Becoming a Jag after ROTC?

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dadengcrew
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Becoming a Jag after ROTC?

Postby dadengcrew » Sun Mar 14, 2010 8:09 pm

Hi all,

I'm a current undergrad thinking about law school. Currently I'm a contracted ROTC cadet with a 4 year active duty commitment after graduating. I have two options for law school: I can either request and ed delay and pay for law school myself, or I can branch into a line unit and later apply for FLEP or some other program.

Do any military people have any opinions about this?

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patrickd139
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Re: Becoming a Jag after ROTC?

Postby patrickd139 » Sun Mar 14, 2010 11:28 pm

viewtopic.php?f=3&t=31543

My opinion: apply for FLEP and have them pay for it (very tough to get, if I understand correctly). If (when?) they say no, and you still want to be a lawyer, request an ed delay and pay for it yourself.

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professorvoltron
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Re: Becoming a Jag after ROTC?

Postby professorvoltron » Sun Mar 14, 2010 11:42 pm

I would say go in, deploy and get your feet wet, and then try the FLEP. You just might find that the military isn't your cup of tea. These are very tough and interesting times for the service, so you might just want to bail and never come back.

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vanwinkle
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Re: Becoming a Jag after ROTC?

Postby vanwinkle » Sun Mar 14, 2010 11:47 pm

professorvoltron wrote:I would say go in, deploy and get your feet wet, and then try the FLEP. You just might find that the military isn't your cup of tea. These are very tough and interesting times for the service, so you might just want to bail and never come back.

This is kind of dumb advice. JAG is not like other military service. Just because you don't like being in whatever position you get after undergrad doesn't mean you won't like JAG.

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Haribo
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Re: Becoming a Jag after ROTC?

Postby Haribo » Mon Mar 15, 2010 2:37 pm

vanwinkle wrote:
professorvoltron wrote:I would say go in, deploy and get your feet wet, and then try the FLEP. You just might find that the military isn't your cup of tea. These are very tough and interesting times for the service, so you might just want to bail and never come back.

This is kind of dumb advice. JAG is not like other military service. Just because you don't like being in whatever position you get after undergrad doesn't mean you won't like JAG.


I don't know, JAG is still military. You go where the military sends you, when they want you there, you salute and get saluted at when walking to the BX, you have deal with the formality and the little quirks of being in... You can not like your job, but you can also not like your job environment, and knowing that you aren't happy in the military for whatever reason can be legitimately helpful.

(I was in the Air Force, so most officer jobs were fairly similar in environment to a JAG job... desk work! If the OP would be going into say, army infantry the differences might be so vast as to make any comparison useless.)

OP: I would personally would put in some service first. Both to try out the service and make sure it is what you want. (People I graduated ROTC with who I never would have thought would make it a career are, yes, making it a career, while others who seemed a perfect fit couldn't escape fast enough.) Try and get into the program where they pay you to go to law school, if you like the military and decide law is what you want. Your military experience will only help you get into a better law school.

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vanwinkle
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Re: Becoming a Jag after ROTC?

Postby vanwinkle » Mon Mar 15, 2010 6:18 pm

Haribo wrote:
vanwinkle wrote:
professorvoltron wrote:I would say go in, deploy and get your feet wet, and then try the FLEP. You just might find that the military isn't your cup of tea. These are very tough and interesting times for the service, so you might just want to bail and never come back.

This is kind of dumb advice. JAG is not like other military service. Just because you don't like being in whatever position you get after undergrad doesn't mean you won't like JAG.

I don't know, JAG is still military. You go where the military sends you, when they want you there, you salute and get saluted at when walking to the BX, you have deal with the formality and the little quirks of being in... You can not like your job, but you can also not like your job environment, and knowing that you aren't happy in the military for whatever reason can be legitimately helpful.

(I was in the Air Force, so most officer jobs were fairly similar in environment to a JAG job... desk work! If the OP would be going into say, army infantry the differences might be so vast as to make any comparison useless.)

OP: I would personally would put in some service first. Both to try out the service and make sure it is what you want. (People I graduated ROTC with who I never would have thought would make it a career are, yes, making it a career, while others who seemed a perfect fit couldn't escape fast enough.) Try and get into the program where they pay you to go to law school, if you like the military and decide law is what you want. Your military experience will only help you get into a better law school.

