JAG with a family?

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juiced
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JAG with a family?

Postby juiced » Tue Jul 28, 2009 4:08 pm

Anyone have experience or know someone who has had experience working as a JAG while caring for a family? It's hard to find into on this, even on the sites of different branches.

Thanks

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Yointer
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Re: JAG with a family?

Postby Yointer » Tue Jul 28, 2009 4:13 pm

juiced wrote:Anyone have experience or know someone who has had experience working as a JAG while caring for a family? It's hard to find into on this, even on the sites of different branches.

Thanks


I am interning with Navy JAG this summer and also have access to Marine and Coast Guard JAGs. I would be happy to ask any specific questions you may have and post the answers here.

To start, I can tell you that virtually all of the JAGs in my office are married and most of them have children. Some are married to attorneys, some to stay-at-home moms/dads, and some to spouses who work in a non-legal capacity. It is clearly possible to have a fulfilling family life as a JAG, but the periodic relocating can be difficult, or so I hear.

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Veritas
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Re: JAG with a family?

Postby Veritas » Tue Jul 28, 2009 4:25 pm

Yointer wrote:
juiced wrote:Anyone have experience or know someone who has had experience working as a JAG while caring for a family? It's hard to find into on this, even on the sites of different branches.

Thanks


I am interning with Navy JAG this summer and also have access to Marine and Coast Guard JAGs. I would be happy to ask any specific questions you may have and post the answers here.

To start, I can tell you that virtually all of the JAGs in my office are married and most of them have children. Some are married to attorneys, some to stay-at-home moms/dads, and some to spouses who work in a non-legal capacity. It is clearly possible to have a fulfilling family life as a JAG, but the periodic relocating can be difficult, or so I hear.

Yointer, how is your internship?

I'm really interested in that opportunity, what was the application process like? the competition?

juiced
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Re: JAG with a family?

Postby juiced » Tue Jul 28, 2009 4:29 pm

About the moving: how often is it? For a typical 4 year time frame how often can they move you?
How does the time away from family work? Is there really any or do they always go with you?
What are the chances of you being sent to some god aweful place like Iraq or Afghanistan?

Thanks!!!

juiced
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Re: JAG with a family?

Postby juiced » Tue Jul 28, 2009 4:32 pm

(Inadvertant double post)

Bankhead
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Re: JAG with a family?

Postby Bankhead » Tue Jul 28, 2009 4:37 pm

I have a friend who is Army JAG. He was deployed to Iraq for a year, starting last week. If you truly think that military occupied countries like Iraq and Afghanistan are "god aweful" then perhaps JAG isn't the type of job for you.

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Paichka
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Re: JAG with a family?

Postby Paichka » Tue Jul 28, 2009 5:06 pm

juiced wrote:About the moving: how often is it? For a typical 4 year time frame how often can they move you?
How does the time away from family work? Is there really any or do they always go with you?
What are the chances of you being sent to some god aweful place like Iraq or Afghanistan?

Thanks!!!


I'm an Army officer (5.5 years), as is my husband. I'm in the Funded Legal Education Program, which means when I graduate from law school I'll be an Army JAG.

In the Army, you are eligible to move posts after 2 years. You are required to have 2 years of "time on station" before HRC (human resources command) will consider you for another job elsewhere. I have been on Fort Stewart for my entire career thus far, and I know several people who have not moved in a good long while. So anywhere from 2 to 5 years in any one place.

For a typical 4 year commitment, you will probably not move if you are stateside. If you spend your first 12-18 months in Korea, you will move at least once. My husband spent his first year in Korea, and has been at Fort Stewart since then. I have only been assigned to Fort Stewart.

If you are assigned stateside (what is called a CONUS assignment) your family will always accompany you (if they want to). If you are assigned OCONUS, to Hawaii or Germany, your family will accompany you (again, if they want to). It used to be that Korea was an unaccompanied tour, but now you can bring them with you if you like.

