Members of the United States Armed Forces are trained to uphold the values and protection of the United States. In the same light, lawyers are trained to uphold the nation’s Constitutional integrity. It takes a distinguished class of individuals to do both.
On Tuesday, March 17, Regent University’s Office of Military & Veterans Affairs with Regent University’s School of Law (LAW) Career & Alumni Services hosted the Military Judge Advocate General’s Corps (JAGC) information session for those individuals hoping to serve their nation in the Corps.
A group of five panelists representing the U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Marine Corps shared their experiences as their work as JAGC officers and guided prospective and current law students through the application process.
“I’ve enjoyed the very diverse practice,” said CPT Sherod Davis, JAGC, USA ’05 (LAW). “As a very young attorney, you get a lot of practical practice early on in your experience.”
“It’s a unique job because not only are you an attorney – you have your duties to your clients and bar association; but you’re also an officer,” said LT Chris Caetano, JAGC, USN. “It’s a nice balance of the values they teach at Regent.”
The most important of these qualities the panelists agree on across the board? Leadership.
“You’re going to be working with people whom you’ve never met before and solving some very serious problems,” said Caetano.
Each panelist agreed that leadership skills work hand-in-hand with oral and advocacy skills. According to Capt. Katherine Edwards, JAGC, USAF, the ability to communicate is crucial for the job of a JAG, because she works with so many people with different backgrounds.
“The people that we get to work with on a daily basis are the most fun thing about being a JAG,” said Edwards. “Take every opportunity you have to hone in those skills now. That’s going to help you out very early.”
“These are the skills you need to aspire to have and hold dear,” added Caetano.
Panelists agreed that each branch of the Armed Forces is looking for individuals with strong character and a passion for service to the United States. While passing the bar and having good grades in law school are important, the most crucial characteristic a potential JAG could show their respective branches is to prove their burning desire to be a service person first.
“You’re going to be challenged in leadership, academics and physical training,” said Jefferson Kaster, USMC (Ret.), director of Law admissions and former Judge Advocate for the Marine Corps. “You’re going to be screened and evaluated to see if you have what it takes. You have to be a Marine first. That’s the only way to be a Judge Advocate.”
Learn more about Regent University’s Office of Military & Veterans Affairs.