Public Service News

Judge Advocate General FAQs

Information for students interested in entering the U.S. military JAG Corps.

  1. Where can I find out more information about each armed service branch JAG program?
  2. What is a judge advocate?
  3. What type of law does a judge advocate practice?
  4. How long is the initial service commitment?
  5. What is the application deadline for applying to become a judge advocate?
  6. Does each service branch offer a summer internship program affiliated with their JAG corps/judge advocates?
  7. What is the starting salary?
  8. What rank will I begin at?
  9. If I join one of the service branches, am I guaranteed a position as a judge advocate?
  10. Do I need to be a U.S. Citizen to apply for a position as a judge advocate?
  11. When can I apply for consideration?
  12. If I become a judge advocate, will I have opportunities to live abroad?
  13. Do any of the service branches offer loan forgiveness incentives?
  14. Which medical conditions will disqualify me from service?
  15. What are the height and weight requirements?
  16. What are the physical fitness requirements?
  17. Will my sexual orientation prevent me from serving?
  18. Are there age restrictions on when I can join?
     

1.  Where can I find out more information about each armed service branch JAG program?

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2.  What is a judge advocate?

Judge advocates are commissioned officers in one of the U.S. Armed Forces that serve as legal advisors to the command in which they are assigned. Their functions include providing legal advice and assistance in a wide variety of practice areas, as well as serving as prosecutors and defense counsel in courts-martial.

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3.  What type of law does a judge advocate practice?

Judge advocates typically function in a wide variety of practice areas, often rotating through several areas during their service commitments. The type of law you practice may vary based on service branch, assignment, and geographic location.

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4.  How long is the initial service commitment?

Each branch of the military requires that commissioned officers serve four years on active-duty. After leaving the branch following this commitment, you must remain for four additional years in inactive status. This means that you no longer serve in the military but can be recalled should need arise due to a conflict/war.

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5.  What is the application deadline for applying to become a judge advocate?

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6.  Does each service branch offer a summer internship program affiliated with their JAG corps/judge advocates?

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7.  What is the starting salary?

The starting salaries for newly commissioned judge advocates in each branch are as follows. Please note that judge advocates are typically promoted within six to 12 months of their commissioning. Also, the following figures do not take into consideration allowances or time served.

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8.  What rank will I begin at?

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9.  If I join one of the service branches, am I guaranteed a position as a judge advocate?

Law students who become commissioned officers in one of the services branches will be assigned as attorneys. The Coast Guard allows officers to request non-legal assignments as does the Marines Corps after the officer’s first tour.

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10.  Do I need to be a U.S. Citizen to apply for a position as a judge advocate?

Each of the service branches requires commissioned officers to be U.S. Citizens.

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11.  When can I apply for consideration?

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12. If I become a judge advocate, will I have opportunities to live abroad?

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13.  Do any of the service branches offer loan forgiveness incentives?

While not all of the services have formal loan forgiveness programs, many judge advocates are eligible to participate in the income-based loan repayment plan of the College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007. Graduating students who will become judge advocates in the subsequent year are also eligible for the Virginia Loan Forgiveness Program.

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14.  Which medical conditions will disqualify me from service?

Each branch requires a medical examination in order to ensure qualification. While not all of the branches’ Standards of Medical Fitness are available, the Army’s and Navy’s will give a representative sample of what conditions are typically disqualifying. All interested applicants who are unsure about a specific condition are encouraged to speak to a recruiter.

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15.  What are the height and weight requirements?

Each of the Armed Forces has specific height and weight requirements which applicants must meet prior to admission.

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16.  What are the physical fitness requirements?

Physical fitness is a standard requirement for members of each of the armed forces. Each branch has specific requirements. More information may be found at the links below.

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17.  Will my sexual orientation prevent me from serving?

No. As a result of the passage of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Act of 2010, all restrictions on openly gay, lesbian and bisexual individuals have been lifted. However, transgendered individuals are still restricted from serving based on medical disqualification.

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18.  Are there age restrictions on when I can join?

Yes. Each of the branches has specific age requirements for recruits as shown below:

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