If you are not deployed, the Army allows you to spend a ton of time with your family. You get weekends and all federal holidays, so it's actually a pretty sweet gig. Now, when you are ramping up to deploy, you may occasionally have to work weekends, but they try very hard to give you that time back.

As for your chances to go to Iraq or Afghanistan...it really depends. Your chances of going to Iraq are probably nil at this point -- we are drawing down, and 2-3 years from now I very much doubt we're going to have much of a presence there at all. Afghanistan is more of a gamble. As a JAG, you will work in one of two places (as a junior captain): 1) you will be a Brigade Judge Advocate, or 2) you will work at Trial Defense Services or in the admin law section at Division. There are no JAG officers at lower echelons. What this means practically is that you will pretty much always be on a large base, colocated with either your Brigade headquarters or a Division headquarters. The bases you will be assigned to will be fairly large and secure, and USUALLY will have lots of amenities like large post exchanges, gyms, dining facilities, internet, etc. I can talk more about Iraq, as I've been there twice, but I have never been to Afghanistan.

(From what I've heard from my friends who've been there -- Afghanistan is pretty f-ing god awful. Iraq is not bad, overall.)

I am not sure how the Navy works, but I imagine that you have a chance of being assigned to a ship, in which case your family can't come with you. Someone else can probably answer that question. The Air Force and marine experiences are similar to the Army's, except the Air Force has nicer bases, and the marines go to shittier locales when they deploy.

juiced
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Re: JAG with a family?

Postby juiced » Tue Jul 28, 2009 5:25 pm

Thanks for the great responses!

For a four year commitment, how do they decide whether to put you stateside or send you elsewhere?
I don't have any military backgound and know little about the lifestyle. How do people like myself (if you know any) handle the transition into the military culture?
Long term question: if you decide to make a career out of JAG, what do your kids do for school? And when can one expect to retire comfortably?

Thanks again, the help is great.

juiced
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Re: JAG with a family?

Postby juiced » Tue Jul 28, 2009 6:14 pm

Bump

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patrickd139
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Re: JAG with a family?

Postby patrickd139 » Tue Jul 28, 2009 6:25 pm

jayzon wrote:http://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=31543&hilit=JAG&start=250

Best place to find the advice you seek.


There is some excellent information here that answers most of the questions in your previous post.

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dapoetic1
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Re: JAG with a family?

Postby dapoetic1 » Tue Jul 28, 2009 6:32 pm

juiced wrote:Thanks for the great responses!

For a four year commitment, how do they decide whether to put you stateside or send you elsewhere?
I don't have any military backgound and know little about the lifestyle. How do people like myself (if you know any) handle the transition into the military culture?
Long term question: if you decide to make a career out of JAG, what do your kids do for school? And when can one expect to retire comfortably?

Thanks again, the help is great.


What Paichka said about this Army is pretty much identical for the AF. Your deployment cycles will be shorter but closer together. The Air Force deploys in cycles called AEFs and it's a period of time usually 4-6 months out of a 15 month period and it's divided across the entire AF. Some career fields deploy for 4 months and won't deploy for another 2 years and some people in some career fields may never deploy just because of when they arrive in a unit
In a low density-high deman LDHD (such as JAG, and chaplain and many others) you may deploy for 6 months come home for 6 months and then turn right back around and deploy for 6 more months. You may also be subject to "remote" assignments. Remotes are 1-year assignments that you must do without your family. You go for 6 months and then you come home on a mid-tour leave and then go back and finish the 6 months. Korea is popluar for these although you can get a regular 3 year assignment to Korea if you want to take you family.
There is a preference sheet that you fill out where you tell the AF where you would like to be stationed. You can be very specifice like saying I want XXX AFB or you can be general and say I want anywher PACAF (Pacific Air Force which is Alaska or Hawaii) or you can say I want CONUS (lower 48) or I want any long over sea assignment.

