AFJAGS Podcast, Episode 39

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  • By Brig Gen Mitch Neurock, Lt Col Rebecca Otey & Capt Amanda Wang
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Air Force JAG Corps Air Reserve Component with Brig Gen Mitch Neurock, Lt Col Rebecca Otey and Capt Amanda Wang - Part 2

Host: Major Rick Hanrahan
Guests: Brig Gen Mitch Neurock, Lt Col Rebecca Otey and Capt Amanda Wang

Part two of our interview with Brig Gen Mitch Neurock, Lt Col Rebecca Otey and Capt Amanda Wang about serving in the Air Reserve Component or ARC.

Episode 39: Air Force JAG Corps Air Reserve Component with Brig Gen Mitch Neurock, Lt Col Rebecca Otey and Capt Amanda Wang - Part 1

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AUDIO | 33:17 | Air Force Judge Advocate Generals School Podcast - 39. Air Force JAG Corps Air Reserve Component with Brig Gen Mitch Neurock, Lt Col Rebecca Otey & Capt Amanda Wang - Part 2

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Major Rick Hanrahan:

Welcome to part two of our interview on the Air Force JAG Corps Air Reserve Component or ARC, with our three guests, Brigadier General Mitch Neurock, Lieutenant Colonel Rebecca Otey and Captain Amanda Wang, who collectively share their stories and unique officer perspectives on serving in the Air Force JAG Air Reserve Component. Here are a few clips from part two of the interview.

[background music]

Show Excerpts, Captain Amanda Wang:

So I think that at different points in your civilian career, different parts of the JAG Corps Reserve Components work better for you.

Show Excerpts, Brigadier General Mitch Neurock:

If you’ve got that spirit of service, if you’ve got real legal experience like we were talking about before, if you want greater meaning, there is a home for you in the Air Force Reserve as a judge advocate, and you should come play for us.


Welcome to The Air Force Judge Advocate General’s Reporter Podcast, where we interview leaders, innovators, and influencers on the law, leadership, and best practices of the day. And now to your host from The Air Force Judge Advocate General’s School.

[music fades out]

How Do You Balance A Civilian Career With A Part Time Military Career

Maj Hanrahan:

Yes, sir, and clearly, I’m seeing a theme here from all three of your accounts on taking that training that you get within the military. That’s very unique, right? And that is very valuable within the civilian sector. One question I have for all of you, and I’ll start off with General Neurock, since we’re discussing this right now, just a question that many folks may have is how do you balance a civilian career with a part time military career?

General Neurock:

It’s not always easy. And there are challenges that every one of us will face as members of the part time program. I’m very fortunate to have a very, very supportive civilian office back in Houston at the United States Attorney’s Office. They’ve always been supportive of my military service. They’ve been supportive despite the fact that I’ve been gone now for seven months in this position here—left my civilian job to come do this. But they are they’re tremendously supportive of it. 

Now, I feel very strong obligation back to them also, which is, you know, to try to provide as much support to them while I’m gone, and also to be super sensitive to the needs of the office while I’m there, too, knowing that they’ve gone the extra mile to support my service.

Really, the challenges we face are threefold: making sure that our civilian careers stay focused and moving in the right direction; we have personal and family commitments that we need to uphold and abide by; and we have military commitments and trying to keep all those things in balance. There’s no secret formula and there’s no set formula that will result in success for everybody. Everybody’s equilibrium is just a little bit different and devoting all your time to military at the expense of a civilian career and family life is going to make you unhappy in the long run and very likely unsuccessful also. And the same is true devoting yourself completely to personal life without regard for military service or your civilian career and so on.

But trying to find that equilibrium, knowing that there is going to be greater time spent, sometimes with military time as opposed to the other parts of your life, and sometimes having the ability maybe to spend a little bit less time with military because you’re focusing on civilian career or family obligations. It’s a sliding scale, and it’s something that shifts over time with each of us.

Maj Hanrahan:

Well, thank you, sir. And for Lieutenant Colonel Otey, I would ask you the same question. How have you been able to work to "balance your military obligations with your civilian obligations?"