This is still terrible advice. Active wartime military experience seems to get a big boost (aka folks who went to Iraq or Afghanistan) but simply being in the military doesn't seem to count for as much. Like the Peace Corps, it's not something someone should do just to get a boost at law school. That's incredibly foolish, especially with the military stop-lossing folks left and right.

Not only that, why would you spend a commitment of at least four years just to find out if you like life in the military? Why not find out if you like life in the military after law school when you're getting to do what you really want to anyway? That way, if you don't like it, you leave the first chance you get instead of recommissioning, and then you've got several years of legal experience on your resume. If you join the military now, without going into JAG, without a legal education, you're not doing anything that builds your legal resume at all. It's years that aren't helping your legal education.

And comparing JAG to other duties because it's "desk work" is also stupid. JAG is a lot of paperwork, but it's paperwork dealing specifically with legal matters, which 1) gives you valuable legal experience, 2) builds your resume, and 3) occasionally puts you inside a courtroom, which no other "desk jobs" do. It's the kind of work you'll be doing no matter where you go after law school, which is not like any other kind of paperwork you'll ever deal with (except for maybe paralegals).

My overall point is, if your goal is to put in a few years and see how it feels, why not do those few years after law school to see what it's like in JAG, which is what you'd be doing if you stayed in anyway? Why go do something else not like JAG and waste those years when you could be going to law school and then actually doing JAG and seeing how you like it?

dadengcrew
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Re: Becoming a Jag after ROTC?

Postby dadengcrew » Mon Mar 15, 2010 7:58 pm

Thanks for all the advice guys.

Currently the other option to law school would be branching aviation. I've taken the AFAST and think I have the grades and PT score for it.

One question: how competitive is it to get into the FLEP program? Do you need commander approval to apply? If you get accepted, can you choose any law school and the army will pay for it?

anli
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Re: Becoming a Jag after ROTC?

Postby anli » Mon Mar 15, 2010 8:30 pm

Did you take a scholarship with ROTC? If not, you could go in first and get GI benefits, which would definitely be the way to go.

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Panther7
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Re: Becoming a Jag after ROTC?

Postby Panther7 » Mon Mar 15, 2010 8:40 pm

vanwinkle wrote:
Haribo wrote:
vanwinkle wrote:
professorvoltron wrote:I would say go in, deploy and get your feet wet, and then try the FLEP. You just might find that the military isn't your cup of tea. These are very tough and interesting times for the service, so you might just want to bail and never come back.

This is kind of dumb advice. JAG is not like other military service. Just because you don't like being in whatever position you get after undergrad doesn't mean you won't like JAG.

I don't know, JAG is still military. You go where the military sends you, when they want you there, you salute and get saluted at when walking to the BX, you have deal with the formality and the little quirks of being in... You can not like your job, but you can also not like your job environment, and knowing that you aren't happy in the military for whatever reason can be legitimately helpful.

(I was in the Air Force, so most officer jobs were fairly similar in environment to a JAG job... desk work! If the OP would be going into say, army infantry the differences might be so vast as to make any comparison useless.)

OP: I would personally would put in some service first. Both to try out the service and make sure it is what you want. (People I graduated ROTC with who I never would have thought would make it a career are, yes, making it a career, while others who seemed a perfect fit couldn't escape fast enough.) Try and get into the program where they pay you to go to law school, if you like the military and decide law is what you want. Your military experience will only help you get into a better law school.

This is still terrible advice. Active wartime military experience seems to get a big boost (aka folks who went to Iraq or Afghanistan) but simply being in the military doesn't seem to count for as much. Like the Peace Corps, it's not something someone should do just to get a boost at law school. That's incredibly foolish, especially with the military stop-lossing folks left and right.

Not only that, why would you spend a commitment of at least four years just to find out if you like life in the military? Why not find out if you like life in the military after law school when you're getting to do what you really want to anyway? That way, if you don't like it, you leave the first chance you get instead of recommissioning, and then you've got several years of legal experience on your resume. If you join the military now, without going into JAG, without a legal education, you're not doing anything that builds your legal resume at all. It's years that aren't helping your legal education.

