Anonymous User wrote:Does anyone feel looked down upon by your fellow law students for wanting, or having, a Jag job? Like maybe that you're wasting your JD on the military? Do you all think this may be more prominent at better law schools? Like T50 or T25?
All in Jag pays like 85k plus starting out after all the benefits, but maybe people don't know this, or just have deeply ingrained prejudice against the military?
There are some reasons to ask this questions. One could ask these question to make sure she's not missing something about JAG that other people know or to find out if what other people think about the job might affect future job prospects.
The looking down on you're talking about will typically be at schools where students have a very good chance of getting a good job (or even a job at all). Currently, with how bad employment statistics have been, no one at a school below the T14-25 range really has the ability to look down on 4+ semi-guaranteed years of work making ~$100k/year that has the chance of building some transferable skills.
Reasons for looking down on it relate to the different selection process, the lack of knowledge of what JAGs do, and the previous perceived lack of selectivity. For most legal jobs, you give your school and class rank and then you find out whether you're hired. You might have an interview or have to get a recommendation from a prof, but school and rank is a clear dividing line. You don't have that with JAG. The services hire from all schools, and while better grades generally help, people at the bottom of the class can get selected, even in these more selective times. The selection process is about the "whole person," and the services are hiring skills that aren't fostered in legal school nor typical of your stereotypical law student.
A lot of people don't know what JAGs can do, so that can affect the perception of the job's status. People might think we don't do legal work, we do a ton of trial work, we don't build skills that transfer to law firms, we do "administrative" stuff, etc., and they'd all be right for different JAGs. Our paths are different from other legal jobs and sometimes very different from other JAGs within the same service. So saying you're going to be a JAG might not give a lot of people a good idea of what you're doing.
In years/decades past, the selection rate was higher. More senior officers often remark that they don't know if they could have gotten in under today's standards. I'm not sure whether that's true, but this affects what people think of the job. If the job was easier to get 15 years ago, and a lot of people would do it because they couldn't get the "prestigious" jobs, then that reputation might stick.
As the others have said, it's nothing to worry about. Generally, people will have no idea what you do. You will have to advocate for yourself if you want to transfer skills learned while a JAG to get you other jobs (and I don't think that will be too difficult, certainly depending on the job).
S. Goodman wrote:As far as pay is concerned Jag is well above average, that 85k is a little conservative because you also have to factor in public service loan forgiveness if you stay in 10 years. Then you have to add your base pay, BAH, BAS, and free health/dental for you and your family.
Yes, this is often overlooked. Your compensation will depend on your loan, tax, and significant other situations. As the current sole breadwinner for the wife and me, I'm in my third year, and I would have to make $120k+ in flyover country to get the same compensation I'm getting this year, and that doesn't count any retirement benefit.
I'm also not planning on doing PSLF, but it would be difficult to find a better job for PSLF.