JAG Corps announces law school programs
MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan -- If anyone ever told you, "You should be a lawyer," now's your chance, as well as the time to start planning.
Applications for the Funded Legal Education Program (FLEP) and Excess Leave Program (ELP) are being accepted from January 1 through March 1, 2015. Interested officers are encouraged to compete. Note, however, that there are a large number of pre-requisites which will need to be completed during the Summer and Fall of 2014 in order to apply for either program. The time to start the process is now! The number of FLEP and ELP applicants selected in any academic year is determined based on the needs of the Air Force.
"Air Force missions are constantly changing and commanders need access to legal advisors with a broad background of military experiences," said Lt. Col. Suzette Seuell, Staff Judge Advocate for the 35th Fighter Wing. "FLEP and ELP help ensure the JAG Corps has officers whose military experience complements their legal training, providing commanders with high-caliber legal support."
According to Seuell, Air Force JAGs provide a broad spectrum of legal services. In addition to prosecuting and defending clients in courts-martial, JAG officers 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.
JAGs also have an opportunity to provide one-on-one confidential legal assistance to service members around the world with their individual situations.
"Every facet of every Air Force mission is bound by elements of the law," Seuell said.
FLEP is a paid legal studies program for active-duty Air Force commissioned officers and is an assignment action. Participants receive full pay, allowances, and tuition. Applicants must have between two and six years active duty service (enlisted or commissioned) and must be in the pay grade O-3 or below as of the day they begin law school.
FLEP is subject to tuition limitations. Positions may be limited due to overall funding availability. The Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT) establishes the tuition limit set at approximately $16,000 per year, but this amount may change year to year.
ELP is an unpaid legal studies program for Air Force officers. ELP participants do not receive pay and allowances but remain on active duty for retirement eligibility and benefits purposes. 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.
Applications for FY15 FLEP and ELP will be accepted from January 1, 2015 and March 1, 2015. 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, territory of the United States, or a federal court, 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 February 15, 2015. Officers must provide a letter of conditional release from their current career field. Selection for both programs is competitive.
Applications meet a selection board in early March, 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. For more information and application materials, visit http://www.airforce.com/jag, contact the 35th Fighter Wing base legal office, or contact 1-800-JAG-USAF.