Career Paths: Justin Bass ’15L
Justin Bass ’15L grew up in the New York City area and attended the University of Pennsylvania, where he was a member of the Sprint Football team, and Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity. He is a student attorney in the Criminal Justice Clinic at W&L Law. He was recently professionally recommended for a commission in the Navy JAG Corps.
Why did you decide to pursue a career in JAG?
I have always been drawn toward public service work, and a career in the military always appealed to me. After my first internship with the Navy, it became clear that the military was an excellent professional fit for me. JAG Corps officers, generally, are not motivated by extrinsic gain, but by dedication to their job and their clients.
Have you had any externships or experiences at law school that pointed you in that direction?
While I always thought that I would do well in that sort of environment, it was not until I had experienced it as an intern after my 1L that I became certain of it. That summer I worked for the Navy JAG Corps in Washington, D.C. doing prosecution work. The next summer, I returned to work for the Navy in D.C., doing defense work.
Can you describe the application and interview process for JAG?
Each branch has a different approach. The Army and Air Force have more conventional interviews, while the Navy uses a structured interview. Despite the disparate approaches, all branches want the applicant to demonstrate dedication to service, and ability to be flexible and adapt to different jobs and geographic areas.
Do you know where you will be placed and what sort of work you will be doing?
I am not yet sure where I will be, but all first-tour Navy judge-advocates go through a rotation of prosecution, defense, command services, and legal assistance work.
In what ways has your experience at W&L Law prepared you for JAG?
JAG Corps attorneys have opportunities to work in all areas of law that the military might implicate. W&L requires a basic exposure in many of these areas, with Transnational Law and APLP. W&L further offers courses on the law of terrorism and the law of armed conflict, all of which give W&L alums a leg up over others without that background. Also, the opportunities we have to work with some of the most talented and respected criminal attorneys in the country prepares us exceedingly well to handle the duties of a first-tour judge advocate.
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