen people selected from Harvard and from Cooley so I know they look at the whole range, but, with the market continuing to decline I'm guessing they can afford to take from the "better" schools.

I'm paying sticker right now (I know...fml) but hoping to get some scholarship offers once official rank comes out. What should I do - stay or go??

You're thinking too short term. What about exit options when you get out of the military? A more prestigious school will help. The only catch is tuition cost if you do snag a scholarship offer, which you should. Maybe transfer to a less expensive school that has a bit more clout than your current one, like W&M.

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howell
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Re: Military Law

Postby howell » Mon Jun 04, 2012 11:07 am

For those in the Army and Air Force, have there been any trends in how to use the SLRP plan? I didn't really think about this much until I ran into a Captain in the Air Force that was not interested in the SLRP plan and would just be using IBR and the PSLF to get rid of his loans.

It seems like avoiding the SLRP and going the IBR & PSLF route would be better for those with very high amounts of student loan debt. For example, if you had $200,000 in debt (assuming federal and not private loans), it would make sense just to go the IBR route and have everything else forgiven after 10 years. The $65,000 probably wouldn't make enough of a dent to allow you to pay off the loans, and it would only increase your income for IBR purposes. On the other hand, if you have $20,000 in debt, the SLRP program would knock this out quickly and thus be the way to go.

Has there been any consensus on the best approach with all of this? If one has between $50k and $100k in debt, would it make sense to use IBR for a couple of years in conjunction with SLRP? I'm just wondering what people facing these decisions have done and what seems to be working out the best.

I don't believe this has been addressed in great detail in this thread (or at least recently), so forgive me if this has been covered.

allAF
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Re: Military Law

Postby allAF » Tue Jun 05, 2012 10:10 pm

While I cannot speak to how best to use SLRP v. IBR and PSLF, I do just want to point out that - at least to my understanding - SLRP will never fully pay off anybody's loans. At most, it will pay 1/3 of the principal of your loans each year for up to 3 years, subject to a max payout over the 3 years of $65,000. (I forget what the yearly cap is.)

If you only had $20,000 in principal debt, after your first year, SLRP would pay only $6600 toward that debt ($20,000 x .33). So far, so good, but here's the catch: Assuming you don't pay any more of your principal, the second year AGAIN is limited to paying only 1/3 of your REMAINING principal debt, so SLRP would pay out [($20,000-$6600) x .33], or $4422. Under the same scenario, the third year would then pay [($20,000-$6600-$4422) x .33] = $2962.74. Adding up those payments, the total SLRP would pay toward your loans would then be roughly $13985. You would be responsible for paying the other $8015.

So, in other words, while SLRP does pay up to $65,000 over 3 years, the statute limits the amount you get each year to 1/3 of your current principal balance. People with $65k or less in debt will NOT get everything fully paid off. And of course, if you make payments toward your principal while you are eligible for SLRP, then you are reducing the amount that the government will pay toward your loan. This makes no difference to folks who have loads of debt, but it does matter to folks who are closer to or under that $65,000 limit who might be operating under the wrong impression of how the program works.

In case someone knows from experience that I am incorrect, please let us know! But in the meantime, this is what I've come to understand about how SLRP works.

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Patrick Bateman
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Re: Military Law

Postby Patrick Bateman » Wed Jun 06, 2012 11:31 am

allAF wrote:While I cannot speak to how best to use SLRP v. IBR and PSLF, I do just want to point out that - at least to my understanding - SLRP will never fully pay off anybody's loans. At most, it will pay 1/3 of the principal of your loans each year for up to 3 years, subject to a max payout over the 3 years of $65,000. (I forget what the yearly cap is.)

If you only had $20,000 in principal debt, after your first year, SLRP would pay only $6600 toward that debt ($20,000 x .33). So far, so good, but here's the catch: Assuming you don't pay any more of your principal, the second year AGAIN is limited to paying only 1/3 of your REMAINING principal debt, so SLRP would pay out [($20,000-$6600) x .33], or $4422. Under the same scenario, the third year would then pay [($20,000-$6600-$4422) x .33] = $2962.74. Adding up those payments, the total SLRP would pay toward your loans would then be roughly $13985. You would be responsible for paying the other $8015.

So, in other words, while SLRP does pay up to $65,000 over 3 years, the statute limits the amount you get each year to 1/3 of your current principal balance. People with $65k or less in debt will NOT get everything fully paid off. And of course, if you make payments toward your principal while you are eligible for SLRP, then you are reducing the amount that the government will pay toward your loan. This makes no difference to folks who have loads of debt, but it does matter to folks who are closer to or under that $65,000 limit who might be operating under the wrong impression of how the program works.

