How Do You Become a JAG Lawyer in the Air Force?


Quick Answer

To become an Air Force judge advocate general, an applicant must graduate from a law school approved by the American Bar Association or be a member of the federal bar or the bar of the highest court in any state. The applicant also must pass screening processes and interviews. Both non-military and military lawyers can become JAGs.

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Full Answer

Licensed attorneys and active-duty members of the military who apply to become judge advocates general in the Air Force must pass rigorous and competitive screening processes. During the screening, Air Force officials review applicants' past legal experience, academic performance, relevant extracurricular activities, community service and experience as leaders. The Air Force also screens the military records of both civilian attorneys who have previously served and active military applicants. An official then conducts interviews with each of the candidates.

Air Force JAG civilian applicants who make it through the screening and interview process must successfully complete a five-week Air Force officer-training program that includes physical conditioning, leadership training and classes designed to teach them about life in the military. Active members of the military who meet law school and bar admissions requirements undergo standard training and additional officer training as well. After this initial training, both go on to the Judge Advocate Staff Officer Course, a nine-week program that includes training in military justice, trial advocacy and administrative actions that involve civilians and members of the military. The program also covers a broad range of relevant practice areas, including government contracts, labor law and international law.

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