Every day you may make progress. Every step may be fruitful. Yet there will stretch out before you an ever-lengthening, ever-ascending, ever-improving path. You know you will never get to the end of the journey. But this, so far from discouraging, only adds to the joy and glory of the climb.
- Winston Churchill
And a glorious climb for The Army Lawyer it has been.
A little over a year ago, I sat in my office in the Pentagon, looking at my computer screen, reading an article in The Army Lawyer. The article was great—well written, informative—everything you would expect from the written work of a member of our Corps. However, something was missing—a certain intangible in the publication. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, though. Then, as often happens, I was called to collaborate on a pressing issue, closed the publication, and moved on with the business of the day.
A few weeks later, we published that year’s Quill & Sword. The Quill & Sword included the usual information on assignments with the addition of some articles written by judge advocates in the field. When Major General (MG) Risch and I received a hard copy, we immediately read it; excited to see what other members of our Regiment were up to outside of the walls of the Pentagon. We heard other people talking about it in the hallway—it seemed people were excited for the Quill & Sword in a way that we hoped they would be excited for The Army Lawyer. The Strategic Initiatives team, then Lieutenant Colonel Jeri Hanes and Major Laura Grace, had transformed the Quill & Sword into an exceptional hardcopy publication. We realized we needed to make a change. Indeed, the reaction to the Quill & Sword confirmed long standing discussions between MG Risch and me about bringing The Army Lawyer back into print.
Major General Risch and I talked it over, and we engaged members of our Strategic Initiatives Office and the talented team of editors and professors at The Judge Advocate General’s Legal Center and School, and we asked them to take The Army Lawyer and transform it. We wanted to publish a product that showcased the best of our Corps by exploring what judge advocates, our Civilian lawyers, legal administrators, and paralegals do during the duty day—from providing first-class legal assistance services to trying courts-martial to advising commanders on the battlefield—while also featuring who we are as a Corps.
Change can be daunting, and it can also be incredibly rewarding. As I write this, our Army is in the midst of a Renaissance—changes to warfighting doctrine, formations, weapons, and systems, collectively—from which will emerge a vastly different Army. Just as our client changes, we must also change, and with that change comes endless opportunity. It has not been without great effort, however, to make this particular change happen, and on behalf of all of the Senior Leaders in our Corps, I want to thank the editorial board and all of those who have helped make the “new” Army Lawyer a success.
Don’t forget, though—you have made all of that possible. By giving us constant feedback and, more importantly, by providing us with excellent content, you have kept the lights on, so to speak, by telling your stories and sharing your knowledge. As a new team takes the reins of the The Army Lawyer editorial board, and we say farewell to those who step off to new challenges, we will continue to improve The Army Lawyer and ensure it is a publication befitting the oldest and best law firm in the Nation.
Major General Risch and I look forward to year two of The Army Lawyer and can’t wait to see your article grace its pages. We want you to be Lawyers of Record. Whether you publish in the Military Law Review, The Army Lawyer, Parameters, or any number of possible venues, put your pen to paper and change the way someone thinks. Share your views on an important best practice at a warfighter exercise, or give your studied view of our military justice practice. The opportunities are endless. And with each opportunity you seize, you shape our practice, you make another practitioner better than before, and you become a Lawyer of Record, all while refining yet another critical skill in your lawyer’s tool box.
Our hope for each of you in this extraordinary Corps is that you develop into the best Lawyer you can be—and every good lawyer worth their salt has something to offer the lawyer to their left and “write.”
No doubt Churchill above served as inspiration for our storied 10th Mountain Division—with whose motto I close—Climb to Glory!
Be Ready . . . and Keep Writing! TAL