Lieutenant Colonel Rebecca Otey:

Yeah, it is a great question. Badly sometimes. Most of the time I’ve managed to do it pretty well. I think the trick I learned early on and it was actually because I became a mom, not because I was down being a reservist or with a civilian life, was I used to think of it as like a three legged stool.

So all the parts should be equal all the time and that’s what gives me balance. I no longer think that way, which has helped me a lot. I now think a bit more like juggling. So the key for me is realizing that sometimes I’m going to have to throw a ball really high up in the air for a while and give it a lot of focus.

And the other balls are going to get closer to the ground. And that’s okay. As long as I’m able to, you know, get them again before they hit the ground, they’re not always going to all be at the same level. And that’s what makes it interesting. So for example, sometimes my civilian job is really busy, and because I’m a partner in a small firm, I need to be here to make sure that my firm is successful.

And the military is understanding of that. As long as I let them know. And I’ve been very lucky that way that I’ve always felt like my bosses in the military side are willing to help as much as they can, as long as they know what’s going on. And so good communication has been key. 

And likewise, sometimes in my civilian job, like with COVID, when all the courts basically got shut down, it wasn’t as busy. And I was able to give back to the military by taking a longer extra duty as an ADC out at Keesler to assist the military when they really needed a body and I was qualified to assist. 

And so that’s been how I’ve learned to balance. I don’t know if that’s right for everybody, but I think communication with all the other people that are involved with the military, my civilian life and my family life, along with recognizing it’s not always going to be equal in all three parts has been a really good formula for my personal ability to juggle everything.

Maj Hanrahan:

Great insights there. Thank you for sharing. And Captain Wang, same question over to you.

Capt Wang:

So I think that at different points in your civilian career, different parts of the JAG Corps Reserve Components work better for you. So I started out as an IMA reservist like Colonel Otey is. And at the time, that worked really well because I was working at Social Security. I didn’t have any individual clients of my own.

So I was able to leave my civilian job for a week or two at a time and devote that time fully to the Air Force. But now that I’m at the Department of the Interior, I do have clients, and it’s harder to leave for longer periods of time. So that was actually part of the reason I wanted to switch over to CAT A, to a reserve unit.

So I think that this is going to actually be a lot better for my civilian clients because I’ll be able to be more available to them. Because now actually I don’t even have to do what General Neurock said was one weekend, a month and two weeks per year. But I’m actually able to split my annual tour and include it with my one weekend a month. So basically, I’m going to be doing a three day weekend once a month and never have to do a giant two week stint. So that is going to work out really well for me and my civilian career just at this point in my life.

But when I was at Social Security, I had a lot more time, there was a lot more flexibility. While I was at Social Security, I was actually able to pick up a long tour with the reserves, and I did 96 days when they needed, when my base, my active duty unit, needed more help. So that was really rewarding to be able to do that. But I do think that there is a lot of flexibility in the JAG Corps to allow for whatever sort of demands are on you for your civilian life.

Also, when I was an IMA reservist I was able to be at, to be stationed at bases that were close to my house. So I was able to drive there. It was really easy to get there and back. I also didn’t have to go that frequently, so it was really easy to only go a few times a year and then not have to—it’s like exactly what Colonel Otey was saying with the juggling of the balls and with the IMA program, you really can focus on your reserve career for a little while and then not have to think about it for maybe nine months. Just depending on when you do your tours. And when I was an IMA reservist, I usually did one week in December, one week in March and two weeks in July.

And that was it. That was all I had to do for the whole year. So now as a CAT A reservist, I am going once a month, but it’s just once a month for a weekend. And so that’s actually much less of an impact on my family life as well, because I’m not gone for those long extended periods of time. So it’s much shorter. It’s more frequent, but it’s shorter. Oh, go ahead.

