Is Air Force ROTC the best kept job secret in law school?

Do you want a well-paid guaranteed attorney job that you can lock down during your 1L or 2L year that:

  • Enables you to work internationally?
  • Allows you to keep your options open if you’re undecided on a practice area?
  • Lets you hit the ground running, representing clients in court and advising high-level commanders on important legal issues immediately?
  • Offers free health care?
  • Lasts for four years (but can last longer including your entire career) and offers incredible, virtually limitless career opportunities, including veteran’s preference for prestigious federal government positions, after the four years ends?
  • Is not picky about grades and is vastly less competitive than law firm jobs?
  • Offers generous loan repayment assistance?

Well, that opportunity exists with Air Force ROTC!

It is extremely rare to get offered an entry-level attorney position that starts after your law school graduation in your 1L year. It is rarer still to get a prestigious, well paying job that prioritizes other qualities such as leadership and commitment to service over grades.

Even if you have never thought about joining the military and the idea intimidates you, the Air Force could be the perfect fit for you. If you’re undecided about the type of law you want to practice and/or where geographically you want to build your career, the Air Force is the best imaginable option because it allows you to rotate through different practice and geographic areas over four years. If you leave after four years, you will have veteran’s preference and will be an excellent candidate for federal government jobs.

If you are even a little bit interested, talk to me or the Air Force Detachment on campus. You don’t have to commit to anything. It’s just a conversation.

Notre Dame Law students have an incredibly unique opportunity because we are lucky to have an Air Force detachment right here on campus! (Students from several other universities in Indiana have to travel to Notre Dame to participate in ROTC.) Currently, our detachment has 70 students and they have room for many more. That is why this opportunity is so incredible.

If you wait until you are a 3L to apply for Air Force JAG, the process is extremely competitive. The Air Force gets 1200-1400 applications each year and the selection rate is 10-14% because there is a limit on the number of 3Ls they can accept as attorneys. If you apply for ROTC as a 1L or 2L, the process is significantly less competitive because there is no limit on the number of 1Ls and 2Ls they can accept into ROTC. The detachment here on campus has plenty of room so rather than subjecting yourself to the relentlessly competitive 3L application process, consider applying early.

What you do in Air Force ROTC

The Air Force ROTC requirements are not that strenuous and fit relatively easily into your law school schedule. When you join Air Force ROTC, you train with the Air Force detachment here on campus, which means that you attend a class, leadership lab, and participate in physical training twice a week. The leadership lab is cadet run and teaches marching and group leadership among other things. The leadership lab prepares you for your summer, where you will train to be an officer at the Air Force base in Montgomery, Alabama. (If you join ROTC as a 1L, you will spend your summer in officer training at the Air Force base in Montgomery. If you join as a 2L, you’ll head to Montgomery your 2L summer.)

You also participate in physical training two times a week and have the opportunity to go to Ft. Custer for the weekend and fly in an Air Force aircraft. The Air Force’s physical training standards are the least difficult of any of the branches and your physical training involves running and playing sports.

The Air Force ROTC program is an incredible job opportunity that has the exceptionally rare combination of being well paid, providing hands-on experience the moment you join, allowing you to keep your options open and try multiple practice areas, and focusing significantly less on grades than other prestigious job opportunities.

You can get accepted into the program your 1L or 2L year and know that you have a job waiting for you. That means you can know as early as February of your 1L year that you don’t have to stress how your grades are going to affect your ability to get a job, can choose whether to participate in moot court or a journal based only on whether you really want to rather than joining so employers will look favorably on you, and you can be more present in law school and enjoy classes more because much of the stress will be taken away. That is why, in my view, the Air Force ROTC is the best kept secret in law school.

If you’re even a little bit interested in learning more, contact me. You’re also more than welcome to contact the Air Force Detachment on Campus at afrotc@nd.edu.

The Air Force Detachment is full of incredibly personable people who are happy to talk you through the program without pressuring you to join.

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