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  • Road to Becoming a JAG officer

    I recently joined the Army NG and ROTC and I'm fired up about the whole thing. I'm studying Political Science at my university and hope to go onto law school, and ultimately, join the Army JAG.

    Just as a question to more experienced soldiers out there, what are some recommendations you could give me to get going on the right track? I know that JAG isn't a directly commissionable position, so what commission should I take out of ROTC to get the best preparation? How plausible/hard is it to get into the War College law program, as I'd like to do that rather than going to a civilian law school?

    PFC Bendure

  • #2
    Your ROTC branch has no relevance to your JAG appointment, so just ask for whatever you want.

    I'm not sure what law program you reference, but my spider sense tells me that you may have discovered a course at the War College (which is the preparatory school for colonels and generals) which is a standalone module, and is not a program that grants the JD degree.


    • #3
      JAG IS a direct commission, unless you go through ROTC while in Law School, whereas you can some way guarantee you branch in the JAG Corps.

      Once you get your branch after ROTC, you have to resign your commission in whichever branch you are in in order to receive a JAG Commission. Remember that JAG is a special branch, in which you need a special degree to be a part of that branch.

      Also, for JAGs you have to be admitted to the Bar of any state, territory, DC or Puerto Rico. So, you still need to go to a "regular" civilian law school, get your law degree, pass the bar, and then get admitted to the JAG.

      The process is quite exhaustive, it takes more or less like a year, if your in the NG, Regular Army and Reserves go to accession boards, twice a year, NG, there is no specific date for the accession board, then you have to have a Federal Recognition board, and THEN, be sworn in as a JAG officer, like I said before, if have an ROTC commission, you still have to resign to that commission.

      The benefit is that if you get commissioned by ROTC and then get a DA as a JAG, your Commissioned time will count towards appointment grade. You get three years of commission time for law school, so that's the reason why you get DA as a 1LT and not a 2LT.

      As MAJ Ritchie mentioned, War College is a "is the preparatory school for colonels and generals"

      Visit: [url][/url] for more information on JAGs, appointments and education.

      GOOD LUCK.
      Last edited by Javier Lopez; June 18th, 2008, 09:57 PM.


      • #4
        Doing at bit more poking around, it looks like I was thinking of The Judge Advocate General's Legal Center and School (TJAGLCS, say that 5 times fast) and got it confused with the War College. It is ABA accredited, but it [I]looks[/I] like you need a civilian law degree before you go.

        But an interesting thing that I found is there is a scholarship that the Army JAG corps awards to 25 officers to go to law school. The Funded Legal Education Program (FLEP) seem very competitive though, on 25 scholarships are awarded annually, to 0-1 through 0-3 officers whom have had 2 to 6 years of service as officers. But this is only for active duty. Just putting that out there for others.

        They do offer ROTC while youíre in law school, like you said Lopez. Seeing as your going through the application process right now, is there anything I can do to make myself more "attractive" for recruitment when I apply. I'm a junior right now working on my bachelorís. What's your opinion on the summer intern program [URL=""][/URL]?

        Thanks again.


        • #5

          The JAG school does offer and accredited degree program, but it for a LLM degree (i.e. a Master's of Law degree). The LLM is awarded to lawyers who already have their Juris Doctor (regular law degree) from a civilian institution. The "Graduate Course", as it's referred to, is composed of senior Captains and Majors who typcially have between six and eight years service as a Judge Advocate.

          In general, the JAG Corps is looking for well rounded individuals. Although it is extremely important to make good grades both in college and law school, they want people who have been involved in other activities too - sports, clubs, student government, etc. You should think of it in terms of "how do I make myself different from every other applicant who's submitted a packet."


          • #6

            You have to take into consideration that the unit you are interested in has that PARA-LINE available, and that there is a slot for you as a JAG.

            As WJH said, "You should think of it in terms of "how do I make myself different from every other applicant who's submitted a packet". Good grades, good, not good, a great motivational statement, start looking forward as to who can give you interesting letters of recommendation, consider war veterans with personal awards, (i.e. Silver Star, Bronze Star, CIB, CAB); that will vouch for you and express that they are willing to serve next to you and for you; extracurricular activities; before and during law school, student body; leadership positions, what experiences you bring to the JAG Corps.,(i.e. prior service, legal experience, clerkships, work before and during law school if any) etc.

            If interested, there is a Army JAG group in Facebook, where you can get first hand information from Active, Reserve and NG JAGs, etc. It is a closed group for JAGs, future JAGs and people interested in the JAG Corp. You have to apply and they'll let you know. It is pretty good, well it's FB.

            Just make sure you are able to prepare a top notch packet. Take into consideration that your Adjutant General has to sign of it, and if he doesn't think you are a good candidate, it won't even reach NGB.

            Make sure you'll look good in that uniform, you have to be able to play the part. The ARMY includes your picture in the packet, so the DO see who's the applicant.

            Also, coming from within the service will give you other experiences and advantages from that of a civilian attorney applying without any military experience.

            It must be a good packet. And take into consideration that you might be competing with some other attorneys from your state, or you might be going in alone, but never the less you MUST impress you TAG, the NGB and TJAG.

            Very important, PROTECT YOUR CREDIT during school. Bad credit might come back and bite you, and they can deny your security clearance. No SC no commission.
            Last edited by Javier Lopez; May 8th, 2008, 05:44 PM.