Affiliate Spotlight: Opportunities Blossom for Military Affiliates

Volume 37, Number 4


Marcella C. Ducca is an Assistant Editor of The Affiliate and an Associate in the Atlanta, Georgia, office of Greenburg Traurig, LLP.

District 34 of the ABA YLD comprises the federal and military affiliates, including affiliates in the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Marine Corps, and U.S. Navy. Each branch of the Armed Forces has one representative to the ABA YLD and the District 34 Representative acts as a liaison between the service representatives. Michael O. Walker is the current ABA YLD District 34 Representative. Attorneys serving in any branch of the military are members of the Judge Advocate General’s Corps (“JAG Corps”) and are referred to as “JAG” attorneys. ABA membership is free for JAG attorneys who have been licensed for five years or less.

Because the military affiliates are naturally divided by service, each affiliate has its own programming and initiatives. Individually, the services focus on recruiting and introducing various JAG Corps opportunities to students and young attorneys, but they also collectively collaborate on several key initiatives.

Nominate a Military Attorney for the Outstanding Young Military Lawyer Award

One of the signature initiatives the military affiliates focuses on is recognizing the talent of young attorneys within the ranks of the military. Each year, the ABA YLD selects five military attorneys to receive The Outstanding Young Military Lawyer Award. This Award recognizes the dedication and excellence of young military attorneys in each of the five services and is presented each year at the Annual Meeting. The recipients of The Outstanding Young Military Lawyer Award for 2011–2012 were Major Joseph L. Strawn (U.S. Army), Lieutenant Eric S. Nelson (U.S. Navy), Captain Kellyann Haniford Boehm (U.S. Air Force), Major Russell R. Henry (U.S. Marine Corps), and Lieutenant Dorothy Hernaez (U.S. Coast Guard). The nomination process for The Outstanding Young Military Lawyer Award 2012–2013 will open in spring 2012. The deadline is April 1, 2012. Be on the lookout for more information about the nomination process on the ABA YLD website at

Listen to/Participate in the Recent Career Development Initiative Podcast

As part of the ABA Young Lawyers Division’s Career Development Initiative (CDI), CDI teamed with the military affiliates to host CDI’s recent podcast in January spotlighting military careers. The podcast covered a wide range of topics including how to become a military attorney and the various areas of law an attorney serving in the JAG Corps practices. Issues such as basic training and deployment were also discussed. The podcast and related materials can be accessed at

Join a Committee

Many attorneys in the military affiliates are also members of the ABA Military Lawyers Coordinating Committee (MLCC). In order to keep ABA military attorneys apprised of the various ABA offerings, the MLCC pools all events, programs, and resources of ABA member groups into one centralized area. More information about MLCC can be found at

Some attorneys in the military affiliates are also members of the ABA YLD Government, Military, Public Sector Lawyers (GMPSLs) Committee. The GMPSLs Committee serves attorneys from all branches and levels of government, as well as military lawyers on active duty, reservists, national guardsmen, and the civilians who represent the armed forces. The GMPSLs Committee focuses on issues of law as well as personal and professional development by presenting continuing legal education programs at conferences, conducting teleconferences, publishing newsletters, and sponsoring resolutions.

Finally, many members of the military affiliates, along with their civilian liaisons, are active members of the ABA Standing Committee on Armed Forces Law (SCAFL). It addresses issues of direct importance to the practice of law within the Department of Defense. SCAFL studies and makes recommendations on the administration of laws, regulations, and practices in the Armed Forces and the courts-martial system; the protection of the legal rights and constitutional guarantees of personnel in the Armed Forces; and the ability of lawyers and judges in the Armed Forces to practice in conformity with all applicable American Bar Association standards. In doing so, SCAFL holds various teleconferences and in-person meetings at ABA meetings. In addition, SCAFL sponsors various CLEs and distributes its own awards to recognize military attorneys.

Looking to the Future

The military affiliates are in the process of further developing programming across services. Now is an excellent time for affiliate leaders interested in teaming with the military affiliates to reach out and collaborate on initiatives and events. For more information about the military affiliates’ work, contact Michael O. Walker at or 270/804-3309.



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