The military has its own system of laws and courts.
Lawyers in the various services Judge Advocate General (JAG) Corps administer activities within the military judicial system. They also perform legal research, prosecute and defend court cases, and are judges in military courts. They provide legal services for military personnel and represent the services in civil and international legal matters.
What They Do
Lawyers in the military perform some or all of the following duties:
- Give legal advice about government real estate, commercial contracts, patents, and trademarks
- Prepare pretrial advice for clients in court-martial cases
- Act as prosecuting attorney, defense attorney, or judge in court cases
- Prepare legal documents, such as wills and powers of attorney
- Interpret laws, directives, regulations, and court decisions
- Preside over court cases and make judgments based on the Uniform Code of Military Justice
- Help train new military lawyers
Helpful attributes include:
- Ability to speak effectively in public
- Ability to write clearly and concisely
- Attention to detail
- Interest in working with and researching legal concepts
- Sensitivity to the needs of others
Job training consists of classroom instruction. Further training occurs on the job and through advanced courses. Training length varies depending on specialty.
Course content typically includes:
- Military trial procedures
- Application of the Uniform Code of Military Justice
- Methods of obtaining evidence
- Court-martial advocacy techniques
Lawyers and judges work in legal offices and courtrooms on land and aboard ships.
Civilian lawyers work in private practice and for law firms, government, corporations, and nonprofit groups.
They perform duties similar to those performed by military lawyers.
Civilian lawyers, however, usually specialize in a particular field.
Judges in the civilian sector preside over courts of law and determine the rulings in cases that are brought before them.