The Air Force then takes your request, laughs at it, balls it up and throws in in the garbage :wink:

It's a "needs" of the Air Force thing. They will do their best to match you to a preferred assignment but there is not guarnatee that you will get any base. 90% of all AFB are great assignments. I've been army and air force and I've had far better experiences at AFB than Army Post. But that's just slight differnces in location due to mission demands.
After your first assignment you tend to have slightly more control over your subsequent assignments. As an officer you need to have certain jobs, certain locations, and certain schools in order to progress in your career. Overseas assignments both short tours, long tours, and remote tours are part of the job. As are deployments.
NOt all deployments are to Iraq or Afghan. And Iraq is becoming decreasingly populated by US military as Afghan is the bigger focus. but there's also really amazing deployments to places like Turkey. You can also volunteer for 1-year long assignments to egypt, Italy and the Azores. (I sound like a recruiting brochure) But I say all that to say that in the military you're going to lose quite a bit of control over your future. For some people they relish the experiences and the new adventures and the change in atmospheres. For some the constant moving is too much hardship. If you have a spouce with a great job but not a lot of flexibility then the military may be hard. Expect as an officer to move every 4 years, and possibly sooner like within 2 yrs of arriving on station.
In the military you're not just a lawyer you're in the military. So you're subject to all the crap that goes along with it.

juiced
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Re: JAG with a family?

Postby juiced » Tue Jul 28, 2009 7:20 pm

dapoetic1 wrote: For some people they relish the experiences and the new adventures and the change in atmospheres. For some the constant moving is too much hardship. If you have a spouce with a great job but not a lot of flexibility then the military may be hard. Expect as an officer to move every 4 years, and possibly sooner like within 2 yrs of arriving on station.
.



My wife is actually a stay at home and we would both like to travel, especially since I'm planning on only doing the 4 years and out. There are though, like most others, places that neither of us would want to go, most notably Afghanistan and probably Korea, but anywhere else seems fair game.

Question: If I did want to stay long term as a JAG, how do my children go to school? Are they just transferred to different schools every couple years or are there schools on base or home school or what? Thanks :wink:

Oh, and also is there a preference for what schools to go to for JAG or are the rules for picking a school just the same as if you were planning on doing Biglaw?

juiced
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Re: JAG with a family?

Postby juiced » Tue Jul 28, 2009 7:46 pm

b

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Paichka
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Re: JAG with a family?

Postby Paichka » Tue Jul 28, 2009 8:02 pm

For the Army, what happens with your kids depends on the base.

For large bases (Fort Stewart) there are elementary schools and day care centers for the little ones. For some very large posts (Fort Bragg), or posts that are in remote areas (Fort Leonard Wood) there may be middle schools as well. High school is always off post.

The Army won't reassign your kids automatically. You as the parent call up the local school and get them enrolled, much as if you were moving as a civilian. When you move, though, usually your gaining unit will assign you a "mentor" who can help you out -- someone who has been in the area for awhile and can walk you through the ropes.

When you are up for reassignment, you call a person at HRC, called your "branch manager". They will let you know what jobs they have available and where. If you are coming off of a deployment, or you have a family member enrolled in the Exceptional Family Member Program (medical issues), then you are given priority for what jobs are out there. Otherwise, it's needs of the Army. You can work a deal with HRC so that if you take a shitty assignment (unaccompanied to Korea, for example) you can get the assignment of your choice once your tour there is up. For JAG, you'd go to school, graduate, then go to the JAG Officer Basic course which is at Fort Lee and Charlottesville, VA. While there, you would fill out a list of places you'd like to go, and your branch manager will usually try very hard to get you what you want. It's not always possible -- certain posts are very hard to get. Hawaii, for example, and Fort Carson in Colorado. Large posts will be easier than small ones.

