August 20, 2014, PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. (AFNS) – Officers interested in continuing to serve the Air Force as a judge advocate are able to apply to the Funded Legal Education Program, or FLEP, and the Excess Leave Program, ELP.
Officers selected for FLEP have the opportunity to attend law school at the Air Force’s expense while also continuing to receive full pay, allowances and tuition. Officers chosen for ELP are responsible for law school expenses and do not receive full pay, allowances or tuition. However, ELP participants remain eligible for active-duty benefits and continue to accrue time toward retirement and promotion.
Selection for the opportunity to participate in the highly competitive programs is based on a review of application packages in their entirety with a focus on the whole-person concept. Interested officers can apply online at www.airforce.com/jag through Feb. 10, 2015.
FLEP applicants must have between two and six years active-duty service and must be in the pay grade O-3 or below as of the day they begin law school. The time-in-service requirements for FLEP cannot be waived. ELP applicants must have between two and 10 years active-duty service and must be in the pay grade O-3 or below as of the first day of law school.
Additionally, both FLEP and ELP require attendance at an American Bar Association approved law school. Upon graduation and admission to practice law in the highest court of any state, territory of the U.S., or a federal court, candidates are eligible for designation as judge advocates.
To be considered for FLEP or ELP, applicants must have completed all application forms, applied to at least one ABA approved law school (acceptance is not required at the time of application for FLEP/ELP), and received their Law School Admissions Test results by Feb. 10 2015. In addition, applicants need to complete an interview with a staff judge advocate before March 1, 2015. Officers must also provide a letter of conditional release from their current career field.
Graduates of FLEP and ELP possess the unique ability to draw on their military experiences when providing legal advice to commanders and other clients. JAG officers routinely participate in nearly every facet of the Air Force mission, which includes assisting commanders in the day-to-day running of military installations around the world, enabling the maintenance of good order and discipline, advising on the development and acquisition of weapons systems, consulting with operators and commanders on the Law of Armed Conflict, and helping to take care of the people that take care of the mission.
Officers that graduate from FLEP or ELP deliver to the Air Force JAG Corps distinct perspectives on the Air Force mission as a result of their prior career field training and experience.
“I’ve worked with many the FLEP and ELP graduates and seen firsthand the unique insight that they provide to commanders, I’ve also benefitted from them myself,” said Capt. John Patera, the 45th Space Wing Legal Office recruiter. “I often seek the professional opinion of fellow JAGs that are FLEP or ELP graduates, because their prior military experience provides a unique perspective.”