dodint wrote:So from that perspective, my 6 years as a military vet w/tours in Iraq and Afghan would hold as much if not more weight than the full 2L internship program? I'm studying law part-time and probably won't be able to leave my career for two summers to do the full interships. I plan to do two separate 100hr 'individual' externships instead.
There is some merit to the post above yours (Anonymous User » 28 Sep 2016, 08:57) in that the respective JAG Corps do not want dilettantes who will end up being shit bag, unhappy officers because they can't or won't confirm to military culture. Doing the JAG internship shows that you have done 10 weeks in a garrison military environment and apparently are good with it.
From my experience, the internship is valued on the hiring side because it is a 10 week audition in which the active duty folks can assess if you have the right wiring to wear the uniform. They are plenty of brilliant lawyers out there - most of them are not cut out for military life and an officer's commission. The job is not for everyone. I imagine that is the toughest question JAX/JARO/etc have to answer in selecting folks - the "what makes a good officer" question is not easy to answer and "does this applicant have those qualities" is even harder to answer when you have a pure civilian.
The recommendation letters I have been a part of writing for interns/externs applying for active duty will generally convey that "this person has what it takes and I would be happy to have them as a first assignment JAG in a legal office where I was the DSJA or SJA." That helps, to some extent, answer a lot of the questions about a particular applicant being the right fit.
For dodint: with your prior experience, you will already have a lot of those questions answered. You know what you are signing up for and know what it takes to wear the uniform. All other variables being equal, you are the safer bet and probably the better applicant. The interviewing SJA can look at your previous performance reports, medal citations, and other paperwork to get a much more developed review of you than the pure civilian in which it really comes down to just the one hour interview (for the Air Force process). Depending on your prior MOS/AFSC and if your time was junior enlisted, NCO, or as an officer, you may be in a slightly stronger or slightly weaker position. Even with all your experience, the externship process is really an audition; if your externships go well, you will be in very good shape as that can help answer the more specific "how would this person fit in as a first assignment JAG?"
There is no single path to serving as a JAG. My JASOC class had a mix of folks that interned, and didn't. Prior service and wet behind the ears brand new accessions. Some folks that got picked up by their first board, others than had to apply a few times. Don't sweat the stuff outside of your control.