Military Law Career Guide

By Paul Hellyer
Updated July 2019



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 (Stacks) 

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.
KF299 .G6 H473 2011 (OCS)

Journal Articles

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.

William Browning, JAG's Job Not Drama-Filled as Hollywood Portrays It, Florida Times-Union, March 25, 2013, at A1.
This profile of a Navy JAG describes the work that JAGs typically do.

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.

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

Stephen P. Dunn, A Forward-Deployed Military Attorney with Special Operations Forces, Michigan Bar Journal, Sept. 2014, at 30.
This article tells the story of a JAG in the Army reserves who accepts an assignment in the Middle East advising special operations forces.

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.

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.

Caitlin McNamara, International Law in a Surprising Place, Young Lawyer, Dec. 2012, at 15.
Explains how the JAG corps can offer lawyers experience in practicing international law.

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.

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.

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.

Stephen A. Stokes, Advocates in Action: Administrative Duties for JAGs in Iraq, Advocate (Idaho), March-April 2011, at 45.
A JAG officer describes his work on transactional matters, as well as his colleagues' work in military justice.

Kristi Tousignant, Lawyers Take Pride in Representing Members of the Armed Services, Daily Record (Baltimore), May 23, 2013.
This news article is about civilian lawyers who practice military law.

Michael Odell Walker, Warrior Lawyers: Serving the Country as a Judge Advocate, Young Lawyer, May 2011, at 2.
This article provides a good introduction to careers in the JAG corps.


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

Organizations & Websites

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
fax: 202-662-1751
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