Saturday, October 31, 2009

Into the wild blue yonder

Since many people have expressed interest in my decision to join the Air Force Judge Advocate General (JAG) Corps, I thought it would be beneficial to start a blog to journal my experience. Let's start at the very beginning of law school.

When I started school, I had in the back of my mind that joining the JAG Corps could very interesting. However, following my first year of school I was offered a summer clerkship with a Phoenix firm and quickly dismissed the idea of working for the government when told that I would likely make a six-figure salary in my first year of firm life. As the second summer of law school approached, I found myself splitting my summer between two firms, either of which I thought would make an excellent place to start my career.

Despite the monetary appeal of working for a large law firm, I could not shake the desire I had to serve my country by joining the JAG Corps. Even while I was working at the firms, I would talk with partners who had served in the JAG Corps about their experiences and would try to justify in my mind turning down an offer from the firm and to go work for the military instead. Even after numerous conversations with my incredibly supportive wife, who said she'd support me no matter what I decided to do, I felt like I should brush aside what I wanted to do (join the JAG) and instead do what I felt a good law student should do (join a firm).

At the end of my second summer of law school, as I anxiously awaited offers from both firms, the United States economy begin to nose dive into the worst economic situation this country has seen since the Great Depression. Needless to say, my hopes of receiving job offers began to fade with every downward tick in the stock market. Sure enough, I received phone calls from both firms informing me that due to the economic state of the firm, they could not offer me a permanent position.

With the prospect of working for one of these two firms out of the picture, I began exploring other avenues of employment. Once again, the idea of joining the JAG Corps started dancing around my mind. I began to think that if I ever wanted to serve my country I would never find myself in a better opportunity to do so. Resolved to at least apply, I began to look into each of the Branches' JAG Corps. Ultimately, I applied to only the Air Force and Navy.

In October of 2008, I found out that I had been accepted by the Air Force. I was thrilled! Although I subsequently was rejected by the Navy, the Air Force was my first choice and, therefore, I began taking the next steps toward beginning my employment. The first thing I had to do was undergo a physical. This involved vision and hearing exams, blood and breath tests, and some coordination and flexibility exercises. Once I passed the physical in November, I had nothing left to do but wait until I took and passed the bar the next July.

I initially was told that I would receive my first base assignment the week after I received my bar results the beginning of October. Unfortunately, I would find out that due to a large entering class size, I wouldn't receive my assignment until the first week of November.

Now here I sit on Halloween of 2009, just over one year from when I first was accepted into the Air Force JAG Corps and I am anxiously awaiting my assignment which will come next week. As you can imagine, my family and I are extremely excited to find out where we will spend the next 2-3 years.

Once we find out where we are going, I will then begin preparing for Commissioned Officer Training (COT) and Judge Advocate Staff Officer Course (JASOC) in Montgomery, Alabama starting in January.

It is my hope that during my time in the Air Force, I will be able to use this blog to give you a sense of my work life and what it is like to serve the United States as a JAG officer.