Celebrating 10 years! 2007-2017

JAG Officer

I am looking into becoming a JAG Officer but before I waste crow07/12/16
You definitely don't need to be from a top 30 school. They caj11107/12/16
Back in law school ('98-'01), the JAG people were all over u qdllc07/13/16
It is very competitive in this bad legal market, shrinking O t3success07/13/16
Here is my take from someone who is an Army reservist, has a tom_foolery07/13/16
Hey tom_foolery: I noticed you had quite a few posts on J newjag1704/04/17
Like the others on here are saying, it's tough, very tough, porochi04/04/17
Happy New Years Porochi: Question: Does the Guard have th newjag1701/03/18
I assume so, but not sure. To assure consistency and force q porochi01/03/18
They were recruiting mooks from my T2. It's easier to ge isthisit01/04/18
crow (Jul 12, 2016 - 10:42 pm)

I am looking into becoming a JAG Officer but before I waste my time, I want to know how realistic entry into the program actually is. I've heard it is extremely competitive...

I would assume the Army is the least competitive because of its size, other than that I am unsure what they are looking for.

Do you need to be from a top 30 school and at the top of your class? Or do they care more for your work ethic, dedication and morals? Or extra curriculars??

Help! Thank you.

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caj111 (Jul 12, 2016 - 10:52 pm)

You definitely don't need to be from a top 30 school. They definitely have certain grade requirements, but given their need for more people, I don't think you'd need to be at the top of your class either. They do, however, scrutinize your medical history heavily, that's why I didn't get hired, having been on medications over several years for a medical condition I used to have (not going into the specifics). Getting hired is also somewhat of a long and bureaucratic process, and you have to want it badly, a lot of people get "weeded out" along the way because certain forms weren't filled out or your medical record and/or background check information doesn't get submitted properly. Ultimately, the JAG program is heavily geared toward people who are or were in the military, or in the reserves, that's who they would rather have anyway. But if your grades are at least mediocre, you push hard enough, stay in touch with the recruiter during the entire process and don't have any serious medical issues (past or present), you probably have a good chance.

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qdllc (Jul 13, 2016 - 7:01 am)

Back in law school ('98-'01), the JAG people were all over us trying to find people interested in getting in. Not many takers, but one lady who did pursue it walked away because she got tired of the "run around" she was getting. I'm not sure how heavy the demand was or how high the standards were to get in, but it was clear they wanted to offer people a certain job upon passing the bar if they'd make a commitment during 1L.

With 9/11 and the changes in the profession for new graduates, I suppose JAG is overflowing with people interested in pursuing it today.

I would emphasize that you should consider JAG for all branches available (as they don't seem to work together) and insist on total candor from the "recruiter." If they have a quota and no problem meeting it, there's no reason for them to lie or misrepresent your chances of getting in. If they tell you the odds are slim, you at least know.

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t3success (Jul 13, 2016 - 7:16 am)

It is very competitive in this bad legal market, shrinking Obama military environment. This could change instantly with a war or Trump administration.

That aside, JAG is a branch of the Army that is not necessarily impossible at all to get into, however, what becomes more difficult is making a career of JAG. There are lots of opportunities for Captains, but getting promoted past Major to make it a 20+ year career is very competitive as there just are not that many Lt Colonel and Colonel positions available in the force structure. A friend of mine did JAG for 5 years, got out, and now does insurance defense. It took him 11 months to find a job though. He was collecting unemployment and it ran out so he was in a very tough spot.

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tom_foolery (Jul 13, 2016 - 9:11 am)

Here is my take from someone who is an Army reservist, has actually applied to active duty, and spoken to multiple Field Screening Officers (FSO's) -

It is extremely competitive - acceptance rate in the single digits. The best path in for active duty is through the Army 2L summer intern program - their data is that they have the best chance.

It is a little easier to get in reserves or national guard.

They use a total person evaluation - no one factor will disqualify you or automatically get you an offer. There were people from ivy's in my class. There was someone from Thomas Jefferson School of Law. Seemed to be lots of ROTC folks. A few were former Army paralegals (27D MOS). I assume most had extracurriculars and good grades. The acceptance list I saw for 2015 had schools of all sorts.

The recruiter is not really a factor in whether you get in.

You have to interview with a Field Screening Officer. This is extra duty for JAG's around the country. They take everyone they interview, and rank them 1 through X, 1 being the best person they interviewed. You need to be #1, or it then becomes very hard to get an offer. To get an idea of how hard this is, think about how competitive other applicants are JUST based on school/GPA, and then remember how some of these people actually worked with or for the FSO, or who even know them personally. (Bottom Line Up Front (BLUF) - it is tough!)

I applied as a reservist for active duty - I even had active duty experience, great evaluations, and great references. I didn't get an offer.

It is an awesome job. The pay and benefits are great. You could go reserves/national guard and seek active duty tours/AGR full time positions.

Good luck. Definitely put in your packet. Consider all the branches, Army/Navy/Chair Force/Marines/Coast Guard too.

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newjag17 (Apr 4, 2017 - 4:40 pm)

Hey tom_foolery:

I noticed you had quite a few posts on JAG--I was recently accepted into JAG reserves and started my own thread on here. I was curious if you were still in the Reserves or had you moved into AD or were you Reserves but were doing one of those longer mobilization assignments I have heard about.

I'm really curious and trying to learn as much as possible about the actual assignments JAG Reservists get to do, time impact, etc--any information you can provide to me would be great!

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porochi (Apr 4, 2017 - 8:42 pm)

Like the others on here are saying, it's tough, very tough, to get an Active Duty JA Commission. I was a USAR JA for 11 yrs., got out about 3 yrs. ago. It's harder now to even get the Reserve commissions. And the basic training course is LONG, 18 weeks, from what I understand now. It was 14 when I was commissioned in 2002. My advice? If you don't make the Active Duty cut, try the National Guard. Why? Your chance of making it a full career, 20+ yrs, are better in the Guard than Reserve. Guard is, for the most part, duty limited to your state and the guard doesn't seem to push people out like the Reserve. I know several Reserve JA's who went Guard because they were tired of constantly having to change units and travel half-way across the country to drill with some unit 5-6 states away because they wanted to get the next promotion and the available unit with a slot at the higher grade was that far away. Not the same in the National Guard, you stay in your state. And the training is the same, and National Guard does send their units to train with the Active Component and they mobilize with them, so you can get good Active Duty time as a Guard member. As far as easy to get into, I understand the difficulty is about the same as the Reserves, and easier than getting an Active Duty Commission, but don't be fooled, no JA Commission is easy to land. None. So burnish that resume and put your best foot forward, it ain't no slam dunk.

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newjag17 (Jan 3, 2018 - 3:55 pm)

Happy New Years Porochi:

Question: Does the Guard have the same medical requirements, waiver process as Reserves/Active Duty?

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porochi (Jan 3, 2018 - 11:05 pm)

I assume so, but not sure. To assure consistency and force quality/training, you wouldn't want states
creating their own unique med. requirements for the Guard. The Guard is an essential military component that serves and deploys regularly with the Active components, so it's highly likely they must abide by the same rules.

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isthisit (Jan 4, 2018 - 5:18 am)

They were recruiting mooks from my T2.

It's easier to get in while in school. It is competitive but definitely a realistic gig if you're not a dummy or a mouth breather.

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