Every time you are up for reassignment, you don't HAVE to move. Sometimes you can get another job in a different unit at the same post. The only thing that will force you to move is schooling -- things like the Captain's Career Course (senior LTs, junior Captains), or the major's course (ILE for normal branches...they call it something different for JAG, but it's the same sort of deal -- I forget how long in Charlottesville getting an LLM in military law). Once you are a Major who has completed ILE, you can pretty much sit pretty at your post indefinitely. I know some field grade officers who stayed at the same post for 10-15 years.

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J-Rod
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Re: JAG with a family?

Postby J-Rod » Tue Jul 28, 2009 8:08 pm

juiced wrote:
dapoetic1 wrote: For some people they relish the experiences and the new adventures and the change in atmospheres. For some the constant moving is too much hardship. If you have a spouce with a great job but not a lot of flexibility then the military may be hard. Expect as an officer to move every 4 years, and possibly sooner like within 2 yrs of arriving on station.
.



My wife is actually a stay at home and we would both like to travel, especially since I'm planning on only doing the 4 years and out. There are though, like most others, places that neither of us would want to go, most notably Afghanistan and probably Korea, but anywhere else seems fair game.

Question: If I did want to stay long term as a JAG, how do my children go to school? Are they just transferred to different schools every couple years or are there schools on base or home school or what? Thanks :wink:

Oh, and also is there a preference for what schools to go to for JAG or are the rules for picking a school just the same as if you were planning on doing Biglaw?


give the bump time, and read through the Military Law thread, we've posted a lot of useful information there.

I'm interning with the Army and the Judge Advocate General's Legal Center and School, so I'm around Army, Navy, Marine, Air Force, and Coast Guard JAG's everyday. All of them have husbands/wives and most have children. There are very few Captains however, and no LT's, almost everyone is an O-4 or higher.

With the Army you can usually stay in the same place 3-5 years depending on your assignment, or if the installation is large enough, do a 2-2, where you get two different jobs at one installation. You can also do this with the Navy. Another option in the Navy is to do 2-3 years in a location, and then try to get attached to a Carrier group based out of that location. At which point you would spend the next 2 years based out of that port, but would spend 6 months deployed at sea, and a few days or week here and there on ship.

As for deployments. Don't count on going to Iraq. Afghanistan however, you bet. If you go Army or Marine, you're gonna deploy, no way around it. The Navy doesn't make anyone deploy who really doesn't want to as a JAG. Their deployments are limited, as they are not a land based force, and often times those looking to stay in past 4 years and advance their career volunteer. And if you deploy, your family isn't coming with you.

Another quick note, deployments as a JAG aboard a ship are hard to come by, as everyone wants them, and nearly impossible to get in your first 4 years. You need to be a hot-shot JAG or know the right O-6 and above to land one of those gigs in your first 4 years.

If you're moving, your family moves too, unless you want to be away from them for a year or two years. That's part of the military life.

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dapoetic1
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Re: JAG with a family?

Postby dapoetic1 » Tue Jul 28, 2009 9:29 pm

juiced wrote:
dapoetic1 wrote: For some people they relish the experiences and the new adventures and the change in atmospheres. For some the constant moving is too much hardship. If you have a spouce with a great job but not a lot of flexibility then the military may be hard. Expect as an officer to move every 4 years, and possibly sooner like within 2 yrs of arriving on station.
.



Question: If I did want to stay long term as a JAG, how do my children go to school? Are they just transferred to different schools every couple years or are there schools on base or home school or what? Thanks :wink:

Oh, and also is there a preference for what schools to go to for JAG or are the rules for picking a school just the same as if you were planning on doing Biglaw?



