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mdavis

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Military after Law School
« on: July 31, 2007, 01:31:26 PM »
What are the best options for military service after law school?

I'm sure JAG core is one.  What are the others?

Do you get a better signing bonus with a law degree?

What about being an officer?

CoxlessPair

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Re: Military after Law School
« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2007, 02:40:47 PM »
It is "Corps" and not "Core."

HTH.
Air Force JAG Corps

kernelgt

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Re: Military after Law School
« Reply #2 on: September 13, 2007, 11:02:59 PM »
all military lawyers are officers (or are civilians, contracted to work for the army as lawyers on non-military law issues).  good luck with a bonus...it's a competitive process and the military gives bonuses to fill slots where it has shortcomings. 


CoxlessPair

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Re: Military after Law School
« Reply #3 on: October 01, 2007, 12:24:18 PM »
I believe Navy JAG (which also includes the Marine Corp) is the most competitive. Then Army. Then Air Force. As a Navy JAG fresh out of law school, you start off as a Lieutenant Junior Grade, which is a commissioned officer. The salary ranges from $50,000 to $60,000 depending on where you accept your commission and where you're stationed (they adjust for cost of living). Also, when you are promoted in rank, your salary will increase accordingly. The only "bonuses" that you get as a law school graduate are the same loan deferment and repayment assistance benefits that all the other enlistees get. In other words, your law degree doesn't give you much leverage in getting a signing bonus.

The Marine Corps falls under command of the Department of the Navy but there is a clear distinction between USN JAG and USMC JAG. You are either a lawyer for the Navy or the Marines.

From my experiences this summer and with other military, Air Force and Navy appear to be the most competitive. Navy is a bit tricky in that they have farmed out all of their civil law work, so there may simply be far less demand.
With how many marines and soldiers that are overseas, there is a huge demand for more JAGs on the USMC and USA side. I would guess that Army would be far and away the least selective of the JAG elements but with how distinctive each service branch is, it may just be a matter of self-selection.

Also consider how long deployments last. Army JAGs will be sitting on a 12-16 months deployed. Air Force is only 3-4. Navy appears to be 6.

Everything else from the previous post is accurate. It is worth noting that only your Basic Pay (which is standard based on your grade and years spent in service) is taxed. Your housing and food allowances are tax free. That can be anywhere from 14K-20K, and having that untouched by taxes is actually a ton of money. Health care is free, workout facilities are free, etc.
Air Force JAG Corps

dannysong

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Re: Military after Law School
« Reply #4 on: March 31, 2011, 06:43:06 AM »
I think all military boarding schools are good, its just a matter of how you're going to absorb it. But first you need to consider your grades. Scores for the ACT and SATs are important in getting admitted into a military academy. Prepare and practice for them in order to get an above average score and increase your chances of getting into a military academy.

FalconJimmy

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Re: Military after Law School
« Reply #5 on: March 31, 2011, 08:29:56 AM »
What are the best options for military service after law school?

If you want to be an attorney in the military, your only real option is JAG. 

The other option would be some sort of logistics officer and do defense contracting (the "buy a $600 hammer" guys).  You don't need to be an attorney to do that, but a law background wouldn't hurt.  You can also get a job with the DOD as a civilian to do this.

You could also decide you want a multi-year vacation from the law and go fly jets or get your grunt on in the infantry.  I once knew a Notre Dame law grad who enlisted in military intelligence to get student loan forgiveness.  He didn't last long.  Pursued a JAG commission once he realized what enlisted life was like.

As far as I know, you can be an Army JAG as either a member of the reserves or national guard. 

Navy Reserve, I know they don't bring in civilian attorneys for commissioned duty as reserve JAGs, generally.  (No direct commission program for JAG in the Navy.)

Right now, competition for JAG positions is pretty fierce.  I wouldn't rank it anywhere near biglaw, but it's probably on par with trying to get a position with the federal government as an attorney.

For example:  "The Navy received 923 applications for the 2009 fiscal year, Goldsmith said, and accepted about 75. Slightly more than 8% of the applicants made the cut"

http://www.law.com/jsp/nlj/PubArticleNLJ.jsp?id=1202431259048&slreturn=1&hbxlogin=1

As far as I know, there are no signing bonuses for JAG.  I think the Marines were the last to offer one, but with civilian sector hiring soft, and patriotism high, the military (all branches) is having no difficulty finding people.

Also, joining either the Air Force or Navy is no guarantee of a short combat tour.  When the Army is short of people, they can tap other services for what's called an "Individual Augmentation" tour, meaning you get issued Army uniforms, do Army duty, and deploy for the Army length of time (a year +).  The only difference is that your service tape says "US Navy" instead of "US Army".

http://www.stripes.com/news/sailors-learn-army-basics-to-prep-for-downrange-deployment-1.47174

One last word of warning during a time of two wars.  Chaplains, medics and doctors don't have to engage in combat.  (They may be IN combat, but they are not doing the fighting.)  In fact, if they do, they jeopardize their status.  (This is why the Marines don't have any.  All Marines are expeditionary combat resources.  So, the Marines get their chaplains and medical personnel from the Navy.)

Everybody else, and that means EVERYBODY is expected to be combat-ready and willing to put a bullet in the forehead of the enemy if the situation calls for it.  There are no passengers on convoys.  If you're ambushed moving from point A to point B, you are expected to pick up a weapon and start killing the bad guys and breaking their stuff.  As an officer, you are REQUIRED, not expected, to assume command in these situations if you are senior. 

If the idea of killing somebody or leading other young people to kill and be killed isn't something you want to deal with, then this is not the deal for you.

As for pay, frankly, military pay and benefits are exceptionally good these days.  Nowhere near biglaw, but if I had to WAG, I'd say that 60% of lawyers won't do as well as military officers.  After you make O-3 (I believe that happens after 2 years for most JAGs), you're basically making $80,000 a year, with continued upward potential.  After 20 years, you can retire with a 50% retirement.  After 30 years, you can retire with 75%.  If you're in for 30, you'll probably be an O-6, at a minimum.  So, the pay is substantial, and the retirement is considerable.

You can get an idea of military pay, here:

http://www.dfas.mil/militarypay/militarypaytables.html

Keep in mind that in addition to base pay, you also get a housing allowance and meal allowance.

Best of luck. 

Morten Lund

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Re: Military after Law School
« Reply #6 on: March 31, 2011, 04:03:05 PM »
It is "Corps" and not "Core."

HTH.

Unless you talking about the USMC, of course, in which case "Marine Core Soldier" is the correct appellation.

FalconJimmy

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Re: Military after Law School
« Reply #7 on: March 31, 2011, 05:10:51 PM »
Unless you talking about the USMC, of course, in which case "Marine Core Soldier" is the correct appellation.

I'm not sure if this is supposed to be a joke that I'm not understanding, but the "correct appellation" would simply be "marine".  The Marine Corps is spelled "corps" not "core".  Marines prefer not to be referred to as "soldiers", since that is typically used to describe a person in the Army.  They prefer to be called "marines".  Although the term "soldier" is correct in a very generic sense, one could also argue that Air Force or Navy pilots are also "soldiers", but are soldiers who take the field with very advanced weaponry that allows them to fly.

Morten Lund

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Re: Military after Law School
« Reply #8 on: March 31, 2011, 05:32:50 PM »
I'm not sure if this is supposed to be a joke

Indeed it is.  Apparently I hang out on the internets too much.

FalconJimmy

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Re: Military after Law School
« Reply #9 on: March 31, 2011, 05:38:12 PM »
Indeed it is.  Apparently I hang out on the internets too much.

Oh, sorry.  My bad for not understanding the joke.  :)