In case someone knows from experience that I am incorrect, please let us know! But in the meantime, this is what I've come to understand about how SLRP works.


That jives with my understanding of the program

target
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Re: Military Law

Postby target » Fri Jun 08, 2012 12:49 am

JAG will conduct interviews at a career fair that I plan to attend. Have anyone done this before? Is so, can you let me know if these interviews are for JAG Student program or just an internship?

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Patrick Bateman
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Re: Military Law

Postby Patrick Bateman » Fri Jun 08, 2012 11:48 am

target wrote:JAG will conduct interviews at a career fair that I plan to attend. Have anyone done this before? Is so, can you let me know if these interviews are for JAG Student program or just an internship?


What branch?

For Air Force, there is no formal interview process that would take place at a career fair. Our recruiting trips are purely informational. Our 1L/2L summer internship does not have an interview component and the interview for the active duty slots is done at the base legal office by the installation's Staff Judge Advocate.

target
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Re: Military Law

Postby target » Fri Jun 08, 2012 8:51 pm

Air force is the most common one I see. And I saw your answer to this exact question earlier in this thread. :oops:

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Patrick Bateman
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Re: Military Law

Postby Patrick Bateman » Wed Jun 13, 2012 12:37 pm

I stumbled across these and thought they might be of interest:

http://www.armfor.uscourts.gov/newcaaf/ ... stucky.htm

http://www.armfor.uscourts.gov/newcaaf/ ... t/ryan.htm

Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces (CAAF) is hiring some clerks, and in Judge Stucky's case, a summer intern for 2013.

Could be an incredible opportunity and experience. I would have killed for that internship had I known about it back in the day.

For those not familiar with the military justice appellate process, each service has their own appellate court as the first level of review (appeals from the Air Force trial courts first go to the Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals). The service appellate courts judges are all active duty O-6s. From the service appellate court, the next and usually final stop is CAAF, staffed by civilians appointed for 15 year terms by the President. CAAF has jurisdiction over all the service branches. While it does not happen often, CAAF cases can then be appealed to SCOTUS for final review.

JDanger007
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Re: Military Law

Postby JDanger007 » Wed Jun 13, 2012 2:34 pm

I am sure my questions have been asked, but im new to the site. So I apologize.
A few questions. I am still a while off (taking the LSAT in the fall), but have seriously been pondering the JAG route. Having no military background, I feel as if I would benefit from this setting. The one thing I am wary of is that there is still some basic training involved. I know if I want it, ill prepare phsically for it, but can anyone comment on how extensive this training actually is?

The other question is is it more benefical to go right from law school or practice first.

Thanks for any help

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howell
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Re: Military Law

Postby howell » Wed Jun 13, 2012 2:40 pm

Patrick Bateman wrote:For those not familiar with the military justice appellate process, each service has their own appellate court as the first level of review (appeals from the Air Force trial courts first go to the Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals). The service appellate courts judges are all active duty O-6s. From the service appellate court, the next and usually final stop is CAAF, staffed by civilians appointed for 15 year terms by the President. CAAF has jurisdiction over all the service branches. While it does not happen often, CAAF cases can then be appealed to SCOTUS for final review.


I had heard that there were clerkship opportunities for active duty JAG officers. Is that actually a possibility, and, if so, would that just be at the service appellate court level?

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Patrick Bateman
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Re: Military Law

Postby Patrick Bateman » Wed Jun 13, 2012 3:03 pm

howell wrote:
Patrick Bateman wrote:For those not familiar with the military justice appellate process, each service has their own appellate court as the first level of review (appeals from the Air Force trial courts first go to the Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals). The service appellate courts judges are all active duty O-6s. From the service appellate court, the next and usually final stop is CAAF, staffed by civilians appointed for 15 year terms by the President. CAAF has jurisdiction over all the service branches. While it does not happen often, CAAF cases can then be appealed to SCOTUS for final review.


I had heard that there were clerkship opportunities for active duty JAG officers. Is that actually a possibility, and, if so, would that just be at the service appellate court level?


It is at the service appellate court level. The Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals has 1-2 Honors Law Clerk slots, generally filled by a third/fourth assignment Captain.

JDanger007
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Re: Military Law

Postby JDanger007 » Wed Jun 13, 2012 4:22 pm

I am sure my questions have been asked, but im new to the site. So I apologize.
A few questions. I am still a while off (taking the LSAT in the fall), but have seriously been pondering the JAG route. Having no military background, I feel as if I would benefit from this setting. The one thing I am wary of is that there is still some basic training involved. I know if I want it, ill prepare phsically for it, but can anyone comment on how extensive this training actually is?