I went to DoDD (Dept. of Defense Dependent School) and had also schools in the country where my father lived. I had some of the most incredible education ever. I learned German and attended a london Montessori prep school. I also went to school with other kids that had lived all over the world. It was fantastic.
Depending on your location sometimes having a school on the military instillation may be a better education than the local public school. But military kids don't miss out on anything in fact if anything they're exposed to much more

I have worked with two JAGs one went to Texas Wesleyan and one went to Wyoming. They both make the same amount of money as the ones that went to Top 10 schools. The military doesn't just look at where you school is ranked. They look at the whole person including grades, motivation, and compatibility with military service

Paichka wrote:Every time you are up for reassignment, you don't HAVE to move.

Unfortunately, this is not true for the AF. If you turn down an assignment you have to separate. Simple as that. Only enlisted members are allowed to turn down assignments (but I think I misread and I believe Paichka is referring to a PCA v PCS in which you are simply reassigned to a different unit on your same instillation (PCA) in that case that is the exact same in the AF. You just move to a differnt part of the base and it's usually for career broadening. Typically though on an AFB the JAG office is centrally located so if you're a JAG on that base that is the only place on that base you'll be stationed and when it's time to move you're moving off the base a PCS)

What you should be asking yourself is do you want to be in the military. Most of the JAGs I know that are currently still in the career field (because many have changed careers) aren't happy with the job because it doesn't allow them to have the same experience as their peers working in other govt work or law firms. They spend most time doing wills, power of attorney, and small disputes like tenant/land-lord. Many thought they would try a lot more cases in court but unfortunately didn't get that opportunity. But only a small portion of your day is being a JAG--you're a military officer FIRST!!! That means you're always preparing to deploy. That means endless computer based training, physical training, weapons training, and then more training on top of that. Are you prepared to deal with the parts of the job that aren't being a lawyer because ultimately that's what will determine how much you like being a JAG. Obviously with no prior military experience you have no basis of which to reference, but give considerable thought the fact that you will no longer be a civilian you're a military attorney with emphasis on military.
That being said it's not as difficult for officers to get assignments to their base of preference. The AF really does want to keep non-line officers (JAG, medical, dental, chaplain) happy by obliging them with their 1st choice of assignments. But again, every AFB in the world needs JAGs and somebody has to fill them. So you can get non-volunteered to any where there is a need.

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Paichka
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Re: JAG with a family?

Postby Paichka » Tue Jul 28, 2009 10:46 pm

Yes, I meant that when you are up for reassignment, you can occasionally work another assignment on the same post. You don't have to move posts, but you DO have to move jobs. :) This is why you need to make friends with and be nice to your branch manager.

In the Army, besides the trial defense and admin law sides, there are staff advocates. These guys work directly for a brigade commander, and basically advise him on everything from whether he can give a no-contact order or put his unit on dry status (he can, but it isn't enforceable) to whether the investigation that was completed on a missing weapon followed the standards laid out in the regulation. The JAGs I've known who were staff advocates usually enjoyed the job, as they had a ton of autonomy, and their word was law (punny, but true).

ArkansasFan
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Re: JAG with a family?

Postby ArkansasFan » Thu Jul 30, 2009 12:19 am

Excellent thread. A few questions, but first a little background that doesn't really matter.

I'm a "floating prelaw" guy in that I've considered law school for a decade now, but the only thing stopping me is that I've never known what to do post-JD. For the last couple of years JAG has been appealing due in a lot of respects to the military atmosphere and everything that goes along with that. Basically I'm at a point where I'm told if you apply you'll get in so just imagine that's true for the me and the questions below.

1. Would you recommend against going to law school solely to pursue JAG? I know the JAG acceptance numbers are low, and I'll likely go to either U. of Arkansas or U of A - Little Rock. Since the chance of acceptance into JAG is apparently so minimal is it worth pursuing?

2. The court room "stuff" is largely unappealing to me. It's not something I'd want a legal career centered around, and I only say that from my observation and experience in various levels of criminal court as a sworn officer. No, I've never had a bad witness incident, and it's not that I imagine myself detesting it. My own introspection says "that's not for me." Litigating is just unappealing to me, and I've mentioned that before on this board. Since it was brought up a few replies above this one, just how likely is it for a JAG officer to practice outside the typical litigating fields?

