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Judge Advocate General’s Corps (JAG)

A United States Navy Judge Advocate General (JAG) has a discussion with Legalmen, military attorneys, at Fleet Activities Sasebo.

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Responsibilities

The Navy JAG Corps provides legal support for the fleet and enables the Navy mission throughout the world, both ashore and at sea. The JAG Corps is ideal for lawyers looking to gain hands-on legal experience in many different areas of law including:

  • Military Justice
  • Legal Assistance
  • International Law
  • Administrative Law
  • Environmental Law
  • Civil Litigation
  • Admiralty and Maritime Law
  • National Security Law

Work Environment

As a Navy JAG, you’ll have opportunities to serve in exciting and diverse assignments around the world. Depending on your role, you may spend time in a more traditional office environment or working on a ship. The Navy JAG practice also involves domestic and international travel, such as visiting bases and other installations.

Training & Advancement

Officers appointed to the JAG Corps must first attend Officer Development School (ODS), a five-week course in Newport, RI, that provides a comprehensive introduction to Navy Staff Corps Officer responsibilities.

From there, Navy JAG Corps Officers attend Naval Justice School, a 10-week course that teaches the fundamentals of military justice, civil law, trial advocacy skills, administrative law and investigations, legal assistance, and national security law.

Once you’ve completed training, you’ll receive your first assignment. While overseas job opportunities are available, most new Navy judge advocates are assigned within the continental United States. Common locations include San Diego, CA; Norfolk, VA; Bremerton, WA; Jacksonville, FL; Pensacola, FL; Mayport, FL; Groton, CT; Washington, DC; and Pearl Harbor, HI.

Promotion opportunities are regularly available but are competitive and based on performance.

Post-Service Opportunities

Specialized training received and work experience gained in the course of service can lead to valuable credentialing and occupational opportunities in related fields in the civilian world.

Education Opportunities

As part of the culture of learning that the Navy JAG Corps fosters, you’ll have the opportunity to earn a Master of Law (LL.M.) degree fully funded by the Navy in areas of study including military law, international law, national security law, cybersecurity law, environmental law and trial advocacy. You’ll also have access to benefits that include:

  • Loan Forgiveness: Military service qualifies as public service for the Department of Education’s Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program. Under this program, Navy JAG Corps officers who serve for 10 years on active duty military service or have had a qualifying public service job for the last 10 years may have their federal student loans FULLY discharged.
  • Retention Bonuses: Navy JAG Corps Officers are currently eligible for a total of $60,000 in retention bonuses paid over three installments at different career milestones that Officers can use to pay off their student debt.
  • GI Bill & Transferability: Under the Post-9/11 GI Bill, service members can transfer some or all unused education benefits to their spouse or dependent children.

Qualifications & Requirements

The position of JAG Corps Officer in the Navy Reserve is open only to those with current or prior Active Duty experience.

Student Program

The Student Program is the most common way to become a Navy JAG. To qualify for Active Duty employment consideration in the Navy JAG Corps as a law student, you must meet these basic qualifications:

  • Have taken the Law School Admission Test (LSAT)
  • Be a law student at an ABA-accredited law school with at least one year of school completed, or be a graduate of an ABA-accredited law school who has not yet taken the first available bar exam following graduation (students who attend law school part time or who intend to matriculate in a dual degree program must be within two years of completing all remaining degree requirements)
  • Be younger than 42 years of age at the time you begin Active Duty service. Waivers may be requested on a very limited basis.
  • Meet any additional basic requirements for commission in the Navy

Direct Appointment Program

To qualify for Active Duty employment consideration in the Navy JAG Corps as an already licensed attorney, you must meet these basic qualifications:

  • Be a graduate of an ABA-accredited law school
  • Be admitted to practice before a Federal Court, the highest court of a State, Territory or Commonwealth or the District of Columbia
  • Be younger than 42 years of age at the time you begin Active Duty service
  • Meet any additional basic requirements

Find out more information about the Navy JAG Corps.

Part-Time Opportunities

There are no part-time jobs as a Navy Reserve Sailor in this role. Go back to Careers to find other jobs that have a Reserve component. You can also find out more about what life is like as a Reserve Sailor in the Navy.