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Serving Justice in Uniform: A Comprehensive Career Guide for Military Paralegals

Published on: Jun 6, 2024

Paralegals play a crucial role in the military’s legal system, performing various tasks like researching to ensure laws are met, processing cases, managing discovery, and interpreting legislation to determine its impact on military operations. Military paralegals are also responsible for providing legal and administrative support in various areas of law, such as family law (divorces, custody issues, child support, and separation), criminal law, civil and administrative law, and contract law. 

If you are considering a career as a military paralegal, this guide will provide you with a detailed look into the typical job responsibilities, salary expectations, the branches they serve, and potential career paths.

Common Responsibilities of a Military Paralegal

These paralegals most commonly assist judges, judge advocates, unit commanders, and military attorneys and handle various legal matters and judicial work. Although their duties can vary, in general, military paralegals are usually responsible for the following tasks:

  • Assist judge advocates and military attorneys on many different projects

  • Conduct legal research, writing, discovery management, analysis, and interviews in areas such as military justice, claims, administrative law, operational law, and office management

  • Process correspondence, prepare written communications, and maintain client files

  • Prepare reports on legal activities in various forms and then present the reports to attorneys, judges, and others

  • Assist lawyers with investigations, conducting witness interviews, developing a case strategy, and reviewing case statuses

  • Examine records to ensure legal accuracy and completeness

  • Identify appropriate laws, legal articles, judicial decisions, and other materials that are relevant to assigned cases

  • Assist attorneys with drafting motions and pleadings, obtaining affidavits, and filing critical documents with the court

  • Prepare legal documents in support of non-judicial punishments, court-martial, and other military justice matters

Branches of the Military that Hire Paralegals

When you join the military, you can choose a Military Occupational Speciality (MOS), which includes exciting positions such as paralegal specialist. Military paralegals can serve in various military branches, such as the Navy, Army, Air Force, Marine Corps, or Coast Guard. They can also serve in other reserve components, such as the Air National Guard and Army National Guard.

However, while a military paralegal’s role will usually depend on the branch they serve, some of their everyday duties may include the following:


In the Army, military paralegals are often referred to as Paralegal Specialists. They are responsible for legal and administrative tasks that support unique areas of law (criminal law, international law, contract law, civil law, administrative law, and fiscal law). These paralegals assist judge advocates and other legal specialists and handle a significant range of legal matters and judicial work.

Marine Corps

In the Marine Corps, military paralegals can be known as Basic Legal Services Marines, Legal Services Specialists, or Congressional Marine Liasons, depending on their years of experience and rank.  For those starting out as a Basic Level Service Marine, the general duties typically include legal operations, as well as managerial, clerical, and administrative responsibilities. This position may also be responsible for research, maintaining correspondence files, and checking work to ensure it has been completed accurately.  


If you are considering working as a marine paralegal in the Navy, this position is often referred to as a Journeyman Paralegal, Legalman, Navy Paralegal, Paralegal, or Senior Paralegal. These positions are frequently responsible for supporting JAG Officers in all aspects of policy administration and military law and offering legal support to Active-Duty service members, retired military personnel, and family members.

Air Force

In the Air Force, marine paralegals can be called Paralegals or Paralegal Managers and are often non-lawyers who work under the supervision of a practicing lawyer. These positions tend to perform administrative and legal tasks that require knowledge of legal concepts, such as legal research and writing and making recommendations to the Staff Judge Advocate, interviewing witnesses, discovery management, and legal analysis. They also perform legal functions within the statutory guidelines and the Air Force Rules of Professional Conduct.

Training and Requirements to Become a Military Paralegal

Enlisted service members will need to complete basic military training to become a military paralegal. This training is completed in a classroom and the field, covering survival skills, tactical skills, military life and customs, physical training, and weapons training. Additionally, service members may also gain legal experience through classroom and on-the-job training, which includes learning:

  • Military judicial processes

  • Interviewing witnesses

  • Discovery management

  • Legal terminology

  • Research techniques and

  • How to prepare legal documents

In addition, depending on the branch, there may be other requirements that military paralegals will need to meet. For instance, an Army paralegal specialist must be a United States citizen or permanent resident with a valid Green Card. They must be between 17 and 34 years old and have at least a high school diploma or GED. Finally, those who want to serve will also need to take the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB), a series of tests that will help individuals better understand their strengths and determine which jobs in the Army are best. Only when a person’s ASVAB score qualifies will they be able to pursue becoming a paralegal specialist.

Salary and Benefits

A military paralegal’s median salary is around $108,294. However, this amount usually depends on different factors such as rank, experience, and location. In addition, military paralegals may also be eligible for other benefits such as housing, medical food, special pay, paid vacations, tuition assistance, and healthcare.

Day-to-Day Life of a Military Paralegal

The daily routine of a military paralegal can vary depending on the branch and position they work for. However, their role generally involves providing legal services to assist judges, advocates, and other unit commanders. This includes legal research in areas related to military justice, operational laws, and administrative law, participating in separation board proceedings, and handling administrative and legal matters, such as arranging evidence and legal documents for attorneys to review and use for their cases.

As military paralegals gain more experience and obtain advanced training, they will begin to manage more complex tasks and work with different offices, such as appellate offices or special victims’ offices. It is also worth noting that military paralegals may have many opportunities to deploy and work with various host nations. In some cases, they may even be stationed worldwide in Europe, Asia, Alaska, Hawaii, and Australia.

Advantages and Challenges

Outside of gaining experience in international law, contract law and serving one’s country, working as a military paralegal can provide numerous employment benefits, including health care, paid vacation time, life insurance, and retirement planning. However, unlike civilian employers, service members and their loved ones may also have access to other unique military perks such as no-cost air travel, housing, leisure discounts, and various veteran benefits, which can support service members before, during, and after their time in the Military.

However, before committing to a military paralegal position, it is important to understand the challenges involved. These may include the physical and emotional demands of active duty, as well as ethical and legal dilemmas. That is why it is crucial to thoroughly research and evaluate every aspect of the job to determine if it aligns with your future goals.

Resources and Next Steps

If you are interested in pursuing a career as a military paralegal, the following websites and programs can help you learn more about the career and the necessary steps to apply.

Additionally, contacting a military recruiter or visiting a law school with a military focus, such as New England Law, can provide additional information to help you on this career path.

Are You Ready To Serve Justice in a Uniform? Learn More Today

Military paralegals and related career fields have unique practices, procedures, training, and nuances. However, if you are considering a career as a military paralegal, continue to research to verify whether this career aligns with your professional goals and personal values.

About the Authors

Written by:

Kasia Nelson, Esq.

Kasia Nelson is a licensed attorney and skilled legal content writer with years of experience. With a background in corporate immigration law, she is well-versed in the intricacies of producing legally accurate and well-researched work. 


  • Michigan State University, B.S.

  • Western Michigan University – Cooley Law School, J.D.

Law Licensures

  • Michigan

Kasia Nelson

Kasia Nelson, Esq.


Education: Western Michigan University – Cooley Law School, J.D.

Knowledge: Corporate Immigration Law

Reviewed by:

Ryan P. Duffy, Esq.

Ryan P. Duffy is an attorney licensed to practice law in New Jersey, North Carolina, and South Carolina. His practice focuses primarily on Estate Planning, Personal Injury, and Business law. 

Law Licensures

  • New Jersey

  • Pennsylvania (inactive)

  • South Carolina

  • North Carolina

Ryan Duffy

Ryan P. Duffy, Esq.

Editorial Lead

Education: Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law, J.D.

Knowledge: Estate Planning