Alumni Spotlight: Josh Keruski ‘21L and Ainsley-Brooke Satterwhite ‘22L Josh Keruski ‘21L and Ainsley-Brooke Satterwhite ‘22L are both stationed at Fort Novosel in Alabama as members of the U.S. Army JAG Corps.
Josh Keruski ‘21L was born in Sackets Harbor, New York. He graduated from George Mason University in 2018, where he majored in International Government with a specific focus on Russia following the fall of the Soviet Union. Before attending law school at W&L Law, Josh worked with the Department of the Air Force as a health care publications analyst as the Defense Health Agency was being stood up. For 1L summer employment, Josh served as a summer extern with the United States Army JAG Corps Torts Litigation Division at Fort Belvoir, Virginia. During 2L summer, Josh served as a summer intern with the United States Army JAG Corps at Fort Drum, New York. Josh participated in the WILF (Work in Law Full Time) Externship during the fall semester of 3L, working at the Department of State Office of the Inspector General’s General Counsel office in Washington, D.C. Josh is now an Active-Duty Army Judge Advocate stationed at Fort Novosel, Alabama. Josh enjoys playing basketball, golf, frisbee, and spending time with his family.
Ainsley-Brooke Satterwhite ‘22L grew up in a Navy family. She graduated from East Carolina University in 2019, where she majored in Political Science and subsequently commissioned into the Army as an “Educational Delay.” During her time attending W&L Law, she was an intern at the Fredericksburg Office of the Public Defender and was a volunteer for the Army JAG Corps at Fort Liberty and Fort Eustis. She is currently stationed at Fort Novosel and works as a Legal Assistance Attorney as well as a Special Victim’s Counsel. She enjoys traveling, exploring the local area, and taking her dog fishing.
Did you know coming into law school that you wanted to go JAG?
Josh: Absolutely! I came to Washington and Lee as an educational delay officer having commissioned from Army ROTC at George Mason University. An educational delay officer is one who defers their Active-Duty service obligation by electing to attend law school with the goal of serving in the JAG Corps.
Ainsley-Brooke: I did. I was commissioned in September of 2019 in the Army. When I was in high school, I learned about the JAG program from my father and felt that helping soldiers while also pursuing the legal profession was something that would provide me with a sense of fulfilment.
How did you find your current job?
Josh: During my third year of undergraduate studies, I spoke with an Army JAG Corps officer about service in the JAG Corps. He told me about the duties, responsibilities, and expectations of serving in the JAG Corps. I then elected to apply for and was accepted into the educational delay program.
Ainsley-Brooke: I didn’t per se find my job; I was informed about JAG while I was in high school and set that as my course throughout my time in undergrad and law school. I reached my current position through the leadership here at Fort Novosel; the Army is unique in the sense that you change jobs fairly often and duty stations about every 2-3 years so that lawyers are constantly expanding and developing their expertise.
What sort of legal issues do you handle on a day to day basis?
Josh: I handle a diverse set of legal issues daily. I serve in a series of roles. In my role as Chief of Legal Assistance for Fort Novosel and 7th Special Forces Group Camp Bull Simons, Florida, I deal with family law, property law, contracts, military administrative matters, estates and trusts, immigration, and special education. As the Chief of Claims, I deal with medical and torts claims. As a Special Victims’ Counsel, I represent victims of sex-related and domestic violence related crimes. In this capacity I represent my clients’ interest throughout the course of the military justice process. In my role as Tax Center OIC, I supervise and assist clients with processing their tax returns.
Ainsley-Brooke: Within my job, I work on a variety of issues. As a Legal Assistance Attorney, I see everything from General Officer Memorandum of Reprimands (GOMORs), Titling issues, family law, the Servicemember Civil Relief Act (SCRA), and estate planning. Within my position as a Special Victim’s Counsel, I get to attend interviews with the Criminal Investigation Division, hearings, Court Martials, and advise clients.
