Law School after USNA?

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by USNAwaterpolo, Mar 29, 2010.

  1. USNAwaterpolo

    USNAwaterpolo Member

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    I know this is extremely early to be thinking about this sort of thing, seeing as I have four LONG years ahead of me :wink:, but assuming that I do make it through I wanted to ask if anyone had any experience with law school after USNA? Im not sure how this would work. Right now becoming a lawyer (or a JAG) is what I think I may want to do. Will I be allowed to go to law school? And if so, how long do you serve before going to law school? And if they pay for law school, how much extra years served? Becoming a JAG would be a great career for me I think. Any info would be great! Thanks!.

    Just some information to ponder as I get ready for the journey of a lifetime:biggrin::yllol::shake::rolleyes::thumb:
     
  2. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    The short answer is No. No, you can't go to law school from USNA.

    What you can do it apply after you're out in the fleet. You apply to law school and also apply to the USN to be allowed to go. It's very hard to be selected -- they take something like 6 people a year from the entire Navy. If you're selected, you pay back 6 yrs for the 3 yrs of law school (plus time still owed from USNA obligation and your time in law school doesn't count toward payback). They pay your tuition and I think you get paid as an officer of whatever rank you are, but I could be wrong about that.

    If your desire is to go to law school right after college, don't choose USNA. My recommendation is to serve as a line officer and, then, if you still want to be an attorney, consider going via the USN program or simply getting out of the USN/USMC and going on your own.

    And I say this as someone who did the latter.
     
  3. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    I have heard (not sure from who) that recently (last 6 or so years) USNA was allowing some newly minted ensigns to go straight to grad school because of billet issues for the junior officers. Not sure where I heard that, could be untrue.
     
  4. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    I haven't heard that re law school and the stats I've seen on service selection belie that rumor. Med school, absolutely. Stuff like Fulbright or Olmstead scholars, yes. Finishing up VGEP (a master's degree started as a 1/C), yes. Law school, no.
     
  5. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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    Also dental school, but that's a rare choice. Ditto law school no, direct from USNA.

    Here's the info on IF you are already an officer in one career specialty, and want to laterally transfer to JAG. As usna1985 states, very few are chosen. Of that few, only a handful get the full pay and allowances of their rank plus the full law school ride. Others receive permission to attend the law school, Navy pays, but their status is inactive Reserve (no active duty pay). We had a sponsor son, graduated near the top of class at USNA, top-ranked JO on both of his ships, took his leave time to follow-the-lawyer at the local JAG office over the course of the years before he became eligible, took numerous LSAT preps so maximize the score there, got into 5 prestigious law programs, worked extremely hard to network with JAGs in his homeports - and did receive the full officer pay/full law school ride. I recall him telling me about 150 officers applied the year he was accepted. He's one happy JAG now. See this link:
    http://www.jag.navy.mil/careers/careers/opportunities_lep.html

    Most JAGs go to civilian colleges and law school, then apply for a direct appointment as a JAG. See this link:
    http://www.jag.navy.mil/careers/careers/opportunities_da.html

    IGEP, the Immediate Graduate Education Program, is the one that covers Rhodes Scholars and other Master's programs at civilian schools in USA and abroad, including the Naval Postgraduate School, allowing ensigns and 2LTs to take up to 2 years after commissioning to pursue an approved degree. Only a small percentage at the top of the class are allowed to go to grad school right away. IGEP is also available to top-performing ROTC grads.

    Most officers obtain their Master's through a variety of programs a few years later. Plenty of threads on that here.
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2010
  6. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    A little O/T, but be careful about taking the LSAT many times. Unlike USNA and the ACT/SATs, many law schools average your LSAT scores. Thus, taking them over & over doesn't help all that much.

    One other option . . . do your 5 yrs on active duty, leave the USN and attend law school on your own. Many state law schools are excellent (e.g., VA, MI, CA, TX) and, if you can establish residency there, tuition may be reasonsble.

    The benefits of doing the above are several:

    (1) You choose the law school, not the USN.

    (2) You decide whether to go into the civilian world or apply for JAG. In most cases (there are some exceptions), you can apply to re-enter the military as a JAG after graduation.

    (3) You have 5 yrs of solid work experience and life experience that will really, really help you in your legal career. I can tell you that firms and businesses truly prize SA grads and people who've spent time in the military.

    (4) After spending some time in the military, you may decide law school isn't right for you. Or, you may be more committed than ever. In either case, you are in a better position than many of your colleagues who go to law school right out of college b/c they have nothing better to do.

    (5) There is more to your life than your law school grades. Many of your classmates have nothing on their resumes other than college activities, summer jobs and their grades. They freak out about grades. Provided you do ok in law school, your experiences will carry you to great job opportunities.

    The down side is that you pay for your own education and aren't guaranteed a spot in the JAG Corps. Neither of those is necessarily the end of the world.
     
  7. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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    I didn't make it clear in my anecdote about sponsor son who went JAG via Navy LEP progam. I was a bit too casual in using "LSAT preps," and should have more clearly written, "LSAT prep courses." He took the LSAT once, and that score was just fine.
     
