HomeUnits379th Air Expeditionary WingCommentariesDisplay

Get paid to go to law school

(Photo by Senior Airman Colin Cates)

U.S. Air Force Capt. Sarah Huerta, 379th Air Expeditionary Wing chief of military justice, advises Col. Caroline Miller, 379th Expeditionary Mission Support Group commander on Uniform Code of Military Justice at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, Aug 25, 2014. JAG officers routinely participate in nearly every facet of the Air Force mission including developing and acquiring weapons systems, ensuring availability of airspace and ranges where those systems are tested and operated, consulting with commanders about how those systems are employed in armed conflict, and assisting commanders in the day-to-day running of military installations around the world. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Colin Cates)

AL UDEID AIR BASE, QATAR -- The Air Force's Funded Legal Education Program (FLEP) pays law school tuition, full pay, and allowances for those selected. Also the Excess Leave Program (ELP) is an unpaid legal studies program where participants do not receive pay and allowances, but remain on active duty for retirement eligibility and benefits purposes. FLEP and ELP are assignment actions. Applications for both programs are due NLT 10 February 2015.

Our Air Force missions are constantly changing, and commanders deserve to have access to legal advisors with a broad background of military experiences. The FLEP and ELP will ensure that we can continue to maintain a Corps of officers whose military experience complements their legal training providing commanders with the highest caliber of legal support.

Air Force JAGs do more than just help Airmen with personal legal matters. In addition to prosecuting and defending clients brought before courts-martial, JAG officers routinely participate in nearly every facet of the Air Force mission including developing and acquiring weapons systems, ensuring availability of airspace and ranges where those systems are tested and operated, consulting with commanders about how those systems are employed in armed conflict, and assisting commanders in the day-to-day running of military installations around the world.

"I love being a JAG because I get to practice law and spend lots of time in the courtroom, but I'm also able to interact with commanders and other career fields within the Air Force. It's a challenging and rewarding job that never gets boring because I experience different legal issues everyday" said Captain Sarah Huerta, Chief of Military Justice, at AUAB.

FLEP applicants must have between two and six years active duty service and must be in the pay grade O-3 or below as of the day they begin law school. ELP applicants must have between two and ten years active duty service and must be in the pay grade O-3 or below as of the first day of law school.

Both the FLEP and ELP programs require attendance at an American Bar Association (ABA) accredited law school. Upon graduation and admission to practice law in the highest court of any state, commonwealth, or territory of the United States, candidates are eligible for designation as judge advocates. To be considered for FLEP or ELP, applicants must complete all application forms, apply (acceptance is not required at the time of application for FLEP/ELP) to at least one ABA accredited law school, receive their Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) results, and interview with a Staff Judge Advocate by 10 February 2015. Officers must provide a letter of conditional release from their current career field. Selection for both programs is competitive and interested officers are encouraged to compete. The number of FLEP and ELP applicants selected in any academic year is determined based on the needs of the Air Force.

Applications meet a selection board in March 2015, and selections are made based on a review of the application package using a "whole person" concept. The total number of applicants selected for any academic year is based on the needs of the Air Force. AFI 51-101, Judge Advocate Accession Program, Chapters 2 and 3, discuss the FLEP and ELP. There are LSAT testing opportunities in Doha and 379 AEW/JA can assist with the SJA interviews at AUAB. For more information and application materials, visit http://www.airforce.com/jag, or contact Lt Col Josh Rosen, 379 AEW Staff Judge Advocate at 437-2761.