And comparing JAG to other duties because it's "desk work" is also stupid. JAG is a lot of paperwork, but it's paperwork dealing specifically with legal matters, which 1) gives you valuable legal experience, 2) builds your resume, and 3) occasionally puts you inside a courtroom, which no other "desk jobs" do. It's the kind of work you'll be doing no matter where you go after law school, which is not like any other kind of paperwork you'll ever deal with (except for maybe paralegals).

My overall point is, if your goal is to put in a few years and see how it feels, why not do those few years after law school to see what it's like in JAG, which is what you'd be doing if you stayed in anyway? Why go do something else not like JAG and waste those years when you could be going to law school and then actually doing JAG and seeing how you like it?



I don't think this is really the case. I got accepted to W&L, and because of other parts of my application I have a hard time believing even 'trivial' service (that as a cadet) is overlooked. Obviously active duty trumps reserves, but I'm not really sure adcomms really care or differentiate. I think a lot of them will have respect for anyone who graduates OCS or some other form of leadership training, as it shows a lot about a person at their core. Sure, war looks great on a resume as a "dedicated" person and is commendable, but if you're simply looking at the personality and dedication of a person (which tends to be a big part of the "holistic" thing), their deployments aren't going to tell you as much.

I actually agree with the statement that I would go officer first to see if you like the culture. And I would also agree that it's similar, even if it's a completely different job.

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Haribo
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Re: Becoming a Jag after ROTC?

Postby Haribo » Mon Mar 15, 2010 9:14 pm

vanwinkle wrote:
Haribo wrote:I don't know, JAG is still military. You go where the military sends you, when they want you there, you salute and get saluted at when walking to the BX, you have deal with the formality and the little quirks of being in... You can not like your job, but you can also not like your job environment, and knowing that you aren't happy in the military for whatever reason can be legitimately helpful.

(I was in the Air Force, so most officer jobs were fairly similar in environment to a JAG job... desk work! If the OP would be going into say, army infantry the differences might be so vast as to make any comparison useless.)

OP: I would personally would put in some service first. Both to try out the service and make sure it is what you want. (People I graduated ROTC with who I never would have thought would make it a career are, yes, making it a career, while others who seemed a perfect fit couldn't escape fast enough.) Try and get into the program where they pay you to go to law school, if you like the military and decide law is what you want. Your military experience will only help you get into a better law school.

This is still terrible advice. Active wartime military experience seems to get a big boost (aka folks who went to Iraq or Afghanistan) but simply being in the military doesn't seem to count for as much. Like the Peace Corps, it's not something someone should do just to get a boost at law school. That's incredibly foolish, especially with the military stop-lossing folks left and right.

Not only that, why would you spend a commitment of at least four years just to find out if you like life in the military? Why not find out if you like life in the military after law school when you're getting to do what you really want to anyway? That way, if you don't like it, you leave the first chance you get instead of recommissioning, and then you've got several years of legal experience on your resume. If you join the military now, without going into JAG, without a legal education, you're not doing anything that builds your legal resume at all. It's years that aren't helping your legal education.

And comparing JAG to other duties because it's "desk work" is also stupid. JAG is a lot of paperwork, but it's paperwork dealing specifically with legal matters, which 1) gives you valuable legal experience, 2) builds your resume, and 3) occasionally puts you inside a courtroom, which no other "desk jobs" do. It's the kind of work you'll be doing no matter where you go after law school, which is not like any other kind of paperwork you'll ever deal with (except for maybe paralegals).

My overall point is, if your goal is to put in a few years and see how it feels, why not do those few years after law school to see what it's like in JAG, which is what you'd be doing if you stayed in anyway? Why go do something else not like JAG and waste those years when you could be going to law school and then actually doing JAG and seeing how you like it?


Well, in my opinion your advice is terrible, because it appears to totally overlook the fact that he already has a military commitment right now, and will probably incur additional years of commitment by going to law school.

I probably overstated the importance of military in admissions. I think it was probably what got me into Stanford (it sure wasn't my GPA) but I think outside of a few schools that have recently been criticized for low military enrollment, military won't necessarily give someone a boost. I do think that getting work experience before going to straight to law school is a good thing, and general wisdom on the TLS agrees.

You say my telling him to join the military is like telling someone to do the Peace Corps just for the boost. Actually, it was more like telling someone who was going to make a 4-7 year commitment to live in a third-world country he has never lived in that maybe he should slow down and visit the country first. Maybe you disagree? But I think it's damn good advice. (OP - if you are prior enlisted I maintain the right to change my advice.)