There's not really a USCG presence on the board, and that appeals to me mostly. I suppose that's due in part to the law enforcement and environmental missions of that branch of service although at this point that doesn't really matter.

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dapoetic1
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Re: JAG with a family?

Postby dapoetic1 » Thu Jul 30, 2009 12:32 am

ArkansasFan wrote:Excellent thread. A few questions, but first a little background that doesn't really matter.

1. Would you recommend against going to law school solely to pursue JAG? I know the JAG acceptance numbers are low, and I'll likely go to either U. of Arkansas or U of A - Little Rock. Since the chance of acceptance into JAG is apparently so minimal is it worth pursuing?


Nobody can really answer this for you. It's two very different questions. 1)Should you go to law school 2)Should you join the military. Both require time committments, both will take you on interesting life paths some good some not so good and both are incredibly personal decisions that you should definitely sit down and consider. Know the positives and negatives of both
ArkansasFan wrote:2. The court room "stuff" is largely unappealing to me. It's not something I'd want a legal career centered around, and I only say that from my observation and experience in various levels of criminal court as a sworn officer. No, I've never had a bad witness incident, and it's not that I imagine myself detesting it. My own introspection says "that's not for me." Litigating is just unappealing to me, and I've mentioned that before on this board. Since it was brought up a few replies above this one, just how likely is it for a JAG officer to practice outside the typical litigating fields?


Of all the JAGs I know the courtroom is not the place they know very well. There are some things that you're not allowed to do as a JAG because it's civil matters that the military member has to get a civilian attorney for. You can do some stuff in the courtroom but the typical job is taking care of very small matters. The most interesting thing I've seen a JAG do is write the "rules of war". Basically the Rules of Engagement in combat zones are written by lawyers and I spent some time with the JAGs during this process. So in this respect I guess you're ok.

ArkansasFan wrote:There's not really a USCG presence on the board, and that appeals to me mostly. I suppose that's due in part to the law enforcement and environmental missions of that branch of service although at this point that doesn't really matter.

USCG huh? Well...I'm not going to lie to you there's a certain kind of mystery around the Coasties. They're like para-military. The average coastie does some very interesting stuff just by virtue of their job. But I'm not sure how much different USCG Jag is from any other branch. Honestly, as an officer, and especially a JAG officer you probably want to think about the kind of missions you want to support. Essentially you're a mission support officer. The Army has a ground mission, the AF has an air mission, The Navy has a maritime mission and the USCG has---well I don't know what the heck they do :lol: I'm kidding they have a pivotal role in homeland security and port security.

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Yointer
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Re: JAG with a family?

Postby Yointer » Thu Jul 30, 2009 8:01 am

ArkansasFan wrote:1. Would you recommend against going to law school solely to pursue JAG? I know the JAG acceptance numbers are low, and I'll likely go to either U. of Arkansas or U of A - Little Rock. Since the chance of acceptance into JAG is apparently so minimal is it worth pursuing?


As dapoetic1 said, this is a question that warrants serious introspection on your part. JAG commissions are not easy to get and you might have to consider the possibility that you would go to law school only to never become a JAG. The most obvious way to avoid this is to get accepted to law school and then accept a JAG commission BEFORE you make your first tuition payment. I know of one person who did this for USMC JAG. I don't know for a fact that it is possible in USCG, but a recruiter would be able to tell you.

ArkansasFan wrote:2. The court room "stuff" is largely unappealing to me. It's not something I'd want a legal career centered around, and I only say that from my observation and experience in various levels of criminal court as a sworn officer. No, I've never had a bad witness incident, and it's not that I imagine myself detesting it. My own introspection says "that's not for me." Litigating is just unappealing to me, and I've mentioned that before on this board. Since it was brought up a few replies above this one, just how likely is it for a JAG officer to practice outside the typical litigating fields?