  8. fishbowl

    fishbowl Member

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    Graduate school after NROTC

    Just want to clarify post by Capt MJ. My child is trying to decide between NROTC and USNA. In the "Cons" column for ROTC is that graduates can't go to graduate school between undergrad and active duty. I thought it came off the Navy.com ROTC website, but I'd like to know if there are known cases where NROTC mids have gone to grad school right after graduating. Thanks
     
  9. AF6872

    AF6872 Member

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    USNA GRADUATE & Law School= Few and far between. SWO first then apply for Graduate School in most cases. Take LSAT and score high. Get accepted and finish. Listen to USNA1985. Some graduating Mids go to graduate school. It is my understanding that they are behind in their SWO certification. Don't know how that works for career.
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2010
  10. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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    ROTC IGEP (Immediate Graduate Education Program)

    http://www.usna.edu/AdminSupport/Instructions/1000-1999/1520-2y.pdf

    The link above takes you to the current instruction for USNA on IGEP (post-grad) programs. Of interest, if you slog though it, there are some programs at Naval Postgraduate School where ROTC midshipmen are eligible.

    This link takes you to one of the many Naval Postgraduate School entries I found that mention ROTC grads as being eligible for a Master's program after commissioning. See page 2.
    http://www.nps.edu/Academics/GSEAS/MAE/Brochures/MAE Brochure 2008.pdf

    fishbowl, Don't rush to make "can't go to grad school right after graduation" a huge weighting factor when considering ROTC vs. SA.

    The vast majority of midshipmen and cadets head right out to their warfare specialty, because that's what junior officers do - head to the operational world and start up the professional qualification ladder. All the services have a number of programs and opportunities for the Master's degree, after those first operational tours focused on professional warfare qualifications. And, it's quite true, if a junior officer goes to a grad program for a year or two, then to the ship, flight school or sub pipeline or whatever, they are indeed that number of years behind their peer group professionally. Ditto Marines. Yep, it's worth doing if they are on the Rhodes, Fullbright, MIT, Stanford, Harvard or other prestigious, life-long value in the resume programs, but they will come aboard their first operational command knowing squat compared to others of their commissioning year group, and will have to work extremely hard to catch up. Of course, later on, when their peers are getting their Master's, these JOs have the opportunity to do something else interesting because they already have their degree. One thing is for sure - only the very top of the class at SAs have an opportunity to apply for these, and I imagine it's the same for ROTC. They are the exception, rather than the rule.

    OK, I have frayed the end of this poor thread enough, I apologize.

    P.S. And just because something is true this year, does not mean it will be true in 4 years. The "needs of the Navy" (or whatever Service) govern everything. If they needed every JO to go right to the Fleet, the graduate program would be turned off in a heartbeat, because operational needs dominate. That's highly unlikely, but things happen. As an admiral I used to work for said, "If Moses didn't bring it down from the mountaintop carved in stone, every regulation, directive, instruction and program in the Navy can be written in Jello and is thus changeable."
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2010
  11. USNAwaterpolo

    USNAwaterpolo Member

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    Thank you all for the information. This definitely sucks, because becoming a lawyer is something I really thought I wanted to however. That being said, this provides one minor con against the THOUSANDS of pros of attending the Academy. This does not reduce my desire to be there in any way!
     
  12. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    I went to USNA and I'm an attorney. So is one of my USNA roommates and so are many of my USNA classmates. It's easy to do, just not directly out of USNA.
     
  13. fishbowl

    fishbowl Member

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    Thanks

    Thanks for clarifying Capt MJ. Many more "pros" in USNA column than NROTC on my kid's white erase board. Once kid got over obsessing about plebe summer and plebe year and really examined ''regular college experience' issues like getting a compatible room mate, study habits of other freshmen (kids at an overnight at my child's NROTC choice said that some kids sleep in the library the night before exams to get some sleep due to partying in the dorm), the "pros" of USNA really started to shine through.
     
  14. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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    Cycling back to USNAwaterpolo's initial post, see, you can go to law school after USNA, but the path may take a few twists and turns along the way.

    Heed usna1985's experience, insight and advice. I know many people who served in a warfare specialty, then resigned their commission, went back to school using GI Bill or VA benefits, then re-applied to come back in as a JAG, chaplain, doctor, nurse, even a vet (for the Army) - including a Marine ground officer who was re-commissioned as a Navy chaplain. The services know exactly who they are getting when they see a former officer applying: someone who knows how to be an officer, won't be surprised by the life and who truly wants to serve, again. Ditto for civilian firms who understand the value of military officer service, even though that service may be unrelated to the profession they are now in.

    You can go to law school 40 years from now, if you want. There's only a relatively brief window to become an officer. Let your life's journey unfold and be prepared to flex along the way.

    Congrats to USNAwaterpolo on the appointment, and to the many others on here across the forum who are headed for sweaty mornings and uniformed fun in the coming months.:thumb:
     

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