Job Title: U.S. Army Judge Advocate
Type of Company: The United States Army.
Education: BA, Political Science, University of Connecticut JD, Quinnipiac University (Hamden, CT)
Previous Experience: Prior to law school, I worked as a full-time labor and employment law clerk/paralegal for a medium-sized business law firm in Hartford. During law school, I worked in various legal positions at various locations, including ESPN, the Connecticut Appellate Court, and the U.S. Attorney's Office in Bridgeport, Connecticut.
Job Tasks: I'm a U.S. Army Judge Advocate, which means I'm an Army officer with a law degree. I have many of the same duties and responsibilities that other Army officers have, including the duty to remain physically fit, qualify on my assigned weapon, and serve wherever the needs of the Army require, including combat zones such as Iraq and Afghanistan. Since becoming a Judge Advocate 5 years ago, I've had several different legal assignments in Germany and Iraq. My assignments have exposed me to a wide range of legal issues and all ranks of the military services, members of other U.S. Government agencies such as the U.S. Departments of State and Justice, members of international organizations, and members of foreign governments. For example, I've given legal advice to the lowest ranking soldiers on family law and tax matters, and I've advised generals and U.S. State Department officials on strengthening the rule of law in Iraq. My current legal obligations center on the criminal prosecution of U.S. Soldiers in Germany who violate the Uniform Code of Military Justice (the Army's laws).
Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best parts of my job are the challenging work, varied assignments, camaraderie, opportunity to serve my country, and travel. No other legal career can offer you the same experiences.
The worst part of my job is that it sometimes requires significant personal sacrifices and time away from family and friends. Overall, however, the best parts of the job vastly outweigh the worst.
1. Visit http://www.law.goarmy.com/jag/index.jsp
2. Consider participating in the U.S. Army's Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC), through which the Army will pay your college tuition in exchange for your commitment to 4 years of active duty service. Contact your guidance or career counselor, and visit http://www.goarmy.com/rotc/ for more information.
3. Consider an undergraduate degree in political science, international relations, or history.
4. Seek leadership positions at work and in your academic and extracurricular activities
5. Participate in athletic activities and stay fit (run, run, run).
6. Talk to other Judge Advocates about their experiences.
7. Consider the other military services: Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard. They all have lawyers and each offers unique benefits/opportunities.
8. Work hard and never quit.
Additional Thoughts: If you have any questions about being a Judge Advocate, I'd be glad to try and answer them: firstname.lastname@example.org
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