General Neurock:

No, I was I was just going to say that’s a terrific example of the flexibility we have in our program. First of all, the ability to do the extended weekend with the traditional reserve unit. But also the mobility between parts of the program, right? Because depending on what your life circumstances are like, you can, you don’t just come into our program and you’re stuck in, in one part of our program. You can flow between—back and forth between programs depending on your civilian life, your civilian career, and your personal and family needs; to move back and forth to different parts of the program to help you serve in the most meaningful way possible.

Capt Wang:

Yes. And I actually, I think, that I’m hoping that in the future, at some point, I get assigned to one of those overseas bases because I think that would be really great. But again, that would be the longer periods of time, but only a few times per year. So if I get to a point in my career where I am able to have some more of that time where I can leave my civilian job, I definitely do want to try to get one of those overseas bases and give that a try.

I also, you know, even when I was doing these weeks away from my civilian job, I would still in the evenings, you know, log on to my work e-mail and check it. And, you know, I was still accessible by phone and everything. And as a federal employee, all of my employers have always been super supportive of me leaving to do military service.

There are also laws that require that any civilian job lets you go and can’t penalize you for doing that. But beyond what is legally required of them, they’ve always been very supportive. So I really do appreciate that. 

And it’s kind of cool because as a federal employee, you get military leave where you’re paid on leave with your civilian job and then you at the same time get paid by the reserves. So it’s kind of nice because you make a little extra money. It’s not in the budget and you can use that money for home improvements or other things. So it’s kind of great.

General Neurock:

Nobody joined this program to get rich, but that doesn’t hurt. [laughter]

Capt Wang:

Doesn’t hurt.

Flexibility Equals Retention

Maj Hanrahan:

Well, thank you, Captain Wang. Great insights there. And for General Neurock. And you kind of alluded to this a little bit there, but it seems to me that the flexibility of the reserve component is likely a key to the retention of our reservists. Would that be a fair statement?

General Neurock:

It’s a very fair statement. We want to make sure that we are able to help our people serve in the most effective way possible. So we do value stability in our program. So it’s more than just service, definitely selfless service. And we talked about how to try to get people assigned to where their civilian skills are going to really make an impact.

But stability matters to us. And, you know, we have people who want to remain in place a little bit longer, maybe not move around so much and maybe want to be as close to home as possible. But then there are some people who join and they say, I want to, I want to join so I can see the world. So please assign me to that base in Japan or in Turkey so that I can do something that’s completely different from my civilian life. I don’t want to stay close to home. And we have the ability to move people around that way, too. 

But for people who want to stay in place for longer, we are certainly sensitive to that. The active duty appreciates when we can leave people in place longer because it provides continuity and stability for them also. And it helps us build ties with the active duty and with our local communities also. So we want to encourage that. 

We do have the flexibility to move people between programs. We have the flexibility to move people to different locations around the JAG Corps and in fact, we encourage that because for people’s professional development, it’s important that you try different things, that you work in a different set of office circumstances, different types of missions and keeping people moving around like that. It’s good for them. You don’t get into a rut and you develop better as you develop better as a professional, too. 

So we do have the flexibility to accommodate people’s life circumstances. If you need, as they say in the Air Force, if you need to throttle back a little bit because, you know, things in the rest of your life are getting a little busy, we can work with you on that. And if you have more time to devote, we can try to get you to a position where you can put that desire to serve a little bit extra into play also.

Maj Hanrahan:

Well, sir, that’s great to hear, especially for listeners that may be considering this as a career option. They know there’s some flexibility there, right, that they can work through your team there if needed.

General Neurock:


Favorite Experiences

Maj Hanrahan:

Yes, sir. So this is hopefully a softball question, an easy question, but just curious to get your insights on this. What has been one of your favorite experiences in the JAG Corps Reserves?

General Neurock:

For me, hands down, it was the time serving as the recruiter for the JAG program, for the JAG Reserve and for the Air National Guard Judge Advocate Program. You meet so many great people, be able to talk about what our program is like, the different ways that you can serve, the different things that you can do, the places you can go, and helping people find out whether or not this is for them.

