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Career Story: US Army Lawyer

US Army Lawyer

Job Title: Attorney

Type of Company: Legal support to Department of the Army.

Education: BA, Rhodes College •• JD, Memphis State University

Previous Experience: I passed the bar and was licensed as an attorney in 1984 and joined the Judge Adjutant General's Corps a year later.

Job Tasks: I've spent nineteen years on active duty with the Army, during ten of which I served as an administrative law attorney in Heidelberg, Germany and Atlanta and Augusta, GA. I spent the past year working at Trial Defense Service headquarters and the six years prior to that as a Drilling Individual Military Augmentee (DIMA) assigned to the Fort Gordon OSJA and 35th Signal Brigade. In this last capacity I prepared hundreds of legal opinions; reviewed Inspector General (IG) and other internal investigations for legal sufficiency; researched and authored complex policy memoranda; performed factual and legal analysis of statutes, judicial and administrative opinions and policies; drafted proposed regulatory changes; supervised ongoing investigations; conducted client and witness interviews; amassed evidence; prepared correspondence; and provided advice and opinions to countless personnel involved in military cases.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of my job is the service to my country it entails, but I am heartened too by the ability it affords me to practice law without the burden of accounting for my billable hours.

The worst part of my job is having to deal with some of the military bureaucracy and Army routines (physical training, uniforms, etc.) that serve as constant reminders that I am not a civilian lawyer. But that's a small price to pay, even so.

Job Tips:
1.) Be prepared to make personal sacrifices. The rewards and challenges will be worth it.

2.) Strive to get into good physical shape BEFORE you sign up.

3.) Don't forget that you are working for the American people.

4.) Learn and expect to live by the Army Creed: L-D-R-S-H-I-P - Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless service, Honor, Integrity and Personal courage.

Additional Thoughts: I am surprised sometimes that I've stayed in the Army so long. I expected to have a four or five year career and then go into the Reserves. But here I am, over twenty-four combined years later. It's been a good career, some heartbreaks along the way, but basically a very rewarding one both personally and professionally. Sometimes I regret that I did not expend more effort to get promoted, but at the same time I feel lucky to have made it to my current rank. In addition, I've had several very satisfying years of private practice which I really enjoyed. So it was worth it in the end.

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