Military Law Career Guide

By Paul Hellyer
Updated May 2023



Vivian H. Gembara, Drowning in the Desert (2008).
William & Mary Law School alum and JAG officer Vivian Gembara writes about her tour of duty in Iraq.
KF373 .G46 A3 2008 (Law Library 2nd Floor) 

Richard L. Hermann, Landing a Federal Legal Job: Finding Success in the U.S. Government Job Market (2011).
Includes a chapter on landing a job in the Judge Advocate General's Corps.
Full text on ProQuest Ebook Central
KF299 .G6 H473 2011 (OCS)

Journal Articles

Michael Bartish, No Plans to End 30 Years of Service, Federal Lawyer, Nov/Dec 2021, at 22.
A lawyer now in private practice discusses his early career as an Army JAG and his continuing service as a JAG in the Army Reserves.

"Best Job I Ever Had:" Federal Judges and Former JAGs Share War Stories, American Lawyer, Nov. 11, 2021.
Four federal judges and the director the Federal Judicial Center describe their experiences serving in the JAG Corps.

Kim Bowman, Crossing Into the Blue: My Experience as a Reserve Judge Advocate in the U.S. Air Force, Utah Bar J., Jan./Feb. 2018, at 59.
The author describes his tour of duty as a reserve Air Force JAG. He provides an overview of a JAG's duties and explains the application and selection process.

Brian Brackens, Air Force Lawyer Highlights Career (Oct. 18, 2022).
This article describes the Air Force JAG career of a W&M Law graduate.

Ryan Calef, Drawing Straight with Crooked Lines: A Conversation with Thomas Ayres, Deputy Judge Advocate General of the Army, Federal Lawyer, March 2017, at 44.
This interview covers current issues faced by the Army JAG corps.

Douglas A. Dribben, Just Another Day for an Army Claims Judge Advocate, The Young Lawyer, Summer 2022, at 10.
An introduction to tort law practice in the military. 

Fabiani Duarte, "May the (Air) Force Be With You," Student Lawyer, Nov.-Dec. 2015, at 64.
A law student writes about his experience working as a law clerk for an Air Force JAG office.

Scott G. Johnson, Why Should You Hire a Military Attorney?, GPSolo, March/April 2019, at 24.
This article explains the work of military attorneys and demonstrates how this work experience can be useful in the civilian world.

Hannah Kiddoo, Lindsay Stafford Mader & Patricia Busa McConnico, For the Love of Country, Texas Bar Journal, Nov. 2014, at 888.
Four separate interviews with former military lawyers about their work and how it relates to their civilian careers.

Vinnie Lichvar, What It's Like to Move from Army JAG to Biglaw, Law360, May 12, 2020.
The author explains how he applied the litigation skills he learned in the JAG Corps to his new career as a midlevel Biglaw associate.

Julie L. Massing, The Making of a JAG Attorney: Where the Law and the Military Meet, Federal Lawyer, March 2017, at 24.
A profile of Melissa Carlot Ehlers, a JAG in the Marines.

Pat Murphy, Former JAG Carves Out Niche Defending Veterans, Rhode Island Lawyers Weekly, July 30, 2015.
An interview with a former JAG explains how lawyers transition from JAG to private practice.

Gurney Pearsall, Soldiers with Law Degrees: A Window into the JAG Corps, Utah Bar Journal, July/August 2020, at 40.
An Army JAG describes his combat training experience.

Tammie Ramsouer, Area Defense Counsel Provides Legal Advocacy for Airmen, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson (Jan. 16, 2015).
Describes the work of Area Defense Counsel, who provide legal defense for airmen facing disciplinary charges.

Stephen Ruiz, What It Takes to Become a Member of the Military JAG Corps,, June 22, 2021.
A profile of two current Army JAG Corps officers.

Kathryn Sobotta, Note, Command Authority, Undue Command Influence and the Role of the Staff Judge, 31 Geo. J. Leg. Ethics 847 (2018).
Written by a law student who previously served as an officer in the Army, this note examines how Staff Judge Advocates interact with commanders and explores the ethical challenges faced by military lawyers.


The Army Lawyer
Charlottesville, VA: Judge Advocate General's Legal Center & School
On the Web at: 


JAG Corps
Air Force JAG Corps website: 
Army JAG Corps website: 
Navy JAG Corps website: 
These websites offer testimonials by JAGs, information on summer internship opportunities, application forms and more.

Lewis B. Puller, Jr. Veterans Benefits Clinic
William & Mary Law School
tel: 757-221-7443
The Clinic assists current and former service members with veterans disability benefits claims. Students receive course credit for their work with the Clinic. For an article describing the Clinic's work, see Colleges and Universities Join Forces to Help Veterans.

Military and Veterans Law Society
William & Mary Law School
The Military and Veterans Law Society promotes awareness of military law issues and builds ties between interested students and the community. The Society is open to all students.

Military Lawyers Conference (ABA)
740 15th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20005-1022
tel: 202-662-1020
The Military Lawyers Conference is part of the ABA's Government and Public Sector Lawyers Division. Its mission is to provide benefits and services to military lawyers.

Photo:  Associated Press