Military service isn’t for everybody, but for those that it works for, it’s terrific. People bring in all kinds of contributions and skills, and they grow as people. They grow as professionals. They grow as individuals. And it makes not just the JAG Corps better. It makes not just the Air Force and the Space Force better, but it makes the practice of law, the profession better. And it makes the individuals better as human beings, too.

So helping people find something that really works for them and matching them with the right program and matching them at the right location where they can serve most effectively and most meaningfully, that by far has been the most rewarding thing that I’ve done in my entire career. And I’ve done a lot of, a lot of fun things, a lot of difficult things, but a lot of fun things also. But that I got to say, that was the funnest of them all.

Maj Hanrahan:

Well, thank you, sir. And Lieutenant Colonel Otey, same question over to you. What has been one of the best experiences you had in the Reserve Corps?

Lt Col Otey:

Yes. So I’m going to actually say I have two. One was a training I got to go to and one was a position I had. 

So the training I got to go to, which I just found fascinating, and I would not have had this experience as a civilian, was the accident investigations course for aircraft. It was not something I realized I would be interested in necessarily. But I went, I attended down at the JAG school for an in-person training and found out that I just thought it was fascinating. I liked it. I liked the idea of how it works and our part that we contribute to it. So that was a really interesting opportunity for me. Like General Neurock had said, to find something I didn’t even know I was going to be excited about because I happened to be in the reserves.

The position I’ve enjoyed the most so far, although I’ve liked every position I’ve been in, has been appellate defense. It was on my bucket list back when I was active duty. I still got to go and be a part of that team as a reservist and it is just an amazing mission. It’s an amazing group of people. They are intelligent, they’re thoughtful, they’re committed, and it’s just one of the best teaming environments you can possibly be in. Everybody in that office is just supporting you and all for everything that you’re trying to do, and it’s unlike anything else I’ve gotten to be a part of, and I would go back in a heartbeat.

Maj Hanrahan:

Well, thank you for sharing ma’am. Over to you, Captain Wang.

Capt Wang:

For me, because I’ve never been active duty, my favorite experiences as a JAG have been experiences that make me feel like I’m really in the Air Force. And I love wearing the uniform. I love doing legal assistance and helping other military members. But for me, I’ve had the opportunity to race in the Air Force Marathon in uniform as a military member, and that has been really rewarding.

There’s something called the MAJCOM challenge. They changed the name just recently to the Air and Space Challenge. But what it is, is the different major commands of the Air Force and the Space Force compete against each other at the Air Force Marathon for bragging rights about which command is the best. And I actually raced once for AFSOC when I was at Cannon Air Force Base. So I raced with an active duty MAJCOM which is—AFSOC is Special Operations Command. And then I also raced for the Air Force Reserve Command once. And that was really cool to getting to represent the reserves.

I also represented just myself as a military member in the Bataan Memorial Death March, which is held at White Sands Missile Range. And so that wasn’t actually an Air Force event, but anyone I competed in uniform wearing my full Air Force uniform. It was a full trail marathon. And I was just really proud to be wearing that uniform. And people were like, “Yay”, go Air Force." And that made me really proud. 

They also wanted us to bring a coin from our unit to leave at the Bataan Memorial Death March, and they made a collection. And so this was when I was at Cannon Air Force Base, and I happen to have a JAG Commando Coin for Special Operations, and I was able to leave that at the missile range and that just made me feel like really part of the military, part of the JAG Corps, part of AFSOC at the time. So that was really great.

How to Apply

Maj Hanrahan:

Well, thanks for highlighting that, Captain Wang. I think it’s a definitely imperative to remember that we are—when you serve, you’re also you’re an officer and a lawyer at the same time. So having that operational experiences, are for many people, are highlights to their career. 

So obviously we could talk on and on with this topic, but as we kind of move into our final few questions. For General Neurock, if folks have an interest in applying to the JAG Corps Reserves, how would they go about doing that?

