The trials of daily life inspired Lt. jg Alexandra Nica to join the legal profession.
“I really felt like I had a set of skills that I could put to use for society, that there was a way to help people,” Nica said. “I wanted to fix peoples’ problems in the same way that a doctor fixes a person’s body. The best way I could think to do that was to become a lawyer.”
She decided to pursue a career in the Navy while in law school.
“The summer after my first year I worked for the Army JAG Corps,” Nica said. “I really enjoyed the work, my bosses and my coworkers.”
She took the opportunity to talk with recruiters from the Army, Navy and the Air Force. She ultimately chose to apply for the Navy.
“I like the Navy JAGC mission,” Nica said. “I like the type of law that the Navy focuses on; I like the option to deploy; I like the locations of the bases; and I like my bosses and coworkers. It was the best fit for me.”
She applied the first semester of her second year and was accepted. The application process has changed since she went through, but there is basically a written application followed by an interview before a panel of Navy officers.
“Once the panel professionally recommends the applicant, the commissioning process begins,” Nica explained. “There is a security clearance, a medical and physical clearance, and a lot of paperwork. A few months later, if all goes well, the applicant is commissioned.”
After taking the bar, there is a five week officer development program to introduce new JAGs to the military. After passing the bar, the JAGs go to Naval Justice School for a course in basic military law before reporting to the first duty station. Nica’s initial commitment to the Navy is for four years of active duty.
“Of those four years, my first three will be in Yokosuka, Japan working in an office that does both criminal defense and legal assistance for service members and their dependents,” said Nica who is currently on active duty, but will not leave for Japan until April.
At some point in those three years, she will switch between those assignments.
“After that, I will likely be back in the states somewhere doing more of the same or switching to prosecution or, if I’m lucky, I’d like to do a brief tour on a ship,” Nica said.
She hopes to make a career of the Navy and overtime will get the opportunity to deal with international law, particularly as it applies to armed conflict.
“The great advantage to working with the Navy is that I get to do a bit of everything and, throughout, I get to support our men and women in uniform,” Nica said. “I am very excited for this new phase in my life and I am so lucky to be able to help our men and women in uniform.”