The Judge Advocate General's Legal Center and School
Coordinates: The Judge Advocate General’s Legal Center and School educates military, civilian, and international personnel in legal and leadership skills. The center is operated by the United States Army and is located in Charlottesville, Virginia. The Judge Advocate General's School, the center's graduate-level division, is accredited by the American Bar Association to award the Master of Laws degree in Military Law. The Master of Laws curriculum includes courses in Administrative and Civil Law, Contract and Fiscal Law, Criminal Law, and International and Operational Law.
The Legal Center and School (LCS) is led by a Brigadier General who serves as the Commander/Commandant, a Colonel as the Chief of Staff/XO, a Warrant Officer (United States) who serves as the Senior Warrant Officer Advisor for the LCS, a Command Sergeant Major who serves as the Senior Enlisted Advisor for the LCS and also as the Commandant of the Noncommissioned Officer Academy and a government civilian who serves as the Executive Director. The School is led by a Colonel who serves as the Dean and the Center is led by a Colonel who serves as the Legal Center Director. The school's five academic departments are led by Lieutenant Colonels and a Chief Warrant Officer Three. Faculty members are Lieutenant Colonels or Majors which are licensed attorneys and are members of the Army Judge Advocate General's Corps. With the exception of the Legal Administrator and Paralegal Education Department, each academic department has at least one faculty member who is a Judge Advocate in the Navy, Air Force, or Marine Corps.
Despite a long record of service by Army Judge Advocates, it was not until the beginning of World War II that efforts were made to provide Army attorneys with specialized military legal education. In February 1942, as uniformed lawyers' responsibilities increased in volume and complexity, specialized continuing legal education courses for Judge Advocates began in Washington, D.C. In August 1942, the school moved from Washington's National University School of Law to the University of Michigan Law School in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Intended only as a temporary facility, it was deactivated in 1946 during the general demobilization following World War II. In October 1950, another temporary school was activated at Fort Myer, Virginia on land that is now a part of Arlington National Cemetery. After graduating six classes, it was decided a permanent school for Army lawyers should be established. In August 1951, the Army accepted an offer from the University of Virginia to move the school there permanently. The Seventh Judge Advocate Officer Basic Course and First Judge Advocate Officer Advanced Course began in the fall of 1951. The school has remained at the University of Virginia and is now located adjacent to the University of Virginia Law School.
After moving to Charlottesville, The Judge Advocate General's School was initially located in Clark Hall with the University of Virginia Law School, then behind Clark Hall in what is now called Kerchof Hall. In 1975, the school relocated to the university's North Grounds, moving at the same time as the law school. The building, and the adjacent law school building, were designed by Hugh Stubbins & Associates with Rawlings, Wilson, and Fraher. An addition to the building, designed by Bohlin, Powell, Larkin, and Cywinski in collaboration with Johnson, Craven, and Gibson, was completed in 1991.
Master of Laws
The Judge Advocate Officer Graduate Course is the school's "flagship" course. Accredited by the American Bar Association, the course prepares experienced military attorneys for supervisory duties and other positions of increased responsibility within their respective services. Students who successfully complete the course are awarded a Master of Laws degree in Military Law. Selection to attend the course is a permanent change of station assignment; students do not attend in a temporary duty status. Each class consists of attorneys from the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard, as well as international military students and Army civilian attorneys. International military students have come from Egypt, Israel, Poland, Romania, South Korea, Bosnia and Herzegovina and other nations. All students are licensed attorneys who generally have five to eight years of experience.
The Graduate Course covers a full resident academic year from mid-August to mid-May. The fall and spring semesters include core classes required of all students. In the second quarter of the fall semester and in the spring semester, students select from approximately fifty electives offered by the school's four academic departments: Administrative and Civil Law, Contract and Fiscal Law, Criminal Law, and International and Operational Law. Students may specialize in one of the four academic areas in conjunction with the Master of Laws. To qualify for a specialty, a student must either write a thesis in the area of specialization, or earn at least ten elective credit hours and write an extensive paper in the area of specialization.
In addition to the Judge Advocate Officer Graduate Course that leads to the Master of Laws degree, the school trains new Judge Advocates through the Judge Advocate Officer Basic Course (three courses are completed each year), provides continuing legal education for Judge Advocates and other attorneys, and trains legal administrator warrant officers, paralegal noncommissioned officers, and court reporters. The school's Noncommissioned Officers Academy offers the Advanced Leaders Course and the Senior Leaders Course.
- The JAG School lies entirely within the City of Charlottesville—unlike the adjacent University of Virginia School of Law, most of which lies within Albemarle County, which encloses but does not include the City of Charlottesville. For more details, see the University's official "Building Category Map", which clearly shows the city-county boundary and the JAG School within the city, downloadable here .
- "Graduate Course (LL.M. Program)". Jagcnet.army.mil. Retrieved 26 May 2011.
- The Institute of Heraldry, "Judge Advocate General's Legal Center and School"
- "History of The Judge Advocate General's Legal Center & School". Jagcnet.army.mil. 14 July 2003. Retrieved 26 May 2011.
- "Legal Center and School Photographs". Jagcnet.army.mil. Retrieved 26 May 2011.
- "North Grounds, Web Map, U.Va". Virginia.edu. 15 April 2010. Retrieved 26 May 2011.
- "United States Code: Title 10,4315. The Judge Advocate General’s School: master of laws in military law , LII / Legal Information Institute". Law.cornell.edu. 18 May 2011. Retrieved 26 May 2011.
- "Courses". Jagcnet.army.mil. Retrieved 26 May 2011.
- "NCOA". Jagcnet.army.mil. Retrieved 26 May 2011.