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The Army Lawyer


The War for Talent



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Right now, there is a law student out there—one who is driven to succeed and to serve a higher calling, but wondering where to begin. Throughout his or her life, this student has been a leader—perhaps in sports, in school, or among peers. He or she is a trusted confidant, a loyal teammate, a problem solver, and creative thinker who listens intently, communicates clearly, and radiates calm in stressful situations. This person is a lifelong learner and an eclectic reader, eager to grow as a leader and a lawyer. Maybe that person is you, sitting here, right now, reading this edition of The Army Lawyer.

If so, thank you for picking up this issue. We hope you enjoy reading it and learning more about who we are and what we do. If you are anything like the 10,000-plus judge advocates, civilian attorneys, paralegals, paraprofessionals, and legal administrators serving worldwide in our Corps, we know you will find the Judge Advocate General’s Corps (JAG) Corps a dynamic and diverse team—a place where you will have significant responsibilities from day one, and be supported at every turn by senior Soldiers and Civilians. That’s life in the Army JAG Corps—the oldest, biggest, and best law firm in the nation.

For those reading this issue who have served or are currently serving in our Corps, you know the importance we place on stewardship—the responsibility to care for our Regiment, our teammates, and ourselves.1 Stewardship also requires attracting and preparing the next generation of JAG Corps leaders to sustain our legacy of providing principled counsel and premier legal support to the best clients in the world. Recruiting is not just the responsibility of the Judge Advocate Recruiting Office or the field screening officers interacting with law students and attorneys across the Nation. Every member of our Regiment is a recruiter—scouting talent, sharing the JAG Corps’s story, and building our bench to shape our future. Every engagement is an opportunity to recruit, whether at a law school, a Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) unit, or during a field exercise.

Think back to why you joined the JAG Corps. Perhaps you wanted to practice at the forefront of national security law, advising commanders on how to employ emerging technologies in ways that are ethical and comply with the law of armed conflict.2 Maybe you wanted to gain courtroom experience early in your career, prosecuting courts-martial or zealously defending Soldiers accused of crimes. Service to country may have been your main motivation; or perhaps you liked the idea of practicing in all our diverse legal functions, getting the opportunity to travel the globe, or deploying in support of operations. Whatever your reasons for joining the JAG Corps, we encourage you to share your story with those who have the potential to thrive as dual professionals—as Army Soldiers and leaders, as well as attorneys. It’s an awesome opportunity and responsibility.

This issue of The Army Lawyer is dedicated to recruitment. Attracting and retaining the right talent—professionals with the right mix of integrity, grit, confidence, humility, communication skills, and leadership potential—is essential to the enduring success of our Corps. We have recently undertaken a revision of our recruiting strategy and developed a campaign plan in recognition that we, like the rest of the Army, are in a war for talent. We look forward to validating that strategy at our first-ever recruiting summit. We are excited to share some of what we learn from this summit in the pages of this magazine, and in a variety of other forums, in the upcoming months. TAL


MG Risch is the Deputy Judge Advocate General. LTC Lykling is currently assigned as the Chief, Judge Advocate Recruiting Office, Fort Belvoir, Virginia.


1. Stewardship is one of our Corps’s Constants, along with substantive mastery, servant leadership, and the spirit behind each of them—principled counsel. We define principled counsel as providing professional advice on law and policy, grounded in the Army Ethic and an enduring respect for the rule of law. That advice must be effectively communicated with appropriate candor and moral courage, so that leaders can make fully informed decisions. TJAG and DJAG Sends vol. 40-16, Principled Counsel—Our Mandate as Dual Professionals (Jan. 9, 2020).

2. As retired General Stanley McChrystal has explained, judge advocates play an indispensable role in shaping contemporary military operations. General Stanley A. McChrystal, foreword to U.S. Military Operations:  Law, Policy, and Practice, at xi-xii (Geoffrey S. Corn et al eds., 2016) (“Judge advocates contribute to strategic, operational, and tactical success by ensuring commanders understand and integrate applicable law and policy into each stage and aspect of an operation. In today’s fast-paced, often fluid operating environments, this is vital.”).