HONORING MILITARY LAWYERS ON MEMORIAL DAY
By Robert E. Hirshon
"I find it scarcely possible to get on without some person in the
situation of a judge advocate."
Within weeks of accepting command of the Continental Army, Gen. George Washington saw the need for a uniformed lawyer - a judge advocate - to advise him and his staff on military law. Many luminaries of the law have since served as judge advocates, including Capt. John Marshall at Valley Forge and Majs. John Wigmore and Felix Frankfurter in the First World War. More recently, Maj. Gen. Bill Suter left active Army service to become clerk of the Supreme Court of the United States. Thousands of other judge advocates have undertaken second careers in industry, commerce, government, and private practice. They continue to serve their country as leaders in their communities and in the legal profession.
Modern-day military legal practice demands expertise unimagined in the past, including knowledge of admiralty, contract, criminal, personnel, operational, and environmental law. Military lawyers also provide expert legal support to individual service members and their families in such areas of the law as estate planning and family law. The American Bar Association, in a program called Operation Enduring LAMP (Legal Assistance for Military Personnel), has organized thousands of civilian lawyers who have volunteered to provide free legal assistance to mobilized reservists and their families.
We are proud of our long, supportive, and mutually-beneficial relationship
with the armed forces. We are even prouder of those who within our profession
have chosen to serve in the military. Military lawyers enrich our ranks and
serve in important leadership positions.