Judge Advocates are charged with litigating criminal cases as prosecutors or defense counsel in courts-martial. Cases tried by Judge Advocates range from misdemeanors, such as petty larceny, to felonies, such as rape and murder. Judge Advocates manage their own cases immediately. They quickly acquire the ability to bring litigation to completion. Judge Advocates may additionally serve as Senior Counsel, managing a team of Judge Advocates.
Judge Advocates practice Operational Law, encompassing the full range of legal services required for commanders to execute their missions. This includes educating Marines on the international treaties and agreements that comprise the law of armed conflict (Geneva Conventions of 1949, Hague Conventions of 1907, etc.). Judge Advocates provide training to Marines on the status of noncombatants, the sick and wounded, and prisoners of war. Judge Advocates also facilitate the resolution of legal disputes with other nations and the interpretation of Status of Forces Agreements.
While primary practice entails criminal litigation and operational law, Judge Advocates practice in all areas. They assist with estate planning, immigration and naturalization law, family law, landlord-tenant law, state and federal tax matters, and consumer protection. Judge Advocates represent the U.S. in a broad range of tort issues, ranging from the Federal Tort Claims Act to the Military Claims Act. Judge Advocates provide representation in arbitration, grievance, and equal employment opportunity administrative hearings. Judge Advocates deal with multi-billion dollar procurement contracts for supplies, services, construction, research and development. They litigate Marine Corps contractual claims, work with the Dept. of Justice and U.S. Attorney’s Office.