About the Honors Program
The Army General Counsel's Honors Program provides young attorneys with a unique opportunity to help advise the Department of the Army's senior civilian and military leadership on a wide variety of legal and policy issues. These attorneys generally apply for the program in their third year of law school. If selected, they are invited to work alongside highly experienced career civilian and military attorneys in one of our four main practice groups.
The Honors Program Attorneys
The Office of the General Counsel consists of about 40 attorneys, each assigned to one of the four main practice groups. This size helps foster a collegial environment, akin to that of a small, high-quality law firm. It also means expectations on individual attorneys in the office are very high. All attorneys must be able to advise clients themselves, without the direct involvement of their supervisors (one of the four Deputy General Counsels) or the General Counsel. While most other attorneys in the office have at least 15-20 years of experience in their area of practice, Honors Program attorneys are expected to be able to work effectively and independently within about a year. For this reason, the Honors Program application process is highly competitive.
Specific issues Honors Program attorneys handle include:
- Congressional and public affairs
- appeals of Freedom of Information Act and Privacy Act denials
- information security and network privacy management law
- international agreements
- privatization and outsourcing
- acquisition of major weapons systems
- base realignment and closure
- water quality regulations
- the United States Military Academy
- the Army's hazardous waste programs
- regulations implementing the National Environmental Policy Act
- administration of Arlington National Cemetery
- foreign military sales
- use of the Army's appropriated funds
There are, of course, many more. Honors Program attorneys are currently assigned in two practice groups: Operations & Personnel, and Installations, Environment, & Civil Works.
Honors Program attorneys are commissioned officers in the United States Army. Most often, these officers were commissioned through ROTC before receiving an educational delay to obtain their law degrees. After completing law school, these participants serve four years on active duty in the Office of the General Counsel to satisfy their active duty service obligation. Soldiers currently on active duty in the United States Army and individuals who have no previous military experience are also eligible for the Honors Program, and incur a three-year active duty service obligation to the Office of the General Counsel if selected. Most Honors Program attorneys commence active duty at the Pentagon as First Lieutenants and are eligible for promotion to Captain after having been admitted to practice law in a state of their choosing. Pursuant to office policy, all attorneys in the Office of General Counsel wear civilian attire and are addressed by civilian titles.
Applying For the Honors Program
Openings are subject to the needs of the General Counsel and may change. Currently, the Office of the General Counsel expects Honors Program positions to open in August of 2016 and 2017. The application process would begin in December of the year immediately prior. If the Office of the General Counsel has not already invited you to apply for a specific position, please contact us to confirm that an opening is available before you mail any application materials. Please note that the Honors Program application process is separate from the JAG Corps application process.
Army Regulation 601-337 prescribes policy, acceptance criteria, and procedures for OGC Honors Program applicants. (http://www.army.mil/usapa/epubs/pdf/r601_337.pdf) To apply for a position in the Honors Program applicants holding a Reserve commission but not serving on active duty must submit the information described in subparagraphs 6a(6) through 6a(11) of AR 601-337. Applicants currently serving on active duty must additionally submit the information described in 6(a)(1), along with a signed statement acknowledging and agreeing to the three-year active duty service obligation. Applicants who are not already a commissioned officer must submit the information described in subparagraphs 6a(1) through 6a(11).
In addition the information required above, all applicants must submit a writing sample and a one-page resume that includes the following: 1) your class rank (or best approximation) and cumulative GPA at the undergraduate and law school institutions you have attended; 2) a brief listing of what you deem to be your most significant activities at, or honors received from, such institutions; and 3) the names of those writing letters of recommendation on your behalf. You are welcome to submit any additional information you believe we should consider in reviewing your application.
Please mail applications materials and letters of recommendation to the Office of the General Counsel, Attn: Honors Program Attorney Recruiting, 104 Army Pentagon - Room 3C546, Washington, DC, 20310. Due to Pentagon mail security procedures, we recommend you use a delivery service such as UPS or FedEx.