Legal Quandary

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Wardrobe Malfunction

I was up late last night doing trial prep work. When I finally got around to getting myself ready for bed, Mr. Q was already dreaming blissfully.

I was doing the whole bedtime routine and had just flushed the toilet when there was a huge crash that sounded like it came from the wall where the pipes to the toilet are. I fully expected water to start gushing out...or something. Mr. Q woke up and came running into the the bathroom asking, "Are you ok???" (Maybe he thought I was this lady.)

Anyway, no water erupted from the walls. Lil Q hadn't fallen out of bed. And there was no one banging on any of the doors to our house. We chalked it up to random freaky noises and just went to bed.

This morning, as I went to grab my shoes out of the closet, I saw that one of our closet maid shelf/hanger thingies had ripped right out of the wall! (Guess we loaded it a little heavy. Though I still say it was only partly our fault - the closet is designed in a way that makes it impossible to make that particular system structurally sound enough to hold much weight.)

What we heard was all of our stuff falling onto the closet floor.

Monday, June 25, 2007


I've been working on direct examination questions all evening to prep for an upcoming trial. I thought I was done and was headed to bed, but apparently through my own stupidity, I failed to save the MOST IMPORTANT set of questions.



Guess I'll be up for awhile if anyone wants to IM me.

Weight Watching

Mr. Q and I took the kids to Disney World last week. I noticed a couple of things. First, I'm not wild about either Epcot or MGM - I really feel Disney should combine them and make one decent park instead of 2 mediocre ones. Second, I've put on some weight since our last trip 4 years ago.

How do I know this? Mainly because I'm "thrifty" and haven't really bought new shorts since then. (Hey...we lived in Seattle - not exactly known for shorts weather.) Anyway the shorts I bought 4 years ago are more than a little snug these days. Which is sort of sad because that was the summer AFTER I had a baby but right BEFORE I went to law school.

The moral of this story? Law school is worse for your waistline than childbearing.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

At the risk of drunk-blogging...

Just a quick Happy Anniversary, Kirby!



Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Basketball Blues

One of the perks of Air Force life is that you're literally ordered to go to the gym 2-3 times a week. What happens once you get there varies from unit to unit, but where I work, we have one day a week where we show up for "mandatory" PT. At some bases, this means doing stretches and calisthenics together and then running in formation (boo!) Here, it means we show up, do our jumping jacks (or as the Army likes to call them...side-straddle-hops), sit-ups and push-ups, and then we're free to go do our own thing (yay!)

Normally I run a couple of miles on the treadmill, punish myself on the elliptical for 15-20 minutes, and if I have time, slack off on the bike for a bit before hitting the showers.

Today, I decided to be "social" and play basketball. Two observations.

1) I suck at basketball.

2) I really, really hurt after playing.


Tuesday, June 12, 2007

So Ya Wanna Be A JAG, Part 2

Several months ago I posted something that E.Spat and I wrote about some of our thoughts on becoming a JAG. This is a continuation of those thoughts and will focus on how people who are interested can get there. It is completely Air Force centric, since its the only system I’m at all familiar with. Once again, this is just me, lil ol' LQ, passing along what I know or think I know. None of this is endorsed by the US Air Force and although I’ve tried very hard to be accurate, I sometimes do make mistakes.

For those of you interested in the sister services, I can only refer you to that service. (Army, Navy, Coast Guard.) I’ve tried and tried to find a good link to the Marine Corps JAG recruiting page, but haven’t been able…if you know of one, please send it along and I’ll update the link.

So…You Wanna Be An AF JAG?

Air Force Accessions are governed by AFI 51-101. (An AFI is an Air Force Instruction. You’ll still hear people refer to them as “regs,” though this is technically incorrect.)

There are several routes to becoming an AF JAG. Although there are ways for licensed attorneys who are already serving on active duty, either in the Air Force or in one of the other services, to become an AF JAG, you’ll have to read the AFI yourself for information on those programs. I’m going to focus on the 3 most common routes here. The initial Active Duty Service Commitment (ADSC) for both Direct Appointment and AF ROTC is four years. This means that once you go through either of these programs, you owe the Air Force four years of service.

1) Direct Appointment (DAP). This is by far the most common way of becoming an AF JAG and the route I went, so it is also the one I’m most familiar with. Most people apply at some point after their second year of law school, but lots of people also come in this way after practicing in the civilian world. You’ll fill out a lengthy application package and go through an interview with a Staff Judge Advocate (SJA) in a base legal office. The AF holds boards in August, October, December, February, April, June, and your completed package will be due to JAX (that’s the three letter office symbol for AF JAG Accessions) by the first of the month for the board you plan to meet. Be aware that interview spots with some of the SJA’s fill up very quickly, so have your application package ready to go well in advance – you’ll need to bring it with you to your interview. For the most part, the interviews are pretty low key, but I recently spoke with someone whose interviewing SJA made him stand up and give a 2 minute argument on the issue he’d submitted as a writing sample, and THEN had him go “off-brief” for 2 minutes. I would say this pretty far from the norm. Conduct yourself as you would in any other interview and use the opportunity to ask questions. Most likely you’ll also be escorted by a Captain or First Lieutenant before your interview. Use this time to ask questions about what they actually do on a day-to-day basis – plus all the “dumb” questions you don’t want to ask the Colonel! And for Pete’s sake – dress like you’re going to an interview! We had one person show up in a truly bizarre get-up. The military is pretty big on dress and appearance – knowing what to wear (a suit!!!) is part of the interview!

