A military lawyer is a lawyer who represents military personnel in legal matters. Military lawyers can be either civilian or military, but most are civilian. They work in all military branches, including the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard.
So how to become a lawyer in the military?
Let’s be with GuardYourHealth to learn more useful information.
What Is A Military Lawyer?
Let’s take a closer look at what it takes to become a military lawyer before getting into the specific stages involved. Military attorneys are another name for military lawyers.
In essence, a military lawyer and a civilian lawyer are very similar. In military tribunals, you will speak for your client and “fight” for him or her. It is feasible to work in any military branch (The Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard).
You can choose to work as a JAG (Judge Advocate General) and represent clients in military courts if you are a military attorney. Upon becoming a military attorney, you can receive calls from service members seeking legal counsel and representation.
The duties of a military lawyer also include providing legal counsel and assistance on matters ranging from trial planning to post-trial proceedings. A military lawyer must be knowledgeable in various legal topics related to operations, the environment, international law, and military and civilian personnel issues.
Military attorneys may argue matters before the Court of Military Review or the Court of Military Appeals, assist witnesses at hearings, offer expert legal counsel, produce legal papers for litigation, and interpret court rules, rulings, and opinions, among other things.
Additional military-specific tasks consist of:
- Making military manuals
- Instructing commanders
- Appealing court-martial decisions
- Representing military service members at hearings for discharge.
Military lawyers often handle three types of cases: court-martials, landlord-tenant issues, and violations against the law.
Military attorneys make an average of $72,225 per year, with the top attorneys earning up to $122,000. You will be eligible for additional financial perks, such as housing allowances and a base salary.
Housing and healthcare are provided without charge if you choose to reside on base. Even loan forgiveness programs for public service and student loans can be available to you. Thus, there is no doubt that it is fulfilling work.
To become an Army lawyer, you must fulfill certain educational criteria and amass the necessary qualifications, almost like a military law degree, just like for any other position in the military or the civilian world. After that, let’s discuss the steps required to become a JAG or lawyer in the Army.
How To Become A Military Lawyer?
Step 1: Be A Qualified Applicant
You must be an American citizen to qualify as an applicant. Then, you must complete a security check, which looks into your past, particularly regarding finances, health, and drug usage. Additionally, you must meet the physical fitness standards for your chosen military branch. Finally, confirm that you are of legal age: 42.
Step 2: Obtain A Bachelor’s Degree.
You must earn a Bachelor’s degree before enrolling in law school. Although there are no set criteria for majors or classes, most aspiring military lawyers choose a degree in the liberal arts, which provides a strong educational foundation. Given the diversity of languages used in the military environment, a focus on foreign languages is very appealing.
Note: You might want to look into college ROTC programs that can help you with funds and motivation. Otherwise, any colleges in the United States that are approved by the Department of Education should be OK.
Step 3: Visit the Officer Candidate School
You should enroll in OCS, an academy that prepares future military leaders, after graduating. Although you can enroll in OCS after law school, it is more typical to complete OCS first in order to develop the skills necessary for success in law school. You can join the military as a commissioned officer once OCS is complete.
Step 4: Pass the LSAT Test
The LSAT is the pre-entrance test in question (Law School Aptitude Test). It is a 175-minute exam with five multiple-choice sections. There will also be a writing section, questions on analytical and logical reasoning, and reading comprehension.
Although the writing portion is not graded, the institutions you apply to will receive it.
The LSAT is administered many times a year at various places across the country, just like the SAT.
Even though the exam is really essential, it is not at all simple. You must put in time and effort into your test preparation. Online resources for test preparation, such as practice tests, are available for free or for purchase.
Step 5: Finish Your Legal Education
By enrolling in additional specialty courses that can give you a competitive edge, complete your education. For instance, graduate law programs and summer internships.
The Air Force offers a graduate legal degree, the Navy has a JAG Corps program for students, and the Army offers summer internship opportunities.
Then enroll in and graduate from an ABA-approved law school. In any of the 50 states in the United States, this will “ensure” your spot in the bar test.
Finally, complete a professional responsibility course to understand the legal profession’s ethics thoroughly. In general, you will be learning about the evolution of legal ethics and how to use it in your legal practice.
Step 6: Pass the Bar Exam
The exam must be studied for, and you must sign up to take it. It’s better to take it in the jurisdiction where you studied law. Most likely, this exam will last two to three days. Typically, it will comprise
Multistate Professional Responsibility: A two-hour test with 60 questions covering the ethics standards of the legal profession.
Multistate Bar Examination: A six-hour test with 600 questions covering test torts, property law, contracts, and civil procedure.
Assessment of analytical abilities utilizing a legal fact pattern in the Multistate Performance Test.
Multistate Essay Exam: A collection of essays covering various legal topics in a length of 30 minutes.
There can be essay assessments with state-specific questions, depending on where you take the test.
Note: Results are typically accessible 10 weeks after the test date.
Step 7: Submit A State Bar Application
When applying, make sure you are at least 18 years old. You will need to pass a security clearance, which verifies your references and background, similar to the phase at the beginning. You will have to provide details regarding your criminal history, credit score, tax history, etc.
You can explain if your profile contains any “red flags.” Additionally, you must provide your fingerprints and pay the $300–$500 registration fees.
Step 8: Attend A State Swearing-in Ceremony
You must do this in order to take the oath required of new attorneys. An official will have to administer to you. You will also be required to fill out paperwork.
Step 9: Join the JAG Corps
Getting accepted into the JAG Corps takes a lot of work, so you must go through a rigorous application procedure. Typical components of an application package include academic transcripts, recommendations, a personal statement and cover letter, LSAT results, etc. Additionally, you must succeed in an interview.
After being approved, you can choose a military branch to join. Complete the enlistment process next. This depends on the branch that you selected. You must thus speak with recruiters in person or reach out to them online, perhaps through the branch’s website.
The fact that the application dates for each branch vary is something you should be aware of.
- Once a year, the Army and Navy accept applications.
- Twice a year, the Coast Guard accepts applicants.
- Three times a year, the Air Force accepts applications.
Step 10: Begin Your Training and Report For Duty
Advancement into training and the start of active-duty service represent the last steps. A military commitment typically lasts four years. You can then choose whether to leave or re-enlist.
Examples of Cases for Military Lawyers
Although similar to a civilian court, a military court has some differences. Consequently, the cases in which a military attorney is involved may vary. Several instances are:
Offenses: Military regulations list several offenses that service members may be accused of. While common criminal acts, including murder and theft, are handled by civil courts, the military also has jurisdiction over particular offenses that members of the armed services only commit. These transgressions include insubordination, battle murder, and desertion.
Court-Martial: A Court-Martial is one of the most common outcomes of any criminal case involving military members. A court-martial will probably happen if someone is found guilty of a crime. A military attorney may represent the offending party or the military branch they are serving.
Tenant-landlord disputes: A lot of moving around characterizes military life. As a result, it is typical for members of the armed forces to require the services of an attorney in a landlord-tenant dispute. While they do not defend clients in cases involving other civil matters like divorce or child custody, military attorneys will stand up for a military client in a landlord-tenant dispute.
FAQs About Military Law Careers
1. What Are The Duties Of A Military Lawyer?
Military lawyers provide legal advice and support to military personnel and their families. They also represent military personnel in court proceedings.
2. What Are The Benefits of Becoming A Military Lawyer?
Military lawyers enjoy various benefits, including a competitive salary, excellent job security, and the opportunity to serve their country.
3. What Are The Drawbacks of Becoming A Military Lawyer?
Military lawyers may be deployed to combat zones, which can be dangerous. They may also be away from their families.