Law school opportunity opens for military officers
August 4, 2010
CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE SPEICHER, Iraq Aca,!" For Soldiers interested in expanding their legal careers both in and out of the military, the Office of the Judge Advocate General is now accepting applications for the ArmyAca,!a,,cs Funded Legal Education Program.
Under the FLEP program, the Army can send up to 25 active-duty officers, from second lieutenant to captain, to law school.
The officers must have accumulated between two to six active-duty service years of total federal service by the beginning of the legal training. Interested officers can review Chapter 14, AR 27-1 (The Judge AdvocateAca,!a,,cs General Funded Legal Education Program) to determine their eligibility.
Aca,!A"We have a lot of officers who perhaps had a political science degree or some sort of undergraduate legal training,Aca,!A? said Col. Jonathan Guden, the staff judge advocate for the 3rd Infantry Division.
Aca,!A"For those individuals, itAca,!a,,cs a great opportunity for them to get their law degree, [and] continue to serve in the U.S. Army.
Regardless of their undergraduate degree, itAca,!a,,cs a great opportunity to switch branches and experience life as a judge advocate, practicing law in the military.Aca,!A?
Officers who are eligible and are interested in applying for the program must take the Law School Admission Test, or LSAT, a standardized placement test for law school.
Officers must then submit the results of the test with their application packet through command channels, along with their undergraduate transcripts.
Officers must also conduct an interview with their servicing SJA.
Upon acceptance, officers will attend law school at either a school in their state of residence, or a school that grants in-state tuition to military personnel.
Aca,!A"ItAca,!a,,cs a highly competitive program,Aca,!A? said Col. Guden, a Chippewa Falls, Wis., native. Aca,!A"When an officer is selected for the FLEP, he or she will go to law school, typically where they can get in-state tuition, and that will be their job for three years.Aca,!A?
The law school experience doesnAca,!a,,ct end after school is out for the summer.
Through this program, officers will also have the chance to get real world, on-the-job training by serving in a military legal office during their summer break.
Aca,!A"I think itAca,!a,,cs a great program, because it really does allow you to practice law and serve in the military at the same time,Aca,!A? said Lt. Col. John Frost, the deputy staff judge advocate with 3rd ID.
Frost, an East Lansing, Mich., native, attended the University of Maine School of Law under the FLEP and said his experiences in military law have been very diverse as opposed to the career path of a civilian lawyer.
Besides working in stereotypical areas of practice like trying cases for the government or defense at courts martial, judge advocate generals also work as legal advisers for commanders at all levels.
Aca,!A"The military area of legal practice is expansive, and that is of great value to lawyers, even just out of law school,Aca,!A? he continued.
Aca,!A"A typical lawyer in a law firm might spend 30 to 40 years looking at contracts or at one particular niche area of practice, whereas we have an expansive area of practice... WeAca,!a,,cre advising Soldiers in areas of legal assistance; and command in administrative, fiscal, contract, operational, criminal and military justice law matters.Aca,!A?
The JAG Corps is looking for people who have a desire to serve in the military and to practice law.
If interested in the program, officers have until Nov. 1 to submit their applications through their chains of command and contact the SJA for an initial interview.