General Neurock:

Well, there are a couple of ways. First of all, is to find us on the Web and you can find us at /JAG, so AF (Air Force), or we’re also on Facebook, So you can find us on the Web at either of those places or you can call us at (703) 697-2213 [repeat] (703) 697-2213. And there you can speak with a live human being who will talk about our programs with you and answer all your questions and help you figure out what part of the program might be best for you.

We have a team of people who are dedicated to our recruiting efforts for the Air Force Reserve, for the Air National Guard, and helping people find the way to serve that’s going to be the most meaningful for them.

So if you are selected and if you’ve never served before, we would send you to initial training, teach you how to be an Air Force officer. All our training is done in Montgomery, Alabama, at a place called Maxwell Air Force Base. We’ll send you there for eight weeks to do officer training and then, if, right after that, we’ll send you for an additional nine weeks for training on how to be a JAG, so that’ll be JAG specific legal training.

So there is a time commitment. If you’ve never served before, as you join our program that first year, you’re going to be kind of busy getting the officer training and getting the JAG training. But then after that, you’re able to settle into that reserve schedule that Colonel Otey has and that Captain Wang have talked about.

I should mention that there is an age limit. So if you’ve never served before as a commissioned officer, you got to be younger than 35. We do have a little bit of flexibility, not terribly much, but we do have some. But as long as you’re under that age, we do have the opportunity to bring you in, but really find us on the web at or on Facebook or call us at (703) 697-2213.

Maj Hanrahan:

And sir, in conjunction with that, are there any additional resources outside of which you’ve already mentioned, where listeners can learn more about the Air Reserve Component?

General Neurock:

The websites that we have are very, very comprehensive. So I think that’s the best place for people to look and do not be shy about calling the phone number because we’re excited to talk with people about our program. Happy to tell you the positives. And you know there are negatives, too. It’s a time commitment and it is a change from civilian life. And so we’ll talk all through that with you and answer all your questions. So please do not hesitate to make a phone call.

Final Thoughts

Maj Hanrahan:

Thank you, sir. And I have one final question for all three of our guests. And I’m going to start off with Captain Wang. Then go to Lieutenant Colonel Otey and let General Neurock have the final answer on this one. 

So my final question is, are any final thoughts or comments that you have on today’s topic that we discussed or maybe other areas that we just didn’t get a chance to talk about?

Capt Wang:

Sure. I just—I’m always recommending to new attorneys that I meet in my civilian capacity that they consider joining the Air Force Reserve JAG Corps, because I really do think it’s just a great way to serve. And it also just advances your civilian career as well. It allows you to diversify, get different experiences. Especially for federal employees, I think it’s really beneficial. So whenever someone you know, whenever I’m mentoring young attorneys, I always recommend this is something that they should consider. 

And, you know, for a lot of people, they’re like, I don’t think I can because I have kids or I don’t think I can because my career is so busy. Those first, that first year where you do have to go to officer training school and JAG school can be difficult, but people make it work. And, you know, that’s what in-laws are for [laughter], and spouses and things like that. But I think it’s totally worth it. I, I really enjoy it. I’m so glad I’m in. I’m really hoping to continue my career for many more years. I just think it’s a great program.

You know, you get opportunities, lots of chances for continuing legal education. I know that sometimes in my civilian job, I don’t get as much continuing legal education as I sometimes need. But the Air Force Reserve has a thing called Annual Survey of the Law and they send you to it every two years. It’s two days, and you get all of the CLEs you need for a year, and it includes ethics. There’s also tons of online CLEs that you can attend. So that’s a great thing as well. 

I know also some folks who work in private practice in small firms enjoy being in the reserves because you’re also eligible for TRICARE, which is health insurance, and it’s very affordable. So there are just lots of benefits for someone who is in the reserves.

But also we have this great opportunity to serve, give back to the military, to military members and to our country. And I just really love it. So thank you for this opportunity.

Maj Hanrahan:

Thank you, Captain Wang. And over to you, Lieutenant Colonel Otey.

