JA offers Airmen challenging opportunity to retrain

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Kimberly Coasey
  • 374th Airlift Wing Legal Office
Airmen interested in law may want to consider retraining into the legal career field.
The primary mission of an Air Force paralegal is to assist attorneys in providing legal counsel to commanders, first sergeants, and other key personnel on a broad spectrum of matters.

Paralegals provide legal assistance to eligible clients under the supervision of an attorney. Consequently, paralegal apprentices, journeymen and craftsmen support virtually all areas of the legal office, including military justice, claims, civil law, legal assistance, contracts and environmental law.

Within those divisions, a paralegal will partner with an attorney (Judge Advocate) and perform whatever task is required. For instance, in the Military Justice division, he or she could perform legal research, interview victims and witnesses, draft opinions and documents and prepare for courts. In the Legal Assistance division, paralegals assist clients with Will preparation, powers of attorney, notarizing documents and ensuring Airmen know what they need prior to deployment.

Paralegals also support investigations of serious incidents, such as aircraft, missile or rocket mishaps.

Our senior paralegals - superintendents and managers - use their management abilities to ensure those missions are accomplished. They also perform the same type of tasks expected of any Senior NCO, such as budget and manpower, training and retraining paralegals into the career field and staff assistance visits, just to name a few.
To ensure paralegals are qualified to support these many legal areas, the Judge Advocate General Corps provides the necessary training, both in the classroom and on-the-job. To become a paralegal, selected nominees must first attend the six-week Paralegal Apprentice Course at the Judge Advocate General School, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama. Before paralegals are awarded their 7-skill level, they must return to the Judge Advocate General School and attend the six-week Paralegal Craftsman Course. Once Airmen become Paralegal Craftsmen, they have the opportunity to attend attorney-level specialized courses, such as operational, environmental, and contract law, as well as the annual federal income tax course. They can also attend some paralegal and attorney-level courses hosted by the Army and Navy.

For more information on retraining into the paralegal career field, contact the Legal Office at 225-8069.

The following are the paralegal specialty qualifications:
· Minimum general Airman Qualification Exam score of 51
· Ability to keyboard at a minimum rate of 25 words per minute
· Ability to communicate effectively in writing
· Ability to speak clearly and distinctly
· No previous convictions by courts-martial or punishment under Article 15 in the previous six years or convictions by a civilian court except for minor traffic violations