The other question is is it more benefical to go right from law school or practice first.

Thanks for any help

shock259
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Re: Military Law

Postby shock259 » Wed Jun 13, 2012 5:53 pm

jp238607 wrote:I am sure my questions have been asked, but im new to the site. So I apologize.
A few questions. I am still a while off (taking the LSAT in the fall), but have seriously been pondering the JAG route. Having no military background, I feel as if I would benefit from this setting. The one thing I am wary of is that there is still some basic training involved. I know if I want it, ill prepare phsically for it, but can anyone comment on how extensive this training actually is?

The other question is is it more benefical to go right from law school or practice first.

Thanks for any help


Take the time to read the thread. It's the least you can do to give yourself a sense of what JAG will be like and whether it is for you. The first question is branch-sensitive, but the short answer is that you'll do officer training, but it isn't like boot camp (unless you join the Marines, in which case it actually is). Expect to work hard, but you probably won't break any legs (again, unless you join the Marines). And you'll be commissioned before you go to training, so you probably won't be kicked out if you get sick or hurt yourself (again, unless you join the Marines).

The second question is also branch-sensitive. Some branches take exclusively or almost exclusively from the law school student populations. Others take a lot of direct appointments (people that have already passed the bar and may have practiced law). The general consensus is to apply early and often. Even with stellar grades, it'll be extremely difficult to become a JAG. Most people say that selection rates are under 5%.

But really, just read the thread.

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bouakedojo
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Re: Military Law

Postby bouakedojo » Wed Jun 13, 2012 9:47 pm

:!:
Last edited by bouakedojo on Thu Jun 14, 2012 9:41 am, edited 1 time in total.

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abogadesq
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Re: Military Law

Postby abogadesq » Wed Jun 13, 2012 10:59 pm

What does it mean when someone says Air Force JAGs are "line officers" and Army JAGs are "staff officers"? Both JAGs seem to serve the same roles. Is that just a technical label?

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Patrick Bateman
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Re: Military Law

Postby Patrick Bateman » Wed Jun 13, 2012 11:20 pm

mmartinneal wrote:What does it mean when someone says Air Force JAGs are "line officers" and Army JAGs are "staff officers"? Both JAGs seem to serve the same roles. Is that just a technical label?


Line Officer is a term of art - an officer of the line can command a combat (or any other) unit. Non-Line (medical, chaplain) can only command other non-line personnel. This is somewhat moot in that it is been quite a while in the Air Force since a JAG has commanded a unit outside of the JAG Corps; we technically only have one commander on G-Series orders, the commander of the Air Force Legal Operations Agency (AFLOA). This is also a little more complicated in the Air Force because only a rated officer can command a unit with a flying mission.

Speaking only as Bateman and not a representative of the AF, I think it is short sighted to not let JAGs serve as commanders within a Mission Support role (Force Support or Mission Support Group) - I've met several senior USMC JAGs that bounced b/t line assignments and JAG assignments and all thought the opportunity made them far more effective as legal advisers. That said, my experience is limited to the base legal office, so the total tonnage of what I don't know could stop a team of oxen in their tracks.

The Navy seems the most clear between Line and Staff, where even their uniforms reflect the status.
Last edited by Patrick Bateman on Thu Jun 14, 2012 10:10 am, edited 1 time in total.

shock259
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Re: Military Law

Postby shock259 » Thu Jun 14, 2012 2:42 am

PB:

Can you speak a little on how you can get to your 20 years in the AF? Who gets forced out when, what promotions must you get in order to keep moving up, etc.

I spoke with a Navy JAG a couple of days ago and she gave me the following info for the Navy. Here's how I remember the timeline:

When you come out of Naval Justice School, you are a LTJG. LTJG's get bumped up to LT's automatically within 2 years (maybe less). During your third year, you have to basically re-apply to the Navy (I forget the name of the board, but some kind of review board). You write a personal statement, interview, get evaluated by your peers/superior officers, etc. After this process, about 20-30% of JAGs are forced out. If you get forced out here, you'll be leaving at the 4 year mark.

After 4 years, the next big goal is to get promoted. You are eligible for 2 (and only 2) promotion boards to LCDR. If you are denied promotion at both of these boards, then you'll be forced out at the 8 year mark. You must hit LCDR for your 8 year review board.

After 8 years and LCDR, your next goal is to get promoted to CDR. Again, you'll have two promotion boards to get promoted or you'll be ineligible for CDR If you miss CDR, you won't be forced out of the Navy but you will be stuck at LCDR for the rest of your career and there is some stigma associated with that.

Is the Air Force similar? Does anyone else have any insight or thoughts?




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