Videos: Today's Military
  • Becoming a JAG Officer(01:50)

    Explore the commissioning process for lawyers who wish to join the Judge Advocate General Corps, commonly known as JAG. JAGs handle all legal matters in the Military, from court martials to maritime law, environmental law and more.

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Lt. Roni Beasley: My name is Lieutenant Roni Beasley, and I’m an officer in the Navy Judge Advocate General Corps, more commonly referred to as Navy JAG. I currently work on a staff at the Washington Navy Yard, the headquarters for the Navy JAG Corps.

We do a bunch of different things in the Military. We mainly service our clients, who happen to be service members. We do family law, operational law, environmental law, we have the military justice system. There's a myriad of different things that we do.

There are a few ways to become a Judge Advocate. However, the two most common are through the Student Program and through the Direct Accession Program. The Student Program is if you apply to the JAG Corps while in law school. If you get selected, then you start the process of becoming an officer. All that happens while you’re in law school; then you’re commissioned and you go on reserve status until you’ve taken the bar. 

The other way to come into the JAG Corps is Direct Accession. Essentially, Direct Accessions are people who are already barred, licensed, practicing attorneys who decide "I want to try the JAG Corps." It’s the same process, but it’s just a smaller number that we accept.

As a Judge Advocate General, we have Officer Development School. It’s about five weeks of customs, courtesies, how to wear the uniform, how to salute. After Officer Development School we go to a Basic Lawyer course. Throughout the Basic Lawyer Course, we’re essentially trained in how it differs from regular civilian law.

I think it’s an awesome experience, a great opportunity to learn — and to serve your country while doing it.