The US military has reported an increase in applications for Judge Advocate General’s Corps jobs, with a record number of applicants expected this year.
The Navy received over twice as many applications in the 2009 recruiting period than it did in 2008. Army JAG Corps applications increased by about 30%. The Air Force saw a similar increase.
“We don’t offer the salaries that the larger law firms do,” Lt. Col. Paulette Burton, the chief judge advocate for recruiting for the Army, told the National Law Journal. But “as the economy continues to go in this downward spiral, [judge advocates] can count on their salaries and their benefits. We don’t lay people off.”
Judge advocates the same base salaries as non-JAG officers in their branch. They get a monthly tax-free housing allowance, and a basic allowance that varies according to base assignment. And the Army recently announced it would begin offering law school loan repayments of $65,000 for judge advocates.
Starting base pay for Army judge advocates is about $40,000 a year, but various allowances add about $14,400 to that total.
Judge Advocate General’s Corps, also known as JAG or JAG Corps, refers to the legal branch of any of the United States Armed Forces. Officers serving in the JAG Corps are typically called Judge Advocates. They serve primarily as legal advisers to the command to which they are assigned. In this function, they can also serve as the personal legal adviser to their commander. Their advice may cover a wide range of issues dealing with administrative law, government contracting, civilian and military personnel law, law of war and international relations, environmental law, etc.
They also serve as prosecutors for the military when conducting courts-martial. They are charged with both the defense and prosecution of military law as provided in the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Highly experienced officers of the JAG Corps often serve as military judges in courts-martial and courts of inquiry.