Lt Col Otey:

Yes, well, I agree with everything Captain Wang has said. I will say that another avenue that I’ve had people reach out to me through is if you, even if you are done with your law school training already, and you’re out practicing, if you go back to your career counselors at your law school, a lot of them will connect you with an alumni who might be in the reserves or in the military already. And that might be a more personal connection if you’re wanting to have a more private conversation or if you just want to reach out to somebody that you already have a connection with to learn more about the reserves and I know that I do that regularly for my law school, and I enjoy it. Even if they don’t end up deciding to partake in the reserves, it’s another person that I get a chance to meet and have a conversation with. And we both normally walk away, you know, maintaining that connection that we’ve made.

I will also say that I think that the military has a ton to offer anybody. And if you don’t think you can do it, I promise you can. I have two amazing kids. I have a husband, like I said, that’s in law enforcement that his job is challenging also. And we’ve made it work. So it is doable. It is fascinating. It is fun. If you come with the right attitude, I guarantee there’s plenty of things that will keep you coming back for more.

And if you find out it’s not the right fit, it’s not an indefinite commitment. So you’re not required to do 20 years just because you decide to come in and try it out for a while. We’d like you to stay. But if it doesn’t end up being the right fit for you long term, I think it’s still a great experience to have even for four years or the time that you commit yourself to it.

Maj Hanrahan:

Well, thank you so much for those comments, ma’am. And sir, General Neurock over to you for final thoughts on today’s discussion.

General Neurock:

You know, a lot of listeners to this program are active duty judge advocates now. And if you’re an active duty JAG and you’re listening to this, you know our program is great because we’re talking about it all the time. And you’ve heard us talk about it all the time. So, you know, this program is good.

It’s a tremendous privilege to lead such a group of dedicated and terrific professionals. And so that’s—it’s just an amazing group of people that we have talented and dedicated and very, very highly skilled. So if you got that spirit of service, though, and you not been an active duty judge advocate before, if you’ve got real legal experience and you want greater meaning to your professional life, and to your entire life, honestly. It doesn’t matter what civilian law specialty you’re in, virtually any civilian legal specialty has got some use in the JAG Corps, even stuff you might not think about so much.

I mean, we don’t do a lot of corporate mergers and acquisitions in the JAG Corps but we do a lot of contract law and we do a lot of very sophisticated negotiations and legal work that involves large scale procurements. So even things that you think, well, I don’t know if my skills can be applied here. I’ll bet they can.

And there is a world of opportunity in the JAG Corps as a reservist. So if you’ve got that spirit of service, if you’ve got real legal experience like we were talking about before, if you want greater meaning, there is a home for you in the Air Force Reserve as a judge advocate, and you should come play for us because we would love to have you.

So we value service, we value stability, we value community. And those ties that we have with the rest of the JAG Corps, with our local communities as citizen Airmen, the ties that we have with our nation, with the rest of the Air Force, with the rest of the Space Force, all of those things bind us together and they make our service meaningful.

So if you’ve got that desire to serve look, into being a reserve judge advocate, and I think you’ll like what you see. We’d love to have you.

Maj Hanrahan:

Sir. Thank you so much. I’m inspired just listening to you and all of the guests today. General Neurock, thank you for coming on. Lieutenant Colonel Otey, thank you as well. And Captain Wang, thank you as well for coming on today. Much appreciated for sharing your thoughts and insights to all the listeners.

General Neurock:

It’s been a pleasure. It’s been fun.

Capt Wang:

Yes. Thank you very much.

Lt Col Otey:

Thank you for having us.


Maj Hanrahan:

That concludes our interview. Here are my three takeaways. 

The Air Force JAG Corps Reserve Component is, NUMBER ONE, a great opportunity to serve your country part time. As Brigadier General Neurock said, it’s about that “search for meaning,” to become part of a mission bigger than yourself and the ability to enhance your personal and professional growth that you likely wouldn’t otherwise have had the ability to do. And as stated in the interview, serving in the reserve component doesn’t take the place of your civilian career. Rather, it compliments it. You’ll be able to remain a part of your local community and serve.