I suggested he try the military on for size first, through the medium of another military job, not because the duties are similar (thank GOD being a lawyer will be different from being an engineer) but because working for the military is NOT like working for a corresponding civilian job. In job duty maybe, sure, but the ability of the military to move you anywhere, at any time, regardless of what you think or want is NOT something that everyone feels comfortable with. Yeah, sure, in ROTC they tell you about all the sweet assignments you're going to get, but most people have to put in a few years hard labor in say... Minot, ND or Clovis, NM first. And that's not even counting the 3, 6, 12 (or whatever) months they'll deploy you to the desert, and that can come when your wife is pregnant with twins or whatever...

The job itself - well, every few years they move you around anyway and you'll get a different job, so that can change, but the atmosphere of the military, the slightly annoying way promotions are handled, and the loss of rights that you give up when you join are something that I think can be difficult to know how you will or will not like them without actual experience.

BTW, OP, I sort of assumed you were a contract cadet on scholarship. If not, and you don't actually owe four years of your life, well, obviously you might as well go to law school now if that is what you want.

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vanwinkle
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Re: Becoming a Jag after ROTC?

Postby vanwinkle » Mon Mar 15, 2010 9:19 pm

Haribo wrote:Well, in my opinion your advice is terrible, because it appears to totally overlook the fact that he already has a military commitment right now, and will probably incur additional years of commitment by going to law school.

His original post indicated he'd be deferring his four-year commitment for education purposes to go to law school. I was assuming he'd be serving four years in the military either way. In my opinion (and you are free to disagree with me and tell me my advice is terrible too, I don't care) it'd be better for him to spend four years accruing legal experience while he's in the military than waiting four years to get started on his legal career if that's what he really wants.

If he did have to tack on additional years to go to law school, then yeah, that'd be different. But my thinking is just that if it's the same four years either way, be doing it with something that'll more directly apply to what you wanna do when you get out.

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professorvoltron
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Re: Becoming a Jag after ROTC?

Postby professorvoltron » Mon Mar 15, 2010 9:49 pm

Fly a helicopter and then go JAG. You'd have a great foundation in the military if you decided that you would want to continue to pursue it. Me personally, after working alongside JAG for a while, I don't think I would ever want to be an active duty Army JAG officer. I would love to fly though. JAG is pretty much like any other branch except that they have a propensity to be treated like lepers.

the lantern
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Re: Becoming a Jag after ROTC?

Postby the lantern » Mon Mar 15, 2010 9:56 pm

Just from what I remember of my small experience in the military (Marines), it is quite uncommon for officers to move laterally unless there is some sort of injury or something. I'm not sure if you'd be able to change specialties easily, you'll definitely need to ask a career services officer or something. Also, recognize that being enlisted is a lot different than being an officer, and being a line officer is a lot different than being a non line officer. Also, being a pilot/JAG officer is a lot different than the rest of the corps. If I were you, I'd do what I really want to do, whether that is law school or life as a commissioned (non-JAG) officer.

dadengcrew
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Re: Becoming a Jag after ROTC?

Postby dadengcrew » Mon Mar 15, 2010 10:44 pm

Wow. Thanks for all the replies. I wasn't expecting such passionate responses or the detailedness of the help. I really appreciate it.

A few things that could make my situation more clear though:
-By requesting an ed delay to go to law school, I wouldn't have an any commitment, BUT I have to pay my way through law school.
-Aviation would actually be the longer commitment-from what I heard it's 6 years after the end of flight school. So eight years with flight school being 2 years. Assuming I get a slot right away.
-I'm not sure if I want to make the Army a career. I'm not prior-enlisted, so I want to do a tour on active duty before I make up my mind.
-My end goal is to go to law school and be a lawyer.

Obviously the ed delay and then JAG would be the most expedient way to accomplish my goals. The thing I'm not sure of is will I be sitting in a law library in a couple years looking out the window, wondering if I should have done some time as a platoon leader? I've heard its one of the most rewarding experiences to be in charge of soldiers. Going to law school would not allow me to do that.

My LSAT is only good for 5 years, my letters of rec would be worthless if I did a tour first. Is platoon leader time worth straying from my goals? What do you guys think?

