Whether you are a practicing attorney or a law student, there are significant additional benefits to becoming a Judge Advocate General (JAG) officer. Act as a legal resource for Soldiers, units and the State Adjutant General. Investigate, prosecute and defend those charged with crimes in the military, help Soldiers with legal documents, and train legal professionals both in the U.S. and abroad. Because the JAG Corps practices law in the same areas as civilian law, the transition back to a civilian legal career is seamless.

As part of the JAG Corps, you’ll begin your service as an officer, earning monthly officer drill pay. The Guard also provides unparalleled benefits for a part-time commitment, including:

  • Excellent medical care benefits
  • Low-cost health insurance for you and your family
  • Up to $400,000 in low-cost life insurance
  • A retirement pension plan at the completion of 20 years of part-time service
  • Discounted and tax-free grocery and shopping privileges at post exchanges and commissaries
  • Free military air flights based on space availability
  • Access to recreational facilities on military installations

In order to become a JAG officer, you’ll need to meet the following requirements:

  • Graduate from an ABA-approved law school (you may apply in your third year of law school)
  • Be admitted to the bar and serve in the National Guard of the same state
  • Be mentally and physically fit
  • Be of good moral standing and character
  • Be a U.S. citizen
  • Meet the prescribed medical and moral standards for appointment as a commissioned officer
  • Be able to obtain a Secret security clearance


All JA candidates must successfully complete the Judge Advocate Officer Basic Course (JAOBC).  This course is broken into two phases, which must be completed consecutively unless otherwise waived or bifurcated by the Army Chief, Personnel, Plans, and Training Office (PPTO). Exceptions to these training requirements may be granted by the Chief, PPTO but are rarely granted.

Phase I:  Direct Commission Officer Course (DCC):  This Phase is comprised of six weeks of military leadership training at Fort Benning, GA.  The purpose of DCC is to provide training for the individual soldier and to provide a collective training experience.  To that end the presence of soldiers with prior military experience will work to greatly improve the overall quality of the instruction.  DCC curriculum includes physical fitness training, foot marches, combat training, land navigation, rifle marksmanship, weapons training, practical leadership exercises, CBRNE operations, and leader confidence courses.

Phase II:  Charlottesville Phase.  This phase is comprised of ten and a half weeks of academic training at the Judge Advocate’s General’s Legal Center and School (TJAGSA) in Charlottesville, VA.  This course is located on the grounds of the University of Virginia adjacent to their law school.  During this phase JAs will receive instruction on the organization, function, and mission of the U.S. Army JAG Corps, an overview of the practice of law in the U.S. Army, and military training of all the core legal disciplines.