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yirang

A path to becoming a Legal Officer /Judge Advocate General (JAG) in the Canadian Armed Forces

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Posted (edited)

A Brief Info about myself: I am going to be graduating this April 2019 with a Bachelor of Commerce Degree (Accounting Major) with a deep passion to join the Canadian Armed Forces as a Legal Officer in the distant 5-7 year time frame. I know that you are required a J.D., admittance to the BAR and a year of Article experience. I applied for the Reserves as a Logistics Officer so that I could get a taste of the occupation and the military life itself. I speak Fluent English, Korean and semi fluent French which I will be working to improve continuously.

 

Question: I was curious on the additional information about the family life as a legal officer, what type of courses in law schools would look favorably, how often would I have to move, does the name of the law school you attend matter, How competitive is the Legal Officer Recruitment? Just by the given info, would I have a pretty good chance of potentially becoming one? Or any other information about the occupation would be deeply appreciated.

*Just an answer to one of these concerns would be extremely grateful.

Thank you for your precious time!

Edited by yirang

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Great post.

Just a quick FYI that posts can be edited for one hour before they are up forever. You can neither delete posts nor your account. Just wanted to give you a heads up because you are sharing some personal info :) 

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6 minutes ago, Hegdis said:

Great post.

Just a quick FYI that posts can be edited for one hour before they are up forever. You can neither delete posts nor your account. Just wanted to give you a heads up because you are sharing some personal info :) 

Wow, I wasn't aware! Thanks for the heads up! I was hoping to avoid getting too personal... haha

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1 hour ago, yirang said:

A Brief Info about myself: I am going to be graduating this April 2019 with a Bachelor of Commerce Degree (Accounting Major) with a deep passion to join the Canadian Armed Forces as a Legal Officer in the distant 5-7 year time frame. I know that you are required a J.D., admittance to the BAR and a year of Article experience. I applied for the Reserves as a Logistics Officer so that I could get a taste of the occupation and the military life itself. I speak Fluent English, Korean and semi fluent French which I will be working to improve continuously.

 

Question: I was curious on the additional information about the family life as a legal officer, what type of courses in law schools would look favorably, how often would I have to move, does the name of the law school you attend matter, How competitive is the Legal Officer Recruitment? Just by the given info, would I have a pretty good chance of potentially becoming one? Or any other information about the occupation would be deeply appreciated.

*Just an answer to one of these concerns would be extremely grateful.

Thank you for your precious time!

I’ve got a fair bit of background on this, but my info is a bit outdated. I’m going to reach out to a friend who is a legal officer and confirm my info is still good, but should get back to you some time tomorrow :) 

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1 hour ago, BlockedQuebecois said:

I’ve got a fair bit of background on this, but my info is a bit outdated. I’m going to reach out to a friend who is a legal officer and confirm my info is still good, but should get back to you some time tomorrow :) 

I'd be interested in hearing as well.

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3 hours ago, yirang said:

A Brief Info about myself: I am going to be graduating this April 2019 with a Bachelor of Commerce Degree (Accounting Major) with a deep passion to join the Canadian Armed Forces as a Legal Officer in the distant 5-7 year time frame. I know that you are required a J.D., admittance to the BAR and a year of Article experience. I applied for the Reserves as a Logistics Officer so that I could get a taste of the occupation and the military life itself. I speak Fluent English, Korean and semi fluent French which I will be working to improve continuously.

Echoing @BlockedQuebecois - Do you have any questions/concerns about time spent early on in the Reserves before becoming a Legal Officer (e.g., completing basic military qualification training)? 

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20 minutes ago, LivePumpkin said:

Echoing @BlockedQuebecois - Do you have any questions/concerns about time spent early on in the Reserves before becoming a Legal Officer (e.g., completing basic military qualification training)? 

Yes! Definitely!

Here it goes,

1) I heard from a friend that you don't do much strength training in BMQ due to the risk of injuries but instead do a lot of cardio/long walks? Is this true? 

2) I was wondering if being in the reserves without signing a contract (Temporary Full-time) and solely attending parades every week and training was enough to say that you had prior military experience when I apply for Legal Officer occupation or should I sign a contract with them?

-The reason I ask is because I also wanted to experience being a city police officer (Full-Time) at the same time being in the reserves as a logistics officer (Part-Time) for about 2-3 years before attending law school, in the sense that everything works out smoothly. Is this even possible? I heard stories but stories are well... Stories. :) 

I want to reduce the time it takes for me to chase my dream career at the same time trying to experience much as I can to a reasonable degree of course. 

