Marines connect with law community at NBPA conference[MIGRATE]
Marine Corps Recruiting Command personnel attended the 2012 National Black Prosecutors Association’s annual conference and job fair at the Roosevelt Hotel here, July 31. The objective was to establish relationships with public and private sector law professionals and to prospect for potential Marine judge advocates among the law students attending.
The NBPA is an organization dedicated to the advancement of African-American law professionals. Founded in 1983, the organization has a membership of nearly 1,000 lawyers across the country.
Finding qualified judge advocates is more difficult than finding potential Marine officers desiring an air or ground contract, so MCRC leaves no stone unturned. Of the 21,307 commissioned officers in the Corps during Fiscal Year 2010, only 548 were lawyers. In addition to having an undergraduate degree, potential judge advocates must also be in law school or have law degrees and be admitted to the bar in one of the 50 states or the District of Columbia.
“The NBPA conference and job fair provides the Marine Corps access to an audience of professional and community leaders in both the public and private sector,” said Capt. Douglas Duffin, deputy staff judge advocate, MCRC. “It also gives us access to an extraordinarily diverse group of soon-to-be professionals who are looking for their first job. We want to make those law students aware of the opportunities to serve in the Marine Corps.”
Marine Corps Recruiting Command remains focused on recruiting an officer corps that accurately represents the great diversity among both enlisted Marines and the American public. Among judge advocates, diversity, especially among African-Americans, lags behind the total officer corps, making the engagement opportunity at the NBPA conference especially valuable.
“Six percent of the total officer corps is African-American,” said Duffin. “In the judge advocate community it is four percent. We need to be more diverse and reflective of the diversity in the Marine Corps. Having a greater diversity of experience, whether it is ethnic, geographical, educational or a difference in perspective among judge advocates is a force multiplier.”
The Marines were not alone in understanding the benefits of military service.
“It’s important for the students here to see the military and learn more about the opportunities that are out there for them,” said Otis Bruce Jr., a deputy district attorney from Marin County, Calif.
Not only is Bruce an enthusiastic supporter of the Marines, he volunteers a significant portion of his time toward helping young people stay on a straight path through classroom speaking and one-on-one engagement with students.
“Military service is a great path for young people to follow,” said Bruce. “I think some military discipline would solve all of the problems young people have these days.”
For those interested in the challenge of becoming a Marine judge advocate, they will need that sort of discipline to prepare themselves for selection to attend Officer Candidate School.
“The Marine Corps is drawing down in size and at the same time the quality of individuals applying to serve has gone up,” said Duffin. “It is becoming a lot more competitive for people interested in becoming Marine officers.
For more information on the Marine Officer Law program, visit www.MarineOfficer.com