Reserve Judge Advocates & Legalmen


The Navy Reserve JAG Corps currently has more than 400 lawyers practicing in the fields of military justice, command advice and support, legal assistance, international and operational law, administrative law, admiralty and maritime law, and other specialized areas. They serve throughout the United States and in several foreign countries.

As a Navy Reserve judge advocate you’ll enjoy a challenging part-time career that maximizes your legal talents. You’ll work with professionals from all walks of life, including private practice, state and federal government, and private industry. And you’ll serve your country in uniform.

If you have questions on the officer affiliation sources described below, please e-mail the Navy Reserve Law Program.

Affiliating with the Reserve

Reserve appointments are presently limited to only those with current or prior active duty experience. Appointment sources include:

  1. Transfer from the Active Component to the Reserve Component
    Transfer of officers from the Active Component to the Reserve Component is the primary means of filling requirements for the Navy Reserve JAG Corps. Active duty Navy judge advocates may request a Reserve appointment upon completion of their active duty service obligation through the Navy Personnel Command’s Career Transition Office (CTO). Working with the Navy Reserve Law Program, CTO will assist in the transition from active duty service. The transfer process allows members to transfer directly from active duty to Selected Reserve (SELRES) status without any break in service. For additional information on CTO assistance visit
  2. Reserve Officer Change of Designator Requests
    Navy SELRES officers in the grades of lieutenant commander and below may request redesignation to JAG Corps. Applications are reviewed by a panel of Navy Reserve JAG Corps senior officers and selection is based on the current requirements and needs of the Navy Reserve JAG Corps. Applications must include copies of the applicant’s five most recent fitness reports and a copy of their officer summary record and performance summary record. Applicants must also provide documentation of a law degree from an American Bar Association (ABA)-accredited law school and proof of current good standing from an approved licensing authority. Applicants agree to continue to serve in SELRES status for at least three years from the date of appointment in the Navy Reserve JAG Corps and must complete the 10-week Basic Lawyer Course at the Naval Justice School within six months of the date of selection for change of designator. Applications for change of designator are currently being received and considered on a rolling basis. Further information may be found in MILPERSMAN 1212-010.
  3. Reserve Officer Interservice Transfers
    Reserve officers on inactive duty in a Reserve or Guard Component of another service may request a transfer to the Navy Reserve JAG Corps if their current branch of service concurs with the request. Interservice transfer requests are coordinated through Commander Navy Recruiting Command and interested officers should contact their local Navy Recruiting District for more information. Interservice transfer request applications will include biographical information, a contingent resignation, a Request for Conditional Release (DD 368), a verified statement from headquarters for the officer’s current service confirming no failures to select for promotion for the next higher grade and that the officer’s name has not been removed from a promotion list, current copies of the DD 2808 (Report of Medical Examination) and DD 2807-1 (Report of Medical History), a verified statement of service, a signed statement of understanding, and a copy of various documents from the officer’s personnel record. Further information may be found in MILPERSMAN 1300-082.
  4. Reserve Direct Commissioning Officer Program
    The Direct Commissioning Officer Program provides an opportunity for exceptionally qualified former and current Reserve enlisted personnel of any Service or Component to apply for a commission as a Navy Reserve judge advocate. Newly commissioned officers will complete the 5-week Officer Development School within one year of commissioning and must also complete the 10-week Basic Lawyer Course at the Naval Justice School within two years of commissioning. Selected personnel will be credited three years for entry-grade credit and appointed as a lieutenant junior grade (O-2). Applicants should contact their nearest Navy Reserve officer recruiter for more information. Basic qualifications for applicants include:
    • must be a U.S. citizen between 21 and 42 years old at the time of commissioning;
    • must be a graduate of a law school accredited by the ABA at the time of graduation and licensed as a member in good standing of the bar of a federal court or of the highest court of a state, U.S. territory, the District of Columbia, or a commonwealth;
    • must maintain eligibility for worldwide assignment;
    • must complete any active duty obligation under current orders before being commissioned;
    • must have at least one year of cumulative active duty experience, which may include any combination of active duty orders;
    • must submit copies of their performance evaluations or fitness reports from the last three of their most recent Active Component or Reserve service;
    • must agree to serve an eight-year Ready Reserve obligation, with at least six years to be completed in a PAY 1 SELRES status; and
    • must meet all physical requirements set forth in Chapter 15 of the Manual of the Medical Department.

Former Active Component and Reserve Component officers may request a Reserve appointment by working with a Navy Reserve officer recruiter on a reappointment request to Navy Personnel Command. Approved appointments are normally in the same grade as previously held; however, the date of rank and pay entry base date may be adjusted. Further information may be found in MILPERSMAN 1131-040. These opportunities are subject to the requirements and needs of the


An integral part of the Navy Reserve legal team, Legalmen assist attorneys in all areas of practice. Some work in the courtroom and prepare records of trial. Others work on command staffs drafting official correspondence and reports. Legalmen are relied upon for their intelligence and ability to work with little supervision. Their knowledge and advice help countless Sailors throughout the Fleet.

Pay and Benefits

Legalmen receive pay that varies depending on grade, length of service, and degree of participation. They’re also eligible for numerous federal benefits including full-time Servicemen’s Group Life Insurance; access to military exchanges, commissaries, and theaters; and, after they have completed 20 years of qualifying service, generous retirement benefits. Although the retirement benefits for Reservists are similar to those for active duty members, Reservists do not begin receiving most of those benefits, including retirement pay, until reaching retirement-eligible age (generally 60).

To learn more, see the Enlisted Benefits on Navy Reserve.

Earn College Credit

The Navy JAG Corps provides opportunities for advanced training as paralegals, court reporters, and in other administrative and clerical duties. And some of that training may translate to credit hours toward a bachelor’s or associate’s degree.

Find a Recruiter

To enlist as a Reserve Legalman, Contact Your Local Recruiter.