Paul Judge '16L
Paul Judge '16L
What did you do for work this summer?
I worked for the United States Army at Fort Hood, Texas. Specifically, the 1st Cavalry Division, Division Artillery, Brigade Judge Advocate Office.
How did you find/get this position?
I applied to the Army's 2L intern program. I am an Army officer and obligated to serve in the Army post-graduation.
Describe your work experience.
I researched a complicated complaint regarding retaliation; assisted with preparing arguments, witness interviews, and litigation strategy for two courts-martial, two administrative separation boards, and one pre-trial confinement hearing; reviewed case files; researched and drafted memoranda analyzing case law and advising commanders on whether to proceed with prosecution; drafted seven charge sheets; drafted a memorandum on a complicated issue involving consumer fraud.
What were some skills you developed this summer?
Developing strategies in the courtroom; advising commanders on military justice matters; witnessing attorneys in Secret-Classified environments conduct operational law exercises (basically telling commanders whether or not they can drop a bomb on a target); legal research and writing.
What classes or experiences were useful in preparing you for the summer work?
Criminal Law, Evidence and Criminal Procedure, mostly. Virtually everything we did was either criminal law under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) or administrative law under other army regulations. My experience externing with the Army JAG Corps Trial Defense Services the previous summer at Fort Hood was invaluable.
What surprised you about the work you did this summer?
The sheer amount of evidence and procedure necessary to bring a trial to court-martial surprised me. The entire process took months and months, even years, between the actual criminal conduct that occurred and the trial itself. I underestimated how difficult it was to get evidence to be admitted and to use it at trial. We had tons of people come in accusing other people, but so much of that was inadmissible, or we wouldn't be able to get them to testify, or they weren't specific enough... And so on. Getting evidence to use at trial is way harder than I thought it would be.
Has this experience helped you figure out post graduate plans, and if so, how?
I already knew I wanted to be a JAG. In fact, I have to be, I am contractually obligated. It has, however, helped me develop a plan for managing my career in the Army; where I want to be stationed, what kind of jobs I want, etc.
How do you think this experience will shape the rest of your time at W&L Law?
I am taking the Poverty Law Practicum in the Spring. The consumer fraud issue I worked with was highly concerning to me. Here was a soldier who had been fraudulently exploited by her husband, who opened a credit card in her name. As a result, she ended up racking up tons of credit card debt. She had very few options when she walked in the Legal Assistance office for help. If we didn't help her, that was it; she would be unfairly on the hook for thousands of dollars. That scenario opened my eyes to the issues that many people face without adequate legal redress. I want to be in a position to help people like that in the future.