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If you want to distinguish your career in law by changing the world, start with America’s Navy. From assisting Sailors with wills and powers of attorney, to negotiating international agreements, the Navy offers world-influencing career possibilities for law school graduates, as well as positions that earn college credit for those interested in the legal profession.
There are two legal career paths:
The Judge Advocate General's (JAG) Corps
The JAG Corps is ideal for young lawyers looking to expand their career opportunities and gain hands-on legal experience. Officers are allowed to litigate cases soon after reporting for duty and are required to practice in several fields, which gives them a wider range of experience and a higher level of responsibility than their civilian sector counterparts.
As a member of the JAG Corps, you will encounter opportunities and experiences far beyond those you would expect from an ordinary law firm. Specific areas of practice include:
As a Legalman with America’s Navy, you have the opportunity to make a difference to your nation and the world, with responsibilities that may include:
In this profession, you’ll find opportunities to work around the globe. Depending on your role, you may spend time in an office environment, on a ship, or visiting bases and other installations both foreign and domestic.
Note: Currently, the position of JAG Corps Officer in the Navy Reserve is open only to prior or current JAG Corps Officers.
Serving part-time as a Reservist, your duties will be carried out during your scheduled drilling and training periods. During monthly drilling, attorney and legal support personnel in the Navy Reserve typically work at a location close to their homes.
For Annual Training, Navy JAG Corps Officers and Enlisted Legalmen may serve anywhere in the world, whether on a ship at sea or bases and installations on shore.
Take a moment to learn more about the general roles and responsibilities of Reservists.
Officer (JAG Corps) Training
Officers appointed to the JAG Corps must first attend Officer Development School (ODS) – a five-week course in Newport, R.I., that provides a comprehensive and intense introduction to the responsibilities of being a Navy Staff Corps Officer. From there, JAG Corps Officers attend Naval Justice School, a ten-week course that teaches military trial procedures, methods of obtaining evidence, court-martial advocacy techniques, and application of the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
Enlisted (Legalman) Training
Enlisted Sailors pursuing a Legalman role must first complete the 7–9 week Recruit Training (known as Boot Camp). After that they report to the Naval Justice School in Newport, R.I., for an 11-week course covering military justice, court-martial procedures, legal assistance, and administrative, civil, operational and procedural law.
For all Navy legal careers, promotion opportunities are regularly available but competitive and based on performance. It’s also important to note that specialized training received and work experience gained in the course of service can lead to valuable JAG Corps Officer and Legalman credentialing and occupational opportunities in related fields.
Most of what you do in the Navy Reserve is considered training. The basic Navy Reserve commitment involves training a minimum of one weekend a month (referred to as drilling) and two weeks a year (referred to as Annual Training) – or the equivalent of that.
Officer (JAG Corps) Reservists
Note: Currently, this position in the Navy Reserve is open only to prior or current JAG Corps Officers.
Your prior experience as a JAG Corps Officer satisfies the initial leadership training requirement – so you will not need to go through Officer Training again.
Enlisted (Legalman) Reservists
Before Enlisted Sailors can receive the ongoing professional training that comes with the job, initial training requirements must be met.
For current or former military Enlisted servicemembers: Prior experience satisfies the initial Recruit Training requirement – so you will not need to go through Boot Camp again.
For those without prior military experience: You will need to meet the initial Recruit Training requirement by attending Boot Camp for seven to nine weeks in Great Lakes, Ill. This training course will prepare you for service in the Navy Reserve and count as your first Annual Training.
Officer (JAG Corps) Education
As a JAG Corps Officer, you’ll have paid opportunities for postgraduate legal education at civilian institutions or military graduate schools. You’ll also have access to general educational benefits that include:
Enlisted (Legalman) Education
Beyond offering access to professional credentials and certifications, Navy training in the field of legal support can translate to credit hours toward a bachelor’s or associate degree through the American Council on Education. You may also continue your education through opportunities like the following:
Officer (JAG Corps) Qualifications
Student Program – To qualify for Active Duty employment consideration in the Navy JAG Corps as a student, you must meet these basic qualifications:
Direct Appointment Program – To qualify for Active Duty employment consideration in the Navy JAG Corps as a professional, you must meet these basic qualifications:
For more information about the Navy JAG Corps, please visit www.jag.navy.mil.
Enlisted (Legalman) Qualifications
A high-school diploma or equivalent is required to become an Enlisted Sailor in the Legal Support field in the Navy. Those seeking a Legalman should have good speaking and writing skills, excellent hearing, attention to detail, and typing skills. The Navy will provide classroom and group instruction in Navy legal, administrative and clerical functions.
All candidates must also be: U.S. citizens and willing to serve worldwide.
General qualifications may vary depending upon whether you’re currently serving, whether you’ve served before or whether you’ve never served before.