By Buddy Blouin
No matter which branch of the American Armed Forces you enter, you’ll encounter JAGs (Judge Advocate General’s Corps). Popularized by the hit military drama of the ‘90s, JAGs, in layman’s terms, are not simply military lawyers but are the highest uniformed lawyers. They hold a very important role for the U.S. military, as troops are required not only to follow the laws of the United States but also a host of other laws, including international law, the laws of foreign lands, and, of course, the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). If you’re interested in serving your country and pursuing a career in law, we’ve got you covered. Here’s everything you need to know about the military lawyer salary and requirements to aid in your career.

Read next:

A Complete Guide to Military Chaplain Salary & Requirements 

An Overview of Military Lawyer Salary Data

When it comes to Judge Advocate General FAQs, salary is one of the top inquiries. To understand the way a military lawyer salary is determined, you’ll have to understand how military payscales work. Your pay is based on your rank and your time serving. This means people can earn different pay for the same position because rank may vary from branch to branch, such is the case for military lawyers. Each branch has its own unique yet similar salary for the role of JAG. Here’s what that looks like when considering the base salary of each branch:
  • U.S. Air Force – $48,078.00 per year.
  • U.S. Army – $48,078.00 per year.
  • U.S. Coast Guard – $55,638.00 per year.
  • U.S. Marine Corps – $41,727.60 per year.
  • Navy JAG – $48,078.00 per year.
These are accurate estimates of what you can expect your base pay to be, but again, there are variables and considerations when calculating your salary. For example:
  • The higher your rank, the more you’re going to make. This is especially true for Marines, who are often promoted to 1st Lieutenant after finishing law school.
  • There are additional outside factors, such as cost of living raises, that may cause these salaries to rise.
  • Because JAGs are the highest-ranking lawyers, salaries for other military lawyers are likely to be lower.
Considering the salary of a military lawyer when compared to the national average civilian lawyer salary in the United States, $98,063, there's a notable difference between the two. Nevertheless, whether you're a military defense lawyer or serve in any capacity, there are many other benefits that range from monetary to intangible while practicing law for the U.S. military:
  • Law school is expensive, and the military is a great way for those looking to mitigate the cost of education while pursuing a career in law.
  • The travel opportunities in the U.S. military continue to be a draw for those seeking adventure.
  • National pride comes with a job rich in fulfillment knowing that you’re helping keep your country safe.

Military Lawyer Requirements

If you’re going to pursue a career in military law, you’re going to need to know what it takes to get there. On top of serving your country, you’re responsible for practicing law on a level not seen by many. There are several steps to the process. Here’s what you’ll need to know on how to become a military lawyer:
  • You’ll need to be eligible for military service in accordance with the standards of your branch.
  • You’ll need to obtain your Bachelor’s degree.
  • The next step is attending Officer Candidate School.
  • To be a lawyer, you’ll need to pass the LSAT exam and finish law school.
  • Afterward, you’ll have to pass the bar exam and then apply for your state bar.
  • Once you pass the bar exam and have your application accepted, you’ll be sworn in.
  • From there, you’ll join JAG Corps and begin your military training.
Legal issues arise in all walks of life, and the judiciary systems in place rely on professionals to ensure the process is executed in a fair manner for all. The military lawyer salary is only one part of such pursuits, as those who serve help defend America in more than one way.

Suggested read:

Military Culinary Specialist Salary & Job Requirements 




Get the latest news and military discounts