JAGs perform a variety of different functions, including litigation. This is partly dependent on your interests and partly on your assigned duty station. If you can't stomach the possibility of doing litigation work for a portion of your time in service, JAG probably won't work for you. On the other hand, the odds are against you spending all (or even most) of your time as a litigator. You should also note that some branches are more litigation-heavy than others. I know from my experience that the Marine Corps is far more likely to bring a case to trial than is the Navy. The Marines will litigate a general/special court marshall, while the Navy will settle for an administrative separation of the bad actor. I don't know much about USCG JAG, but I'd guess they would be more in the Navy mold.

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J-Rod
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Re: JAG with a family?

Postby J-Rod » Thu Jul 30, 2009 8:40 am

Yointer wrote:JAGs perform a variety of different functions, including litigation. This is partly dependent on your interests and partly on your assigned duty station. If you can't stomach the possibility of doing litigation work for a portion of your time in service, JAG probably won't work for you. On the other hand, the odds are against you spending all (or even most) of your time as a litigator. You should also note that some branches are more litigation-heavy than others. I know from my experience that the Marine Corps is far more likely to bring a case to trial than is the Navy. The Marines will litigate a general/special court marshall, while the Navy will settle for an administrative separation of the bad actor. I don't know much about USCG JAG, but I'd guess they would be more in the Navy mold.



The most litigation heavy branch, long term is the Navy. They have farmed out a lot of their civil practice to civillian attorneys who work for the Navy, so their JAG's focus on command advising, ROL, ROE, etc. and litigation. They actually just started a special program where those who do well early on in litigation can choose to specialize in it with the JAG.

In the Army you will do a lot of litigation. You will probably do the least amount of it in the AF and CG. There is a Coastie in the office next to me, and he said he didn't do a whole lot of it.

ArkansasFan
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Re: JAG with a family?

Postby ArkansasFan » Thu Jul 30, 2009 1:32 pm

Guys, thanks for the detailed replies. I appreciate that a lot.

On a tangent, how did all of you decide that law school was the appropriate choice for your career path?

Would you enjoy practicing law outside of the military?


I honestly wish I weren't interested in law as the choice would then be easy - don't go. However, from the outside looking in I can't determine what I would want to do once I'm finished. How can anyone do that really with three years of life evolution transpiring during your legal education? Did any of you know?

bahama
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Re: JAG with a family?

Postby bahama » Fri Jul 31, 2009 12:06 am

I've spent 10 years in the Navy and have a family member who spent 24 years as an AF JAG, so based on that here are some thoughts which will hopefully be useful to the folks considering JAG.

- Most officers I know live off base. Most with a family rent or own a house or townhouse near where they are stationed. Their kids go to the neighborhood school or to a private school. Some people lead a very military focused lifestyle, with most of their friends in military families and their activities focused around the base. Other people you would never know were military if you didn't see them at work. People (including myself) have perfectly normal family lives despite the time away from home.

- My relative lived 8 different places (one out of the US) in 24 yrs as a JAG. He also deployed to places liek Saudi Arabia and Korea (without family) for weeks or months at a time. His career included prosecution, claims work, international work, advising commanders, and managing multiple JAG offices and all their cases. The longest they lived one place was 4 years, the shortest 1 year. As you get more senior there are less jobs available when you are up for orders so you have less control over where you go. This means sometimes you'll go some place you don't really want or you may have to move at an inconvenient time for your family, such as when you have a kid in the middle of high school. I've moved 5 times in 10 years and deployed overseas 4 times.

- Our nation is at war. You are going to serve overseas at some point. Not everyone goes to Iraq or Afghanistan, but you need to realize you might go and you will not have a lot of say in when or where you go. You need to be okay with that before you decide to join. Also realize you may not always get to live where you want and you may have to move at an inconvenient time or take a job that isn't your top choice.