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, BlockedQuebecois said:

I’ve got a fair bit of background on this, but my info is a bit outdated. I’m going to reach out to a friend who is a legal officer and confirm my info is still good, but should get back to you some time tomorrow :) 

That's awesome! I always wanted to know more than what the CAF Site stated about the occupation. Looking forward to it!!! :) 

Edited by yirang

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13 hours ago, yirang said:

A Brief Info about myself: I am going to be graduating this April 2019 with a Bachelor of Commerce Degree (Accounting Major) with a deep passion to join the Canadian Armed Forces as a Legal Officer in the distant 5-7 year time frame. I know that you are required a J.D., admittance to the BAR and a year of Article experience. I applied for the Reserves as a Logistics Officer so that I could get a taste of the occupation and the military life itself. I speak Fluent English, Korean and semi fluent French which I will be working to improve continuously.

 

Question: I was curious on the additional information about the family life as a legal officer, what type of courses in law schools would look favorably, how often would I have to move, does the name of the law school you attend matter, How competitive is the Legal Officer Recruitment? Just by the given info, would I have a pretty good chance of potentially becoming one? Or any other information about the occupation would be deeply appreciated.

*Just an answer to one of these concerns would be extremely grateful.

Thank you for your precious time!

 

I don't have personal experience, but I do have one friend who went this route. 

He is stationed in Ottawa at DND headquarters.  Not sure how often he would be required to move. 

It took my friend two tries to be accepted. The first time the comment was made that he lacked trial experience. It was suggested that he go and try to get trial or tribunal experience and then reapply. 

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11 hours ago, yirang said:

Yes! Definitely!

Here it goes,

1) I heard from a friend that you don't do much strength training in BMQ due to the risk of injuries but instead do a lot of cardio/long walks? Is this true? 

2) I was wondering if being in the reserves without signing a contract (Temporary Full-time) and solely attending parades every week and training was enough to say that you had prior military experience when I apply for Legal Officer occupation or should I sign a contract with them?

-The reason I ask is because I also wanted to experience being a city police officer (Full-Time) at the same time being in the reserves as a logistics officer (Part-Time) for about 2-3 years before attending law school, in the sense that everything works out smoothly. Is this even possible? I heard stories but stories are well... Stories. :) 

I want to reduce the time it takes for me to chase my dream career at the same time trying to experience much as I can to a reasonable degree of course. 

I'll leave the reserves part to those who have done it, but I can speak to the policing inquiry.  To me it sounds like you're enthusiastic about quite a few different careers and wanting to try a bit of everything, which in and of itself is definitely not a bad thing, however it would be tough to do it all and you may want to prioritize what you really want to do.

Getting hired by a police force is a ridiculously long  and extremely invasive process and you're looking at between 6 months and a few years depending on how successful you are at each step and what the hiring numbers are like for the force you choose.  If everything works out, you then head to academy for what will undoubtedly be the worst 6 months of your life before doing another 6 months on the street with a training officer. 

Basically my point is that it would be a lot of blood, sweat and tears (literally) to put yourself through all of that if your goal was to only be in it for a few years.  You'd also have to get through the background investigation where they'll chat with you and all your closest family and friends and if it comes out that your goal is to only be a copper for a few years, no force is going to touch you and be willing to spend thousands of dollars on you.  I myself faced a lot of scrutiny on that because I came into this profession with my law degree so a lot of the recruiters and background investigators were skeptical that I might turn tail and practice law instead.  Anecdotally, I know several guys who tried to maintain their time in the reserves while doing policing full-time and only a few of them were able to keep that going and it's highly unlikely that you'd be able to do both while you're first starting out as a cop. 

Military, policing and law are three very different paths.  I think you can probably manage to do any two of them but all three would be very difficult so like I said earlier, I think you might want to prioritize.  If you are serious about policing or have any specific questions, let me know.

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3 hours ago, OWH said:

 

I don't have personal experience, but I do have one friend who went this route. 

He is stationed in Ottawa at DND headquarters.  Not sure how often he would be required to move. 

It took my friend two tries to be accepted. The first time the comment was made that he lacked trial experience. It was suggested that he go and try to get trial or tribunal experience and then reapply. 

Thanks for that!

I did get to research a bit more on the "move" part and was told that you don't have to move lol. However, you may volunteer to move else where. I can kind of rationalize this due to the the movement of resources (legal officers) domestically and abroad being a very inefficient move as each counter part is unique and there are only limited/few legal officers comparatively to other occupations in the CAF. 

I also have an interest/preference of being in Ottawa and was curious if your friend was already bilingual ? Or they trained him in french/English so that he could be stationed there. 

