JAG info needed

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stintez
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JAG info needed

Postby stintez » Tue May 11, 2010 11:41 am

Outside of graduating in the top 10% of your class from law school and being in relativity good shape what else does one need to do to be able to be accepted into the JAG program.

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zozin
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Re: JAG info needed

Postby zozin » Tue May 11, 2010 11:48 am

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Last edited by zozin on Thu May 20, 2010 6:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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YCrevolution
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Re: JAG info needed

Postby YCrevolution » Tue May 11, 2010 11:53 am

..

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Paichka
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Re: JAG info needed

Postby Paichka » Fri May 14, 2010 4:52 pm

Read the other thread.

But also -- I'm working this summer in a JAG office, so I asked around (I'm a FLEP, so my path to JAGC is a little different). My direct commissionee counterparts say that you should do a summer internship in a JAG office if you are trying to get into the JAG Corps. That seems kind of obvious to me -- how could you make an informed decision otherwise? -- but they said they knew people who'd applied for the program but had never done internships. Anecdotal evidence, FTW.

Evidence of leadership ability is nice too, allegedly.

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GIBilled
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Re: JAG info needed

Postby GIBilled » Fri May 14, 2010 4:57 pm

Congrats on FLEP. Tough selection process! Where are they sending you for school?

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Paichka
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Re: JAG info needed

Postby Paichka » Sat May 15, 2010 2:22 pm

GW. Love it.

It was a tough year last year...they filled all 25 slots with 5 alternates, but apparently a ton of people applied. I figured my ace in the hole was that it was my last year of eligibility -- I was at 4.5 years when I applied for the program, so I think they had an idea they were going to lose me if they didn't select me. :) Who knows. It's a fantastic program.

CordeliusX
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Re: JAG info needed

Postby CordeliusX » Tue May 18, 2010 3:32 pm

So if you could do JAG vs. Big law or whatever? How does JAG set you up financially? any preference for Army/Navy/Marines/Coast Guard?

JOThompson
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Re: JAG info needed

Postby JOThompson » Tue May 18, 2010 3:36 pm

stintez wrote:Outside of graduating in the top 10% of your class from law school and being in relativity good shape what else does one need to do to be able to be accepted into the JAG program.

From what I understand, commitment to service is a big factor, perhaps more important than raw grades. Anecdotal evidence after speaking with several officer selection officers from the USMC and whatever the Navy equivalent is.

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GIBilled
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Re: JAG info needed

Postby GIBilled » Wed May 19, 2010 1:22 am

You need to understand that 90% of your job will be spent working for units that are trying to chapter Soldiers out of the Army (for a plethora of disciplinary issues).

When deploying, you will ensure all Soldiers have POA's and wills.

While deployed, you will sign off on civil military operation (CMO) project packets.

Your work inside a courtroom will be minimal. You really have to love the military to go this route, and enjoy it. As an Officer in the Army, I rely on JAG almost daily. I can't see how it could be fun.

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Paichka
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Re: JAG info needed

Postby Paichka » Wed May 19, 2010 11:28 am

Okay, that's not exactly true.

I'm in a JAG office right now, and while yes, Brigade Judge Advocates spend a lot of time helping commanders chapter Soldiers, that isn't the sum total of the job. That is a single duty position out of MANY available in the JAGC.

A direct commissionee can expect their first duty position to be legal assistance. That isn't set in stone, but that's typical. Legal assistance is death n' divorce -- you'll be primarily helping Soldiers gearing up for deployments with their wills, you'll be helping family members and other dependents out with landlord/tenant disputes, and you'll be dealing with other family law issues like custody and divorces.

Next, you can go a couple of routes. One potential duty position is trial counsel, where you will be the lead prosecutor for your office. My office is small, so there is only one TC, but larger installations have more cases going on at any one time, so more TCs. This office has handled 20 court martials over the last 18 months, with two trials (a sexual assault and a fraud case) coming up in the next two months. That is a LOT of trial time, if you're interested.

Another potential job is administrative law, where you'd advise commanders on ethical issues, handle environmental law claims, and (here, because we have a lot of contractors) employment disputes between the US Government and civilian employees.

