Wanted: Air Force paralegal retrainees

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Mary Barton
  • Air Force Flight Test Center Judge Advocate
The Judge Advocate General corps is seeking motivated retrainees for the paralegal career field. If you are looking for new opportunities or have been identified for retraining, the JAG corps may have just what you are looking for. 

Paralegals assist attorneys in providing legal support to commanders, first sergeants and other key personnel on a wide range of legal issues such as international and operational law, civil law, military justice and claims. 

In 1955, paralegals were recognized as their own career field and awarded their own Air Force specialty code. In 1979, the Air Force approved a Community College of the Air Force Associate Degree program, and the American Bar Association now offers certification for paralegals upon completion of their CCAF degree. Upon retirement or separation from the Air Force, the ABA certification qualifies a military paralegal to continue to work as a paralegal in a civilian law firm. 

Paralegal apprentice training is a six-week course at the Air Force JAG school at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala. Students learn the basic skills to perform duties at a base legal office, including civil law administration, nonjudicial punishment, and pre- and post-trial administration of military justice and claims. They must pass six written tests in addition to progress checks throughout the course. 

In 2003, the paralegal apprentice course opened its doors to non-prior military personnel. New trainees are now given the opportunity to volunteer at basic military training. As part of the application process, new trainees are required to write a biography and be interviewed. The career field is highly competitive and only some of the best are selected. 

The paralegal career field is all volunteer, consisting of about 1,440 enlisted Airmen, and is open to military personnel of all AFSCs. To be considered for selection, applicants must be able to type 25 words per minute, have a minimum general aptitude score of 51 on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery examination and have no convictions by courts-martial, Article 15s or civilian court convictions. Minor traffic violations and similar infractions are not considered civilian court convictions. Reserve opportunities as an individual mobilization augmentee are also available. 

For more information, call Master Sgt. Sandra Pfeffer at 277-4310.