Would you know how long your friend was idle, as in, how long did the process take for him to become an actual legal officer? From the first time he applied to actually becoming one.

I know I'm asking for a lot here lol and it's okay if you don't have the specifics. I just want to excavate this field before committing the entire half of my 20's and potentially more...

 

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1 hour ago, Stark said:

I'll leave the reserves part to those who have done it, but I can speak to the policing inquiry.  To me it sounds like you're enthusiastic about quite a few different careers and wanting to try a bit of everything, which in and of itself is definitely not a bad thing, however it would be tough to do it all and you may want to prioritize what you really want to do.

Getting hired by a police force is a ridiculously long  and extremely invasive process and you're looking at between 6 months and a few years depending on how successful you are at each step and what the hiring numbers are like for the force you choose.  If everything works out, you then head to academy for what will undoubtedly be the worst 6 months of your life before doing another 6 months on the street with a training officer. 

Basically my point is that it would be a lot of blood, sweat and tears (literally) to put yourself through all of that if your goal was to only be in it for a few years.  You'd also have to get through the background investigation where they'll chat with you and all your closest family and friends and if it comes out that your goal is to only be a copper for a few years, no force is going to touch you and be willing to spend thousands of dollars on you.  I myself faced a lot of scrutiny on that because I came into this profession with my law degree so a lot of the recruiters and background investigators were skeptical that I might turn tail and practice law instead.  Anecdotally, I know several guys who tried to maintain their time in the reserves while doing policing full-time and only a few of them were able to keep that going and it's highly unlikely that you'd be able to do both while you're first starting out as a cop. 

Military, policing and law are three very different paths.  I think you can probably manage to do any two of them but all three would be very difficult so like I said earlier, I think you might want to prioritize.  If you are serious about policing or have any specific questions, let me know.

Thank you for your time and effort in sharing this in depth insight about "getting into policing and CAF".

Maybe Law school is within 2 years or maybe the next 10 years. However, the biggest reason for joining the reserves as well as the desire to join the Police force was because... I HAVE NO IDEA what they're like. I want to try them both and see what they're like and what the right career path is for me. 

As you have said, Military, Policing, Law are different paths and I totally agree. So I guess I'll have to try the Military and Policing first. I know that the current defense minister of Canada, Harjit Sajjan, has both military and policing background!

If I may ask, are you in law enforcement or currently practicing law? Your case was unique but at the same time totally makes sense why they would be skeptical.

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30 minutes ago, yirang said:

Thank you for your time and effort in sharing this in depth insight about "getting into policing and CAF".

Maybe Law school is within 2 years or maybe the next 10 years. However, the biggest reason for joining the reserves as well as the desire to join the Police force was because... I HAVE NO IDEA what they're like. I want to try them both and see what they're like and what the right career path is for me. 

As you have said, Military, Policing, Law are different paths and I totally agree. So I guess I'll have to try the Military and Policing first. I know that the current defense minister of Canada, Harjit Sajjan, has both military and policing background!

If I may ask, are you in law enforcement or currently practicing law? Your case was unique but at the same time totally makes sense why they would be skeptical.

Not knowing what they're like is absolutely fair.  I would imagine that reserves is a good way to get a glimpse of what CAF would be like although I know almost nothing about either.

In terms of policing, if you really think you want to apply, I'd start gearing your resume towards that.  A quicker way to get some exposure would be to try doing a few ride-alongs or try volunteering with your local service just to see what they're like.  I remember doing my first ride-along when I was in law school and it ended in a high risk gun call.  I wasn't allowed to leave the car for safety reasons, but remember thinking how cool that was and how much I wanted to leave the car to see what was happening.  I have no idea what your volunteering background is like, but one thing I'd suggest is doing some volunteering in the mental health field if at all possible as you'll be dealing with mental illness every single day.  If you don't enjoy it (which is absolutely fair), then you may not like policing in today's world.

You can absolutely have both a military and policing background and we have tons of guys who are ex-military.  While not mandatory by any means, those guys bring a very unique insight, particularly those who deployed overseas. My point was that it would be difficult to be an active reservist while being a rookie cop.

To your last question, the answer is both.  I'm a police officer but I'm currently off the street for a bit to work in our legal department. 

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@yirang.  I'm passing on some info from someone in the know (not me). 

If you are in the military, JAG office or not...… you are a soldier first, and a lawyer second.  You should consider that fact in any decision you make.   

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4 hours ago, Stark said:

Not knowing what they're like is absolutely fair.  I would imagine that reserves is a good way to get a glimpse of what CAF would be like although I know almost nothing about either.