Two additional thoughts on the DAP route. 1) If you're unsure about whether JAG life is for you - why not try it out for a summer? There are internship programs available. You'll need to call 1-800-JAG-USAF for the details, but I know several people who have gone through the program. Not only did they get to see first-hand how the legal office works - warts and all - but it appears to have given them a leg up in the selection process. 2) DAP tends to be a program where persistance pays off. Although I was selected on my first board, I've met JAGs who applied 3 or 4 times before being selected. If you interview, don't get selected, and the SJA you interviewed with "strongly encourages you to re-apply," they're probably not just blowing smoke. If you're still really interested, thank them, ask them if they have any suggestions for strengthening your package, and then use whatever they tell you when you re-apply.

2) AF Reserve Officer Training Corp (AF ROTC). There are three routes to go within this category – the One Year Law Program (OYLP), the Graduate Law Program (GLP), and the Educational Delay Program. Selection for all these programs is on a “best qualified” basis, which means you too will have the opportunity to interview with an SJA and meet a board. The AFI says that the deadline for these programs is 1 April, but I recently heard that this was incorrect – if you’re interested in any of the ROTC programs, call either JAX (1-800-JAG-USAF) or any of the base legal offices. The deadline may actually be as early as 1 February.

- You can apply for OYLP after either 1L or 2L. You’ll need to be attending law school (and getting decent grades!) at or near a school with an AF ROTC detachment, and meet the basic physical fitness standards. You’ll attend a 5-week Field Training the summer before you start attending ROTC classes, which you do in addition to your regular law school coursework. As long as you meet all your requirements, you’re guaranteed a spot as a JAG – once you pass the bar and meet all your licensing requirements. Most people are eligible for a small monthly stipend AND you know you have a job when you graduate, which definitely helps lower the law student stress level!

- In the GLP, you do your ROTC coursework over the course of 2 years instead of one. If you’re under 30, you can receive a small monthly stipend and may be eligible for a $3000 a year incentive. In addition to interviewing with an SJA, you’ll need to interview with the local ROTC Detachment Commander (usually a Colonel) during the Spring semester/quarter of 1L. Other than that, OYLP and GLP are pretty similar. Again, if you’re picked up, you’re guaranteed a JAG slot once you pass the bar.

- Educational Delay. Let’s say you’ve gone through ROTC during undergrad and decide that you’d really like to be a JAG when you grow up. This program lets you delay the active duty commitment you incurred during undergrad until after law school. This program requires 2 interviews – one during the Spring semester/quarter of your senior year through your local ROTC Detachment, and another interview with an SJA during your final semester/quarter of law school. Your summer breaks during law school will be spent working in a base legal office as an intern. But here’s the thing…under this program, you’re NOT guaranteed a position as a JAG. I knew one person who went through this program and for some reason took an extra semester or year to graduate from law school. Although he was allowed to finish school, he went into a whole different career field after he graduated - not into JAG. This can be a great program, but be aware that if you don’t finish law school, get lousy grades, bomb your interview, or otherwise somehow disqualify yourself from being a JAG, you still retain the active duty service commitment you incurred during undergrad.

3) For officers already on active duty, you can apply for the Funded Legal Education Program (FLEP) or the Excess Leave Program (ELP). I won’t dwell on these much since people who are eligible are pretty darned likely to already be aware of them. Both are very competitive. Although the AF says no more than 25 students can start this training in any fiscal year, the numbers are actually MUCH lower. I think there were 6 ELP students picked up this year and 1 FLEP - my understanding is that they’ve done 6 and 6 in previous years. The big difference between the two programs is that FLEP pays for all of law school PLUS pays you as a Captain while you’re in law school. You earn leave while you’re in school and your summer breaks are spent interning at a base legal office. Most likely, but not always, that legal office will be close to where you go to school. Under ELP, you are essentially on an extended leave of absence where you pay for school and don’t get a paycheck. You also will spend breaks interning at a base legal office, but you earn pay and leave during these times. If you’re selected for ELP, you can continue to apply for FLEP while you’re in school to try to get your second and third years paid for. The ADSC will vary according to which program you are selected for, and how many years you spend in that program.


Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Just Desserts

I brought muffins in to work one day last week.

A day or two later my boss came in to talk to me. We discussed a couple of projects I was working on, and then the conversation went something like this.

Bossman: OK, so more importantly - those muffins you brought in the other day were the best muffins I've ever eaten. Seriously. If you had a bakery and sold those, I would drive out of my way to pay $2 a piece for them.

Me: Thanks. (haha) Maybe someday I'll get around to the whole bakery thing...

Bossman: You should! I've always wondered what you were doing here and why you're not out selling muffins and coffee.

I'm pretty sure that whole exchange was meant as a compliment - I do make a mean apple muffin.

I must admit though that there's a tiny part of me that wonders if maybe my boss is also trying to tell me nicely that I'm a better baker than I am a lawyer. Sadly, this is probably also true. Of course I've also been baking a lot longer than I've been lawyering, so maybe there's still hope.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Kitty Heaven

I had to have my cat Lancelot put to sleep this evening. He had advanced kidney failure and was really starting to decline - even after we had started treating him with a human medicine and hydrating him through an IV once a day.

Lance was 14 and I know he lived a pretty good life, but that was one of the toughest decisions I've ever had to make.

6/6/07. Thank you to everyone who expressed their condolences, and especially to E. McPan, who gave me a little pep talk last night. I was still pretty weepy this morning when I told a couple of my co-workers, but I'm starting to feel better about my decision. I knew when I took Lance in yesterday that this was probably going to be the result, but somehow that didn't make watching him die any easier.