Sunday, January 8, 2012

Advice for those seeking JAG position

Question from a reader: Do you or J have any advice for an active attorney applying to JAG? What is JAG looking for in a candidate these days? What should you stress in your interview? Does the interview even matter?

This is what little I know about the board. The board members are always changing. A board will meet and review each candidate. They then rank the candidates and how ever many slots they need to fill, the top will get the acceptance.

This is my opinion on the hiring process. Let me first explain why I've concluded such. First, I reflect on the JAG's we know and what kind of work, if any, they did before becoming a JAG. The majority we know have come right from law school but a few of the types of work some have done beforehand were public interest work, criminal defense, and litigation. The one accessing your application is going to bring their own bias into the process. For example, you may think your resume is outstanding but look at your resume from the eyes of a Colonel in the Air Force who has served his country for 15+ years. He has chosen less pay, hard work, sacrifice, and commitment to the AF. What is he looking to see? What will impress him?

I only know thoroughly what one JAG's resume reflected...J's. His resume from the beginning of his first summer internship in law school never reflected that he wanted to work for a big law firm, or head that route, (even though at the time that is what he wanted) The type of work he did was more along the lines of public interest groups and government related. That showed the Air Force that here's a guy more likely committed to staying in the JAG Corps long term and not just temporarily. Now, that doesn't mean if you do work for private law firms the AF doesn't like that, I am NOT saying that at all. I am only saying what J's impression was after he got accepted into the JAG Corps.

Also in my opinion, if you have anyone i.e. father, brother, sister, grandfather who served in the military, bring that up in your interview! Military honors its own. With that said, YES, I do think the interview matters. If you get a bad write up, then the board is going to listen to the opinion of their own with great regard. J's interviewer gave him positive feedback at the end of the interview and told him point blank that he thought he would be very competitive.

Remember the Air Force has always been very competitive when it comes to being accepted in the JAG Corps. It has become even more competitive lately. We all know this. Good luck and I hope this post helps even just a little because I realize I'm not saying much you all don't already know.

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