What do you like about your current job?
Josh: In less than a year into my first assignment in the JAG Corps, I have engaged in a multitude of highly complex and dynamic legal issues. I meet with soldiers, family members, and retirees daily to address their legal issues in real time. This diverse set of legal practice is exhilarating and unique to most young legal practitioners coming out of law school.
Ainsley-Brooke: What I enjoy most about my job is the feeling of satisfaction after I have a “win” or am able to help a client with a particularly complex issue. I have seen a lot of the United States due to traveling for clients, which is very exciting.
Which W&L classes and/or experiences do you think were most helpful in preparing you for this job?
Josh: There are several classes and professors I can point to as directly impacting my practice. Professor Parella’s torts class has allowed me to respond to dynamic torts issues including Federal Torts Claims Act (FTCA) claims against the government. Professor Apperson’s National Security class and Professor Disbennett-Albrecht’s Veteran Law Practicum prepared me to engage with veterans and soldiers on military specific legal issues. The Veteran Advocate student organization at W&L Law was a great networking opportunity to engage with government and military practitioners. Professor Trammel’s Federal Jurisdiction class assists me daily in the varying jurisdictional issues posed across the various legal issues my office faces.
Ainsley-Brooke: I am so glad I took Trusts and Estates, Family Law, the Intimate Partner Violence Practicum, and the Mediation Practicum. All of these courses provided me with skills that I use on a daily basis – from how to interact with clients, to vital information that I provide counsel on daily.
What advice do you have for a prospective law student looking to go JAG?
Josh: For any student looking to enter a career in the Army JAG Corps, I recommend trying to serve either as an extern or intern with the Army JAG Corps. This summer experience will provide the groundwork and overview of what to expect. Take as many criminal, national security, and family law classes as you can at Washington and Lee School of Law. For those who do not have military experience, seek out opportunities to learn more about the Armed Forces. You can do this either by taking military related classes, job opportunities, or speaking with fellow classmates with military service. Understand you are a soldier first and attorney second. This means you need to be tactically and physically proficient, which you will learn and appreciate at the Direct Commission Course (DCC) at Fort Benning, Georgia. Furthermore, in your future role as a legal advisor to a particular command level, your ability to garner respect for your understanding of military competencies will support the development of trust between you and the commander you advise. Understand and appreciate the role you could play in serving in the Armed Forces and applying the legal expertise and education you gained from Washington and Lee School of Law. There is no greater calling than service to your country and no greater team than the Army JAG Corps! I look forward to seeing you out in the force!
Ainsley-Brooke: Be flexible and find your passion! People who graduate from W&L are set up for success simply by attending and putting their best foot forward. The JAG Corps is a growing and ever-changing organization, composed of people with different backgrounds. The key to success and joining the JAG Corps is to be open-minded and understand the importance of networking. The JAG Corps is exceptionally small considering the size of the Army and each basic course class is only about 100 people, half of whom are most likely National Guard and Reserves. Leverage your skills and knowledge whenever you can and never be too prideful to admit when you don’t know something.
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Outside of Work
More About Josh
Basketball, soccer, golf, frisbee, walking my dogs Stella and Finnegan, hikes, and trips with my wife Elizabeth.
“History of Rome and Revolutions” by Mike Duncan
Favorite Travel Location
United Kingdom, Croatia, Charleston, SC
Something/Someone you miss at W&L Law
I miss the Palms, nature hikes in the Shenandoah, and Virginia in general. At W&L Law, I miss the scholarly and collaborative learning environment. I also miss LSFL and frisbee games my class would hold on Fridays.
More about Ainsley-Brooke
Working out, traveling, reading, playing with my dog.
“Never Split the Difference” by Chris Voss
Favorite Travel Location
Scotland & Savannah, GA
Something/Someone you miss at W&L Law
I miss the weather in Virginia, particularly the snow. I also miss the environment of the law school, walking in and feeling a sense of belonging with my classmates.