3milesup
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Joined: Fri Jun 12, 2009 5:15 pm

Re: JAG with a family?

Postby 3milesup » Wed Aug 12, 2009 4:31 pm

Paichka wrote:
juiced wrote:About the moving: how often is it? For a typical 4 year time frame how often can they move you?
How does the time away from family work? Is there really any or do they always go with you?
What are the chances of you being sent to some god aweful place like Iraq or Afghanistan?

Thanks!!!


I'm an Army officer (5.5 years), as is my husband. I'm in the Funded Legal Education Program, which means when I graduate from law school I'll be an Army JAG.

In the Army, you are eligible to move posts after 2 years. You are required to have 2 years of "time on station" before HRC (human resources command) will consider you for another job elsewhere. I have been on Fort Stewart for my entire career thus far, and I know several people who have not moved in a good long while. So anywhere from 2 to 5 years in any one place.

For a typical 4 year commitment, you will probably not move if you are stateside. If you spend your first 12-18 months in Korea, you will move at least once. My husband spent his first year in Korea, and has been at Fort Stewart since then. I have only been assigned to Fort Stewart.

If you are assigned stateside (what is called a CONUS assignment) your family will always accompany you (if they want to). If you are assigned OCONUS, to Hawaii or Germany, your family will accompany you (again, if they want to). It used to be that Korea was an unaccompanied tour, but now you can bring them with you if you like.

If you are not deployed, the Army allows you to spend a ton of time with your family. You get weekends and all federal holidays, so it's actually a pretty sweet gig. Now, when you are ramping up to deploy, you may occasionally have to work weekends, but they try very hard to give you that time back.

As for your chances to go to Iraq or Afghanistan...it really depends. Your chances of going to Iraq are probably nil at this point -- we are drawing down, and 2-3 years from now I very much doubt we're going to have much of a presence there at all. Afghanistan is more of a gamble. As a JAG, you will work in one of two places (as a junior captain): 1) you will be a Brigade Judge Advocate, or 2) you will work at Trial Defense Services or in the admin law section at Division. There are no JAG officers at lower echelons. What this means practically is that you will pretty much always be on a large base, colocated with either your Brigade headquarters or a Division headquarters. The bases you will be assigned to will be fairly large and secure, and USUALLY will have lots of amenities like large post exchanges, gyms, dining facilities, internet, etc. I can talk more about Iraq, as I've been there twice, but I have never been to Afghanistan.

(From what I've heard from my friends who've been there -- Afghanistan is pretty f-ing god awful. Iraq is not bad, overall.)

I am not sure how the Navy works, but I imagine that you have a chance of being assigned to a ship, in which case your family can't come with you. Someone else can probably answer that question. The Air Force and marine experiences are similar to the Army's, except the Air Force has nicer bases, and the marines go to shittier locales when they deploy.


Is it possible to get deployed as a 1st tour of duty in the Army? I actually want to get deployed to Afghanistan. My thought is afterward, I would seek an assignment doing prosecution. My wife is in NYC. If I deployed, she could still live there and upon my return from deployment, she could then move with me near the base. Would you think this is a realistic plan?

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casper13
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Re: JAG with a family?

Postby casper13 » Wed Aug 12, 2009 5:53 pm

3milesup wrote:Is it possible to get deployed as a 1st tour of duty in the Army? I actually want to get deployed to Afghanistan. My thought is afterward, I would seek an assignment doing prosecution. My wife is in NYC. If I deployed, she could still live there and upon my return from deployment, she could then move with me near the base. Would you think this is a realistic plan?



Be careful what you ask for cause you can get it and you wont like it at all. It is possible to get deployed upon arriving, it happens all the time. But as far as tour of duty no you will get assigned to a base and if the unit you are assigned to is getting deployed well you are in the chute son, if not then count your blessings.

And to qualify my observations I have been in Army for 13 years now. 7 more to go feels like forever




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