I joined the forum a few months back, haven't looked at it in a while so I was surprised to find I was only a couple pages behind. Anyway, I have a question about pursuing JAG via the funded programs that are offered to current officers. As a matter of what I want to do with my life, I know I want to be an officer and have that experience, but I am really interested in law as well. I know this is TLS so the majority of folks on the forum are seeking their JD before the military and will apply to programs for law students and barred attorneys. I was wondering, however, if anyone could speak to the funded programs for officers. I've read the whole forum, and I know these programs were at least mentioned, however, I was hoping for some more detail. Are the officers selected for FLEP at a disadvantage to law students in terms of growth in the JAG Corps?
I feel that one of the pros about applying through FLEP is that your branch doesn't have to worry about wondering about your potential performance as an officer, which, by all accounts, is a big part of selection for law students/DA attorneys.
My main concern is that while law is something that people can get into later in life, being an officer has a narrow window for age, and I don't want to miss the boat for that. I'm just unsure about which path to take to becoming a Judge Advocate.
Most of my Navy JAG friends were FLEPers. I think that one of the advantages of FLEP is that you will qualify in a warfare specialty (surface warfare, pilot, submarine officer, etc.) before going to law school, which will give you a little bit of "street cred" by wearing a warfare pin.
HOWEVER! I would echo PB's warning not to join as an officer in hopes of back-dooring into JAG. For FY 13, Navy selected three (plus one alternate). http://www.public.navy.mil/bupers-npc/r ... V12090.txt
. Note: In addition to the difficulty in just getting selected, you also have to be released by your old warfare specialty-- which isn't so easy for some areas. For example, there are no aviators on that list (nor did I ever know an aviator turned JAG despite what the TV show might have suggested was possible-- but that's anecdotal).
If you want to join to fly, drive ships/submarines, etc. great-- do that and enjoy serving. I did for 20+ years. You can try for JAG, but certainly don't count on it. But don't think you can't go back after serving-- even after a full career.
Edit: Seconding Shock, thirding PB
I was typing my response to PB and Shock259 and didn't see yours right away, but I wanted to thank you for advice as well. You all have been very helpful and I'm very grateful.