In terms of policing, if you really think you want to apply, I'd start gearing your resume towards that.  A quicker way to get some exposure would be to try doing a few ride-alongs or try volunteering with your local service just to see what they're like.  I remember doing my first ride-along when I was in law school and it ended in a high risk gun call.  I wasn't allowed to leave the car for safety reasons, but remember thinking how cool that was and how much I wanted to leave the car to see what was happening.  I have no idea what your volunteering background is like, but one thing I'd suggest is doing some volunteering in the mental health field if at all possible as you'll be dealing with mental illness every single day.  If you don't enjoy it (which is absolutely fair), then you may not like policing in today's world.

That's lovely to hear, "Constable". ^^

Yes, I have been fortunate enough that I was involved in many volunteering through my youth and even now. The city where I reside is Edmonton, and I believe the EPS (Edmonton Police Service) only allow ride-alongs for current applicants, which I am not, yet.

Also, I am currently volunteering with the EPS and other organizations so hopefully that would be an extra point. 

My plan is to apply next year 2019 after I get my advanced drivers license, which is the only thing holding me back from applying earlier. I also plan on attending "run-with-recruiters", as I heard that it is extremely beneficial in terms of getting to physically train with recruiters and getting to know the people that would be recruiting me. 

I'll definitely note what you've said about volunteering at a mental health organization as I agree that that kind of exposure would help me to get a better taste of a significant side of what policing is about.

Lastly, a question about applying to different law enforcement agencies. Obviously I would be applying to EPS first as it is my first choice but should I limit myself to a single law enforcement agency? or Should I also apply to CPS (Calgary Police Service) and/or the RCMP a little after I apply with the EPS? Any advice or suggestions?? *I was thinking of applying to to 2 or 3 agencies at most. Definitely not anymore.

:) 

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2 hours ago, Captain Courageous said:

@yirang.  I'm passing on some info from someone in the know (not me). 

If you are in the military, JAG office or not...… you are a soldier first, and a lawyer second.  You should consider that fact in any decision you make.   

Definitely! That is actually how I see it as well. If I'm not going to be in the CAF as a soldier I actually don't want to go to law school... I'd rather continue on as a logistics officer in the CAF rather than practice at some private law firm. 

Thank you Cap!

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14 hours ago, yirang said:

That's lovely to hear, "Constable". ^^

Yes, I have been fortunate enough that I was involved in many volunteering through my youth and even now. The city where I reside is Edmonton, and I believe the EPS (Edmonton Police Service) only allow ride-alongs for current applicants, which I am not, yet.

Also, I am currently volunteering with the EPS and other organizations so hopefully that would be an extra point. 

My plan is to apply next year 2019 after I get my advanced drivers license, which is the only thing holding me back from applying earlier. I also plan on attending "run-with-recruiters", as I heard that it is extremely beneficial in terms of getting to physically train with recruiters and getting to know the people that would be recruiting me. 

I'll definitely note what you've said about volunteering at a mental health organization as I agree that that kind of exposure would help me to get a better taste of a significant side of what policing is about.

Lastly, a question about applying to different law enforcement agencies. Obviously I would be applying to EPS first as it is my first choice but should I limit myself to a single law enforcement agency? or Should I also apply to CPS (Calgary Police Service) and/or the RCMP a little after I apply with the EPS? Any advice or suggestions?? *I was thinking of applying to to 2 or 3 agencies at most. Definitely not anymore.

:) 

I'm actually very familiar with the EPS and yes, I think you might be right about the EPS' policy on ride-alongs.  Maybe reach out to the mounties in SP, Fort Sask, Stony or Leduc? Run with recruiters is a fantastic program and I'd definitely attend as many of those as you can.  The workouts are absolute hell but they'll give you a good taste of what's in store if you make it to Academy.

I would absolutely recommend applying to 2-3 agencies.  You may be a strong applicant but if one of the forces is in a hiring freeze or hiring very few people, you're shit out of luck.  I probably wouldn't apply to more than 3 as you need to disclose that info.  Additionally, the applications themselves require a crazy amount of time.  If you haven't already, check out the PDI form for the EPS.  That shit was brutal.

One last suggestion is to check out the forums on blueline.  It's the equivalent of this website but for law enforcement officers.  There's a lot of good advice on there.

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I recall having a couple Mounties in my law school class. The force was paying their way, guess they felt that it would be a good idea to have a couple serving members with legal credentials. This is going way back however and I don't believe the program is still in effect. Interestingly enough, I seriously considered a spot once as defence counsel for Mounties in disciplinary matters, it was actually a full time gig. A buddy who was a member told me to take it if I wanted a lot of beer bought for me. I sometimes wonder if that might not have been the right call : )

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