Lawyers and Judges

Lawyers and Judges

The military has its own system of laws and courts. Lawyers in the various services Judge Advocate General (JAG) Corps administer activities within the military judicial system. They also perform legal research, prosecute and defend court cases, and are judges in military courts. They provide legal services for military personnel and represent the services in civil and international legal matters.

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Job Details:

What They Do:

Lawyers in the military perform some or all of the following duties:
  • Give legal advice about government real estate, commercial contracts, patents, and trademarks
  • Prepare pretrial advice for clients in court-martial cases
  • Act as prosecuting attorney, defense attorney, or judge in court cases
  • Prepare legal documents, such as wills and powers of attorney
  • Interpret laws directives regulations and court decisions
  • Preside over court cases and make judgments based on the Uniform Code of Military Justice
  • Help train new military lawyers

Civilian Counterparts:

Civilian lawyers work in private practice and for law firms, government, corporations, and nonprofit groups. They perform duties similar to those performed by military lawyers. Civilian lawyers, however, usually specialize in a particular field. Judges in the civilian sector preside over courts of law and determine the rulings in cases that are brought before them.

Work Environment:

Lawyers and judges work in legal offices and courtrooms on land and aboard ships.


The services have about 3,800 lawyers and judges. Each year, they need new lawyers and judges to meet changes in demand in the field. In time, lawyers may advance to senior management positions in the legal field. With experience, some lawyers may be appointed military judges.

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