BYU Law School has students becoming members of the JAG Corps in every branch of the military: the United States Army, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard, and Navy. Each year the Law School successfully places an average of between six and eight students in military careers. This year, in addition to the ten students who the military services accepted as soon-to-be JAG Corps officers, six others are in ROTC or on another path to military service as a lawyer.
“Not only are [our students] well prepared for a broad range of military service, but the various JAG Corps recognize that and want our graduates. That is a big deal,” said Professor Eric Jensen. “[Placing students in each branch] illustrates the quality of our students and the pipeline the school represents into meaningful government service.”
BYU Law provides a variety of opportunities to help expose students to military options and gain hands-on experience. Maura Bochte (Navy), third-year law student, interned at the Department of Defense in Washington D.C. as part of the Law School’s Washington Seminar. Bochte was able to learn about military culture, the work JAG lawyers perform, and network with active duty and retired JAG lawyers. “My experience there was incredible and I would highly recommend the Washington Seminar to any student interested in working for the military,” Bochte said.
In addition, BYU Law offers several classes directly related to military law. “Being able to take classes like Law of Armed Conflict, Criminal Trial Practice, and National Security Law really go a long way in giving you an introductory context to the complex and challenging space in which Judge Advocates operate,” said Jon McClurg (ROTC), third-year law student.
Professor Jensen teaches BYU Law’s military law classes and is the faculty advisor to the Military and National Security Law Club. He provides students with valuable insights from his 20 years of service in the Army as a Judge Advocate (JAG). “Professor Jensen shaped his field in many interesting and impactful ways,” said Cameron McAlister (Marine Corps), third-year law student. “Having someone here with that kind of experience is incredibly helpful to anyone who wants to go into military or international law.”
In addition to sharing his expertise in class, Professor Jensen mentors students and has influenced their law school experience and future careers. “Professor Jensen is extremely accessible to students and respectful of their opinions [even though we may] lack expertise in a given area,” McAlister continued. “He is always willing to help a student who is struggling with a concept or wants feedback.”
Former students continue to note Professor Jensen’s influence after they graduate and are well into their careers. “He showed me how, as a JAG, I could have a positive [and] global impact,” said Captain Collin Allan, (‘13), Air Force JAG. “Without Professor Jensen, I wouldn’t be in the military.”
BYU Law Career Services and Professional Development along with the Military and National Security Club bring in professionals throughout the school year to discuss their military experience with students. The information helps students broaden their understanding so they can determine if the military is the right fit.
“The school equips students to handle the rigorous intellectual aspects of law, while also preparing them with the practical skills to hit the ground running immediately upon graduation,” said Paul Hulbert (Navy summer internship), third-year law student and president of the Military and National Security Law Club.
Value of a Legal Military Career
Quotes from students and alumni
“I have learned so much about the world and the law because of my service in the military. I wouldn’t trade this opportunity for anything, and I could commend it to anyone interested in serving his or her country.” —Captain Collin Allan, (‘13), Air Force JAG
Giving Back to Our Country
“[Serving in the military provides] a consistent opportunity to use the legal skills I gained during my time at BYU Law to help others and to make a positive difference in their lives. That is one of the biggest motivating factors that led me to law school in the first place. I also have a strong love for my country and the values espoused in the Constitution.” —Lieutenant Spencer Sare, (‘18), Air Force
Participating in Something Bigger than Yourself
“It is one of the legal practices that is not ruled by billable hours and allows you to give each problem the time it deserves. It is a collaborative environment and also offers a great work-life balance, while still providing fantastic legal training and immediate hands-on experience. The biggest reason I would recommend the military is because it is an opportunity to participate in something greater than yourself.” —Lieutenant Spencer Sare, (‘18), Air Force
Greater Meaning to My Life
“I worked for an investment bank before coming to law school. While I was there, I realized that there was an element of service and fulfillment missing from my daily work. Making rich people richer was an honorable gig, but when looking around at the people in my family I really admired, I realized they had all served the country in some way. And, I wanted to follow their example. After networking with a friend who had served as a Judge Advocate, I realized becoming a military lawyer would be the perfect synthesis of my personal interests and an organization dedicated to service. I came to BYU Law with the goal of joining the military, and I’m lucky I did because BYU Law is the best place in the country to go to school if you’re looking to become a military lawyer.” —Jon McClurg, third-year law student, ROTC