Once you're a senior captain, you switch over to the other side of the aisle and working Trial Defense. Again, lots of trial time. Our two defense counsel just spent last week in a huge rape case, and they both have trials coming up in the next month.

Then there's the USALSA job, which is where you work as a special prosecutor at the local federal district attorney. When a civilian gets popped doing something stupid on a military installation, that has to get prosecuted in federal court. This is minor stuff, generally -- speeding tickets, etc -- but still. You're prosecuting people in federal court. Our current Chief of Military Justice is our USALSA, so he spends a couple of days a month doing that up in the Eastern District of Virginia.

Another potential area of specialization is computer crime -- there are two week courses at the JAG school that trains TCs in handling the prosecution of online sexual predators. There's also a new program where you can specialize in special victim prosecutions. You are typically based out of a large installation, but you cover a wide geographical area, so you tend to go on temporary duty to help out when an installation has a rape case or similar.

That's what you can do while working at a typical JAG office. Alternatively, there's operational law (advising commanders on the law of war) and working as a Brigade Judge Advocate. BJAs are staff officers who advise brigade commanders (and subordinate commanders within that brigade) on contracts, CMO packets, and yes, administrative chapters. BJA billets are typically 12-18 months, though I have seen longer. Those traditionally go to senior captains or majors in the JAG Corps -- as a direct commissionee you are NOT likely to have that as your first duty station.

ALSO -- there's (IMHO) the coolest job in the Army JAG Corps -- working at the Government or Defense Appellate Division, where you get to argue cases in front of the Army's Supreme Court (The Army Court of Criminal Appeals) and the Military's Supreme Court (the Court of Military Appeals). Those jobs are extremely competitive, and you won't get that as your first assignment, but you can work there as either a Captain or a Major.

Anyhoo. It isn't just chapters. Not even close.

JOThompson
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Re: JAG info needed

Postby JOThompson » Wed May 19, 2010 11:33 am

Paichka,

How difficult is it to obtain a TC job as opposed to an administrative law position? I'm interested in the first but the not the second so much. I do realize, of course, that the needs of the Army come first.

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Paichka
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Re: JAG info needed

Postby Paichka » Wed May 19, 2010 11:41 am

Oooh! Forgot a couple of other areas.

Here at Belvoir, there are some special offices in addition to the main JAG office. One is Criminal Investigation Division Command. We have four lawyers who work out of that office, assisting the Special Agents.

Another special office is CITF -- the Criminal Investigation Task Force. They work international law, detainee issues, and habeas petitions. Super secret squirrel stuff.

We also have lawyers working at Army Material Command, primarily working in government contracting and procurement.

Another office is Intelligence & Security Command -- lawyers who work over there advice military intelligence units throughout the world on the Law of War, ethical issues, and other operational law issues related to Army intelligence gathering. SUPER SUPER secret squirrel stuff. You have to get a top secret clearance to work there.

In DC, there's a few other areas of concentration open to JAG officers -- environmental law is huge, particularly with the Base Realignment And Closure (BRAC) initiatives...contract law is obviously a huge area of practice for Army lawyers...and tort claims.

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Paichka
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Re: JAG info needed

Postby Paichka » Wed May 19, 2010 11:45 am

JOThompson wrote:Paichka,

How difficult is it to obtain a TC job as opposed to an administrative law position? I'm interested in the first but the not the second so much. I do realize, of course, that the needs of the Army come first.


Depends on your duty station. First, realize you'll probably do both. You'll have something like 6 years to play with before you'll come up for promotion to Major (little fuzzy on the timeline, I'm not a direct commissionee so my timeline is different). TC is considered the company command of the JAG Corps, and it can be competitive depending on the size of the office you're going to -- large bases have larger offices, and thus more TC positions. The second-most junior guy in my office is transitioning to TC this month...he spent a year in legal assistance before moving over. The TC prior to him spent a year in the position, and the TC prior to that spent about a year before moving up to take the Chief of Military Justice job. The chief prior to him had two years as a TC, and she's spent a year as head of Administrative Law, but her next job will be Trial Defense.

They want you to be well-rounded, but you can definitely make your preferences known.




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