How to Become a Lawyer in the Military


A lot of lawyers go to law school hoping to make a difference in the world. Some of them become criminal defense attorneys, others go for personal injury or immigrant law. There are so many types of lawyers out there that you have a great pool to make your pick from – but one path that not a lot of law students know of is that of military law.

Why Become a Military Lawyer?

Aside from the satisfaction and pride of supporting the army, there are several benefits to becoming a military lawyer. Indeed, you’ll have to take extra courses in order to properly represent the military, but you’ll also receive many benefits. 

The pay as a JAG is quite competitive, and it is also an area of law that allows you to gain a bit of experience. As an attorney, you will commission as a lieutenant and you may get a promotion within your first 6-12 months. You will also be able to get a full retirement before you hit 50, just like most people from the military.

What Does a Military Lawyer Do?

In terms of their day-to-day duties, military lawyers don’t have a different job as compared to civilian lawyers. For example, if a Springfield personal injury attorney decides that they had enough with dealing with civilians and car accidents, they may just apply for being a lawyer in the military with the knowledge that they currently have. 

The primary difference between the two jobs is their representing clientele. As a military attorney, you will work exclusively with military personnel, representing them in both criminal and civil cases. 

As a military lawyer, you need to pick a branch of the military – each branch having Judge Advocate Generals (JAGs, for short). In the event that they need legal assistance, military personnel can call upon these JAGs.

As a JAG, you will have to go through the same educational process as a regular lawyer – like a personal injury lawyer, so to speak. However, you must be acquainted with both general law and military law. 

How Does One Join as a JAG

As an attorney for the military service, you’ll have five service branches to pick from: Navy, Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, and Marine Corps. All of these branches will have a couple of JAGs. Since there aren’t many positions for this, the competition is very high. However, a young lawyer that wants an exciting career should consider applying for this.

Someone may become a JAG after joining the military, or they may join the military after completing the JAG requirements. In order to become a JAG lawyer, you will be required to complete an undergraduate degree and pass your LSAT (Law School Admissions Test). You will also have to finish law school and earn your Juris Doctor law degree. 

The Bottom Line

Joining the military as an attorney can come with some challenges, but the numbers say that it’s worth it. Not only will you have the satisfaction, but you will also have benefits – and all you need is to pass your BAR exam and apply. 

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