Career Paths: Ainsley-Brooke Satterwhite ‘22L After graduation, Ainsley-Brooke Satterwhite will enter the Army JAG Corps.
Ainsley-Brooke Satterwhite ‘22L, is from Fredericksburg, Virginia. She received her bachelor’s degree from East Carolina University. While at W&L, she served as the Vice President of Veterans Affairs for the National Security and Military Law Society. After graduation, Ainsley will enter the Army JAG Corps.
Why did you decide to pursue a career in JAG? Have you had any externships or experiences at law school that pointed you in that direction?
Prior to coming to law school, I knew I wanted to enter the JAG Corps; I was commissioned as a 2LT in the Army in September 2019. I grew up in a military-entrenched family: my father, sister, and brother-in-law are currently serving in the Navy. Although I knew I wanted to enter the JAG Corps, I wanted to experience it for myself and, in my 2L summer, I sought out two externships with different JAG offices.
I was exceptionally fortunate to split my summer between Fort Bragg and Fort Eustis and experience different mission-sets within the Army. During my time, I participated in PT, observed a court martial, and experienced a variety of ways JAGs serve – including Trial Defense Services, Legal Assistance, Military Justice, and Ethics.
While at W&L, I’ve had phenomenal professors who have encouraged me to follow my goal of becoming a JAG. Both Professor Disbennett-Albrecht and Professor Bond demonstrated the value of passion for those you’re serving in their practicums. Ms. Coleman-Jackson (Assistant Director, Office of Career Strategy) was extremely influential in my process. She helped me with interview prep, networking, and was always willing to find time to speak with me.
Describe the application and interview process for JAG. What was the most interesting or surprising thing about that experience?
The JAG application process is a long and daunting process at times. What was most surprising to me was that not only are there the normal components of a job application, but the process doesn’t end once you’ve been selected—you also have to be medically processed and cleared. The most exciting part of the process was the interview with the Field Screening Officer (FSO). This interview acts as a two-way interview in which it’s expected for applicants to pose questions to the FSO as the FSO is also asking questions of the applicant. The FSO is a JAG who has served for a number of years and has experienced many facets of the JAG career. They are open to answering questions about what a career as a JAG resembles, and my FSO relayed his personal experiences since joining.
Do you know where you will be placed and what sort of work will you be doing? If not, what do you hope for?
I won’t find out where I will be stationed until later in the process nor do I know what type of law I’ll be practicing. Most new JAGs begin their career in Legal Assistance and are rotated through the other areas of law within their first four years of service. During my externships, I thoroughly enjoyed working in Military Justice and Trial Defense Service and hope to waive the Jolly Roger!
In what ways has your experience at W&L prepared you for JAG?
My practicums have all proved exceptionally helpful in preparing me for JAG. In them, I’ve improved my legal writing tenfold by writing motions and white papers. I have also had the opportunity to complete oral arguments on the motions I’ve drafted and interview mock clients and witnesses, which made me more comfortable in my ability to provide legal advice and identify key information for cases. My experiences at W&L have placed me in the best possible position to begin my career as a JAG with confidence in my capabilities as a lawyer.