Judge Advocate General (JAG Officer)
In 1775, President George Washington established the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General (JAG Officer), making it the oldest law firm in the United States. Today there are about 500 JAG officers in the Guard who not only protect our rights and laws, but also advise and defend our Soldiers.
JAG Corps officers investigate, prosecute and defend those charged with crimes in the military, provide legal advice for Soldiers and work with international contracts. As an officer in the JAG Corps and a practicing attorney or judge, your responsibilities will cover a wide range of practices including military law, criminal prosecution, international law and legal assistance, both in the U.S. and abroad. The JAG Corps deals in all the same areas of law as civilian practices, making the transition to a civilian legal career effortless. You'll be able to have varied and developmental practice opportunities during your JAG career:
- Criminal Law
- Legal Assistance
- Civil Litigation
- Administrative Law
- Labor Law
- International Law
- Operational Law
- Medical Law
- Contract Law
Whether you’re looking toward college or already in law school and want to do more than work in a private firm, the Guard can help you achieve your legal career goals.
In the Guard, you will typically work one weekend a month and two weeks out of the year, allowing you to progress in a part-time military career, while you simultaneously progress in your civilian career.
The Guard also offers benefits that you can't find in any other part-time career field—as well as providing you with the satisfaction of serving your country and an exciting change of pace from the civilian market.
JAG Officer Benefits
As part of the JAG Corps, you’ll begin your service as an officer—receiving officer pay—on top of your other Guard benefits, like:
- Excellent medical care benefits
- Low-cost health insurance for you and your Family
- Up to $400,000 in low-cost life insurance
- A retirement pension plan at the completion of 20 years of part-time service
- Discounted and tax-free grocery and shopping privileges at post exchanges and commissaries
- Free military air flights based on space availability
- Access to recreational facilities on military installations
Many JAG officers have found our medical, insurance and retirement benefits to be particularly valuable, supplementing benefits from their civilian careers that may be inadequate.
JAG Eligibility Requirements
In order to become a JAG officer, you’ll need to meet the following requirements:
- Have graduated from an ABA-approved law school (though you may apply in your third year of law school)
- Been admitted to the Bar and serve in the National Guard of the same state
- Be mentally and physically fit
- Be of good moral standing and character
- Be a U.S. citizen
- Meet the prescribed medical and moral standards for appointment as a commissioned officer
- Be able to obtain a secret security clearance
JAG Officer Training Requirements
Initial JAG officer training entails three phases:
Phase I: Introduction
A two-week introductory course to the military, conducted at Fort Lee, VA.
Phase II: JAG Basic Officer Leadership Course
A comprehensive, 11-week Military and Operational Law course taught at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, VA. This course is similar to a law school classroom environment.
Phase III: Direct Commissioned Officer Course
A six-week course conducted primarily in the field, focusing on initial officer training requirements.;
If you don't have your degree, visit NationalGuard.com to see how you can serve in the legal field as a Paralegal Specialist.