BuckNuts
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Re: Becoming a Jag after ROTC?

Postby BuckNuts » Mon Mar 15, 2010 10:56 pm

I did ROTC and have spent the last five years on active duty in the Navy...surface community. Not sure which branch you're in and what your billeting options are once you get commissioned, but the new GI Bill opens up some great options for you post-military. That is the route I am taking...b/n fellowships and the GI Bill, law school is 100% paid for and then some.

True, you would be making O3/O4 salary while in law school if you go the JAG route, but then you're committed for another stint, and in the Navy's case -- it is a six year committment. 3 years of school + 6 years of follow-on service + your original committment = much closer to 20 years (and retirement,) so by that time, you're basically saying you want to be a military lawyer for most of your adult life. That is a personal decision, but for me, I needed the freedom to pursue my own goals on my own time and in the location of my choosing. Best wishes with whatever you decide -- you have plenty of time!

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professorvoltron
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Re: Becoming a Jag after ROTC?

Postby professorvoltron » Tue Mar 16, 2010 1:52 am

I just finished up 5 years in the infantry and I agree with BuckNuts. The best time I ever had was as a platoon leader while deployed. It is an experience I wouldn't trade for the world. You wouldn't get that as a JAG officer. Take your time, don't let anybody rush you. There is enough time in the world to do both if you want.

whodunit
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Re: Becoming a Jag after ROTC?

Postby whodunit » Thu Apr 08, 2010 2:01 am

I had to make that decision myself. I commissioned in 2008 and had to desperately figure out if I wanted to assession for JAG Corp and do an ed delay, or go in and do FLEP. I followed the advice that was previously posted on this forum: get your feet wet in the Army and try for FLEP. I am glad that I did it this way, because now I have first hand knowledge and a firm understanding of the Army. If you don't have prior Army enlistment experience (as I did not) it is very important that you build that foundation. However, there are a few setbacks to not assessioning for it earlier and relying on FLEP. FLEP is HARD to get accepted into. The pool of applicants is big, and they only select UP TO 25 officers a year for FLEP. According to what I have heard, you need to have a stellar undergrad GPA and a high LSAT score to be competative. It is always hard to tell though...I know some lieutenants that applied for FLEP that I didnt think would make it and did, and others who I thought were a shoe in that did not make it. Furthermore, I am currently deployed, and putting my packet together, and planning to take my LSAT just as I get back to the US. You may find yourself in a similar situation. The decision is truly yours, but I wish I knew more information about FLEP before I got in, because I initially thought FLEP was a relatively easy program to get accepted into when in fact it is very difficult and quite competative. However, I think it is critical to have some active duty time under your belt so you have the knowledge base to represent Soldiers and know if the Army is really for you.

FLLegalSwimmer
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Re: Becoming a Jag after ROTC?

Postby FLLegalSwimmer » Sun Oct 02, 2016 7:47 pm

Has there been any update by whodunit on your progress with applications for Ed Delay? I have nearly identical circumstances and was doing research when came across this forum. Thanks

Voyager
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Re: Becoming a Jag after ROTC?

Postby Voyager » Mon Oct 03, 2016 12:50 pm

dadengcrew wrote:Hi all,

I'm a current undergrad thinking about law school. Currently I'm a contracted ROTC cadet with a 4 year active duty commitment after graduating. I have two options for law school: I can either request and ed delay and pay for law school myself, or I can branch into a line unit and later apply for FLEP or some other program.

Do any military people have any opinions about this?


EDIT: Ha! OP is from 2010! My mistake. Ah well... advice stands. I wonder what he did?

I had 2 2nd Lts in my TBS platoon who were Marine JAG and did exactly what you just described. Seemed like a great deal to me. They got to go through all of the Marine Lt training the rest of us had and then head off to JAG.

My recommendation? Don't do the educational delay. Go serve as a regular officer. When you are finished with your 4 year stint you will be a in a better position to know if you still want to go to law school. You will also have loads of other business leadership options as well. I recommend getting an MBA over the JD.

By the way, assuming you are a Senior in college, you can put in your law school application in 4 years and time it for a fall start right out of the military.

I will add, however, that the experience of serving as a leader in the military was the best and most important experience of my life. It opened up a ton of doors.

Good luck, friend.




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