Colorado Springs Military Newspaper Group

Schriever Sentinel

Want to retrain? Think about becoming a paralegal

Commentary by Staff Sgt. Kendra N. Mauldin

50th Space Wing Office of the Staff Judge Advocate

The Air Force paralegal career field is one of the most sought-after jobs in today’s Air Force. It offers sharp Airmen an opportunity to not only defend our nation physically, but also through our legal system. Legal professionals defend our Constitution by advising commanders on international and operational law.

We also defend our Air Force from lawsuits and ensure the law is correctly and fairly applied in every situation.

As a paralegal, your responsibilities are to assist attorneys in providing superior legal guidance to commanders, first sergeants and other key personnel on a broad spectrum of legal matters playing a significant role in good order and discipline. Paralegals support virtually all areas of the legal office, to include military justice, claims, legal assistance, operations readiness, contract and environmental law. Under the supervision of judge advocate generals, you will conduct legal research, interview victims and witnesses, draft legal reviews and opinions, prepare wills, support investigations of serious accidents, such as aircraft or missile, transcribe records from court reporting and fulfill the responsibilities of the defense paralegal.

If you are looking for a highly visible job with potential on the outside as a civilian, then retraining into the JAG corps is the way to go. Air Force Paralegals can receive certification by the American Bar Association upon completion of 7-level training, Community College of the Air Force degree in paralegal studies and completing the certification process with the National Association of Legal Assistants. For members choosing to separate from the Air Force, an ABA certification is highly coveted by most law firms and other legal agencies with regard to employment. The Air National Guard and the Air Force Reserve also have many positions available for paralegals. To inquire further, contact your local Air National Guard or an Air Force Reserve recruiter.

There are a wealth of opportunities to enhance legal education including in residence courses, distance education, and publications. In 2012, there are 31 courses offered on a vast range of topics from basic level to the most advanced, 175 hours of distance learning or eLearning material and 32 webcast presentations available for focused, orientation level training in a particular legal area. Advancing your education and experience is welcomed and encouraged.

Interested in joining us as a member of the U.S. Air Force JAG Corps? Did you know that as an enlisted Airman, you may be eligible to retrain into the paralegal career field and commit yourself to this challenging and rewarding job?

To become an Air Force paralegal, members must meet certain requirements. Individuals must get letters of recommendation from their immediate supervisor, first sergeant and squadron commander and hand write a biographical sketch of their military history, as well as why they would like to retrain into the paralegal career field. Members must also pass a typing test showing they have the ability to type 25 words per minute and be proficient with computer systems. Individuals must have a minimum general score of 51 on the Airman Qualifying Examination and high caliber enlisted performance reports. Finally, no derogatory data or pending actions may be in the member’s record including: unfavorable information file, control roster, Article 15, courts-martial, civilian convictions, referral Enlisted Performance Report, emotional instability or under investigation for any potential adverse actions.

If you are interested in committing to the challenge as an Air Force paralegal, call Master Sgt. Karana Rice at 567-5050 for more information.

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