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Local Lawyers Take a Break From Practice to Join JAG Corps

August 25, 2014

The Legal Intelligencer
By Ben Seal

Practicing at a private law firm can be plenty stressful, and the demands placed on lawyers are often exhausting, but two Philadelphia attorneys are going through intense training in order to use their legal skills in an entirely new situation.

Michael B. Hayes, a partner at Montgomery McCracken Walker & Rhoads, and Robert Foster, a contract attorney at Blank Rome, both received direct commissioned officer appointments as first lieutenants in the U.S. Army Reserve and are in the midst of a rigorous process to prepare them for service as officers in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps.

The training, which began with a six-and-a-half-week course at Fort Benning, Ga., is far removed from an average day at the office. Beyond swapping pinstripes for camouflage, Hayes and Foster went through training that included elements of land navigation, basic rifle marksmanship and tactics and maneuver-motions practice of a different order.

“It was physical training, but it was also sort of indoctrinal, giving us a sense of what your enlisted soldiers are doing in training and day-to-day,” said Hayes, who practices in Montgomery McCracken’s litigation department and focuses on commercial litigation, government and corporate investigations.

Though attorneys in the JAG Corps will be working in the legal realm, they still need to be prepared for unexpected situations. That means running through drills with full gear, learning about combat first aid and even water survival training, in which the men were blindfolded and pushed off of a high dive.

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