NUMBER TWO, flexibility in service and practice. With respect to the service, the Air Reserve Component is comprised of two main parts, as discussed in our interview, which include the Air Force Reserves and the Air National Guard.

The Air National Guard has the dual mission to both the federal government and its state. While the reserves mimics active duty in support of the federal mission. 

Within the reserves, there are two subcomponents if you will, including the traditional reserves and augmentees to active duty units. The main difference between these two subcomponents is when and how members serve. 

As Brigadier General Neurock mentioned, a traditional reserve member, like a traditional Air National Guard member, serves one drill weekend per month and their annual two weeks per year. And this is a great option for many folks and what Captain Wang is currently doing. It’s good for people who are generally only available on the weekends. However, it could be a bit too rigid in schedule for some folks, depending on their civilian schedule.

The augmentee component serves two weeks per year, plus an additional 12 days that can be scheduled based on the member and unit’s availability. In other words, there’s typically a bit more flexibility with your work compared to the traditional reserve route. However, keep in mind that the work generally needs to be done during the week, but telework can be used at times. Overseas offices use this approach and this is what Lieutenant Colonel Otey is currently doing.

With respect to flexibility in practice, the reserve component, like its active duty counterpart, practices in three main domains of law, including military justice and discipline, civil law and litigation, and operations and international law. And within these areas of law, there are many disciplines and nuances. What areas you practice in will depend on your unit and missions’ needs.

AND NUMBER THREE, the Air Reserve Component offers professional development and new experiences. Serving in the military as a lawyer will likely be a new experience for most. It may require you to step outside your comfort zone and engage in areas of law that you’ve never done before. But this can be a great opportunity for many. As Brigadier General Neurock stated, it was the military that provided him his first experience in appellate law.

He had never previously practiced appellate law. However, he came to truly enjoy appellate practice and eventually leveraged his military experience into a full time civilian job. As an Assistant U.S. Attorney doing appellate work.

Lieutenant Colonel Otey stated she was both a prosecutor and defense attorney while on active duty, which helped her develop as a litigator. When she entered the reserves, she worked on contract law for the first time, and this ultimately helped her develop new skills, which she applied in her general practice law firm. She also conducted estate planning in the military, which also enhanced her civilian practice.

And Captain Wong said she started her legal career as a public defender, where she worked for about three years until she moved into the Social Security Administration division. While there, she focused exclusively on disability law and found that she wanted to diversify her legal skillsets. She saw the reserve component as a great way to do this along with her interest in public service. Through her military experience, she developed new legal skillsets, which she ultimately leveraged into jobs with the Army Corps of Engineers and Department of the Interior Office of the Solicitor.

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In closing, our three guests offered their unique experiences that showcased many of the benefits of serving as a lawyer part time.

I’m sure if we brought in other reserve component JAGs, we would hear many more stories like theirs. Ultimately, the reserve component is a great way to become part of the mission bigger than oneself with flexibility, opportunity, and esprit de corps that is unique to military service alone. I also note that we plan to hold a subsequent interview where we’ll speak with a group of paralegals within the reserve component to showcase their experiences.

Thank you for listening to another episode. If you like this episode, please let us know by leaving review on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or your favorite podcast platform and consider subscribing to the show. We will see you on the next episode.


Thank you for listening to another episode of The Air Force Judge Advocate General’s Reporter Podcast. Please subscribe to our show on iTunes or Stitcher and leave a review. This helps us grow, innovate, and develop an even better JAG Corps. Until next time.


Nothing from this show or any others should be construed as legal advice. Please consult an attorney for any legal issue. Nothing from this show is endorsed by the Federal Government, Air Force, or any of its components. All content and opinions are those of our guests and host. Thank you.

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  • ADC: Area Defense Counsel
  • AFJAGS: Air Force Judge Advocate General’s School
  • AFSOC: Special Operations Command
  • ARC: Air Reserve Component
  • IMA: individual mobilization augmentee
  • JAG: judge advocate general
  • MAJCOM: major command
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