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How do I Become a Military Lawyer?

Patrick Roland
Patrick Roland

Military organizations frequently need legal counsel and representation. Armies, navies, air forces and other branches all have attorney corps that help in these situations. If you want to become a military lawyer, you must be an accredited attorney and a member of the military. In addition, you must be an expert on the legal aspects of your military branch, must meet citizenship requirements and often must within a specific range of ages.

Your first step to become a military lawyer is to obtain a bachelor's degree. Many students choose to study political science or criminal justice as preparation for law school, but most law schools have no undergraduate degree requirements. It can also be helpful to join a college military training group, such as the United States' Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC), in order to get a better perspective of how the military works. Next, you must attend an accredited law school, receive your Juris Doctorate degree and pass the bar exam. After these requirements have been met, you technically are qualified to join the ranks as a military defense lawyer, but there is still much preparation to be done.

A military lawyer is a fully licensed attorney as well as a servicemember.
A military lawyer is a fully licensed attorney as well as a servicemember.

After you have completed your education, it is wise to study each of your country's military branches and determine which one offers you an ideal challenge. The laws and legal issues for an army are completely different from those of an air force or a navy. Seek out individuals who have been military lawyers in the past or who currently are practicing and ask them questions about the job. It will be a big help to do some research if you want to become a military lawyer.

In addition, you also should inquire about each branch's demands to join the military corps. All will require you to be an accredited lawyer to try court cases, but some military organizations have other requirements. For example, in the United States, an army lawyer must be a U.S. citizen and be younger than 42 years old in order to become a military lawyer.

Finally, after you have researched the many requirements necessary to become a military lawyer, you will need to contact that branch's military corps. Most military attorneys go through a training process of learning about the military and the unique counseling and defending needs of the job. After this preliminary training period, you usually will be required to serve a minimum of four years of duty with an option for more.

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Discussion Comments


Go to just about any law school and you'll usually find at least one student who is a military officer with one assignment -- graduate and pass the bar. Those students go on to serve as military lawyers for a certain number of years as part of the deal -- the military pays for their education, room and board in exchange for their service after graduation.

Want to be a military lawyer? Find out what you have to do to get on the track to have the military send you to law school.

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    • A military lawyer is a fully licensed attorney as well as a servicemember.
      By: Oleksii Nykonchuk
      A military lawyer is a fully licensed attorney as well as a servicemember.