Funded Legal Education Program sends officers to school

by Staff Sgt. Patricia Deal
U.S. Army Europe Public Affairs

HEIDELBERG, Germany — The Army’s Funded Legal Education Program offers commissioned officers a golden opportunity – the chance to attend law school for free while on active duty and then become a part of the Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps.

“The opportunity to attend law school for free and still get paid as an Army officer – I jumped at the opportunity. I always had an interest in being an attorney and this was an excellent way for me to go to law school,” said Lt. Col. Beth Kubala, executive officer for the U.S. Army Europe and Seventh Army Office of the Judge Advocate.

A West Point graduate originally commissioned as a military intelligence officer, Lieutenant Colonel Kubala attended law school through the FLEP program.
The program is made available by the Department of the Army Office of The Judge Advocate General to officers in the ranks of second lieutenant through captain who have two to six years of active duty service.

The Army pays law school tuition and active-duty salaries for those selected for the schooling. This year, up to 25 active duty officers will be selected Army-wide to attend law school beginning in fall 2010 under the program if funding permits, according to a recent OTJAG release.

OTJAG officials recommend that interested officers review Chapter 14 of Army Regulation 27-1, which governs the FLEP program, to determine their eligibility.
“The idea behind the program is to get officers in the JAG Corps who already have background and experience with the Army. Many JAG officers are direct-commissioned out of law school and just aren’t as familiar with Army doctrine and policy,” said Col. Kevin Boyle, USAREUR and Seventh Army deputy staff judge advocate.

“Having that bit of experience with the Army in a leadership role definitely makes you a better lawyer,” said Lt. Col. Brian Hughes, chief of the USAREUR OJA’s military and civil law division. Lieutenant Colonel Hughes was a commissioned infantry officer for six years before attending law school through the FLEP program. “You are able to make better decisions not only based on legality, but also based on the impact the decision would have on the particular unit from a military standpoint.”

Applications are being accepted from eligible officers through Nov. 1. Interested officers must process an application packet and a request to immediately register for the earliest available Law School Admission Test through command channels. Eligible officers in Europe who are interested in applying can contact Lieutenant Colonel Kubala at 370-7177, 06221-57-7177 or