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Judge Advocate General's Corps announces law school programs

WASHINGTON -- Applications for the Funded Legal Education Program (FLEP) and Excess Leave Program (ELP) are being accepted from 1 January through 1 March 2014. Interested officers are encouraged to compete. The number of FLEP and ELP applicants selected n any academic year is determined based on the needs of the Air Force.

"Our Air Force missions are constantly changing, and commanders deserve to have access to legal advisors with a broad background of military experiences," said Major Sean Elameto, the Chief of the Accessions Branch, Professional Development Directorate, Office of the Judge Advocate General. "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."

According to Major Elameto, Air Force JAGs do more than just provide legal assistance. 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.

"Every facet of every Air Force mission is bound by elements of the law," Major Elameto stated.

The FLEP is a paid legal studies program for active-duty Air Force commissioned officers. The FLEP is an assignment action, and participants receive full pay, allowances, and tuition. FLEP 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. The FLEP is subject to tuition limitations, and positions may be limited due to overall funding availability. The Air Force Institute of Technology tuition limit for FY14 is expected to be set at approximately $16,000 per year.

The 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 FY14 FLEP and ELP will be accepted from 1 January 2014 through 1 March 2014. Both the FLEP and ELP require attendance at an American Bar Association (ABA) approved 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 have completed all application forms, applied (acceptance is not required at the time of application for FLEP/ELP) to at least one ABA approved law school, received their Law School Admissions Test results, and completed a Staff Judge Advocate interview by 1 March 2014. We strongly suggest that you endeavor to schedule your interview before 15 February 2014. Officers must also 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 entire application package using a "whole person" concept. AFI 51-101, Judge Advocate Accession Program, Chapters 2 and 3, discuss the FLEP and ELP.
For more information and application materials, visit www.airforce.com/jag, contact Capt Natalie A. Cepak at the Andersen base legal office (natalie.cepak.2@us.af.mil or 366-2937), or contact Captain Megan C. Mallone, HQ USAF/JAX (megan.mallone@pentagon.af.mil or 1-800-JAG-USAF).

Additionally, our Sister Services provide similar Funded Legal Education programs that allow their commissioned officers the same experiences.

United States Marine Corps: For more information please see http://www.hqmc.marines.mil/sja/Branches/SupportBranch(JAS).aspx or contact Capt Rico Acosta at rico.acosta1@usmc.mil

United States Army: For more information please see https://www.jagcnet.army.mil/sites/jaro.nsf/home.xsp

United States Navy: For more information please see http://www.jag.navy.mil/careers_/careers/opportunities_lep.html