Four Duke Law 1Ls secure summer internships with the Navy and Air Force JAG Corps
Students share their motivations for pursuing service opportunities with the uniformed legal arms of the U.S. military.
Four first-year Duke Law students have been accepted to competitive summer programs in the Navy and Air Force Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) Corps.
It is unusual for any school to secure so many slots for such highly competitive programs, said Major General Charles Dunlap, Jr. USAF (Ret.), professor of the practice of law and executive director of the Center on Law, Ethics and National Security (LENS.)
“This is a terrific opportunity for law students to get first-hand experience of working in the public sector, and also to learn about the armed forces,” said Dunlap, whose 34-year career in the Air Force JAG Corps included four years as deputy judge advocate general.
“Each of these students have amazing resumes and great personalities, so it was a real pleasure to work with them through the process. They will be fantastic representatives of the Law School.”
The JAG Corps is the uniformed legal arm of each of the five traditional branches of the U.S. Armed Forces: Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps and Navy. The Air Force JAG Corps provides legal services to the sixth branch, the Space Force, established in December 2019.
Cash, Dunbar, Flewelling, and Retzbach spoke about their summer plans and interest in the JAG Corps for Dunlap’s Lawfire blog.
Madison Cash ’24, Navy JAG Corps
“I am honored to have been selected for the 2022 Summer Internship with the Navy JAG Corps. As a Navy kid myself, I grew up watching JAG attorneys provide vital legal resources to service members and their families in desperate need of legal counsel, wills, and housing.
"I’m inspired by the JAG attorneys I have gotten the chance to speak with, working across the world to advise their commanders, provide legal services to service members, and litigate in court-martial proceedings.
"I’m also drawn to service in the JAG Corps because of its collaborative culture, constant adventure, and many incredible opportunities to gain trial experience early in my legal career. I am so excited to explore a career in the JAG Corps this summer!”
Madison Dunbar ’24, Air Force JAG Corps
“I am honored to have been selected for the 2022 Summer Externship with the Air Force JAG Corps in Charleston, South Carolina. Before law school, I worked for three years at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York as a criminal trial paralegal and Special Assistant to the U.S. Attorney. There, I discovered a passion for prosecution and experienced working as part of an executive staff.
"From speaking with JAG attorneys and my own research, I believe working with the JAG Corps will combine what I know I want in a legal career with other exciting areas of law I hope to explore.
"I am not from a military background and I am the first in my family to attend law school. For those reasons, I am doubly excited my first legal work experience will come with the Air Force JAG Corps this summer.”
Riley Flewelling JD/LLM ’24, Air Force JAG Corps
“I am incredibly excited for my summer externship with the Air Force JAG Corps! I came to law school out of a desire to do meaningful public service, so I am thankful for the opportunity to pursue this passion in my first summer.
"My father’s own Air Force career definitely influenced my decision to apply. He is an incredible leader and has always attributed this to the mentorship he experienced early in his time in the service.
"I find the JAG Corps appealing because I am seeking a legal career filled with diverse experiences and challenges. Every judge advocate I have interacted with speaks with passion about the wide breadth of issues they get to tackle. The enthusiasm they all have for their work is infectious, and I am looking forward to soaking up as much as I can this summer!”
Katie Retzbach ’24, Air Force JAG Corps
“I am incredibly honored to have been selected for a 2022 Summer Internship with the Air Force JAG Corps. I have always had an interest in national security issues and a passion for public service, so I am excited to learn more about the JAG Corps and the services they provide to airmen and their families.
"After General Dunlap’s Wintersession course and speaking with JAG attorneys, the Air Force JAG Corps internship seemed like the perfect place to spend my summer.
"I am looking forward to learning more about the legal aspects and challenges of military operations and getting hands-on experience with trial preparation and litigation. I am excited to be exposed to a wide range of legal issues and exploring a future career in public service!”