Army Legal Service

Discussion in 'Officers' started by JohnDutch, Jun 29, 2006.

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  1. Hi all,

    I qualify as a solicitor in November and was wondering if anyone here is part of the ALS. Im interesting in joining and would like to know more from the horses mouth so to speak. What's the job like? After leaving did people find it hard to get a job in a civvie practice? What was the diversity of the role like?

    Sorry about all the questions. Would appreciate any feedback that people who have been there and done that.

  2. You should contact Army Legal Services in Upavon. 3 main streams that you can follow: Advisory, Operational Law or Prosecuting. You should try and get some experience of life before joining because although you become an Army officer you only spend 3 weeks at Sandhurst on the Vicars & Tarts Course and you do need some credability. If you serve for 4 years you should have no problem going back to civilian practice. The longer you stay the harder it becomes.
  3. I wouldn't touch the ALS with a barge-pole.

    I don't know anyone who has had professional dealings with the ALS (either from within the Army, or outside it) who has had a good word to say about them. I say this having been an Adjt for 2 1/2 years.

    The ALS has a reputation of being a bunch of people who couldn't hack it in civvie street.

    My recommendation to you, as it has been to others who have asked about this very question, is either join the Army as a proper officer in a real part of the Army, or become a civilian lawyer.

    The ALS are simply not up to the job - and I suspect that whilst you'll enjoy it for a bit, you'll always wonder why officers from the real Army looked at you with pity.
  4. Spending years in the Orderly Room as the Discipline Sgt (ORC) and latterly the Chief clerk (ORQMS) of my Battalion in the mid 90s and now legally qualified myself, I must say that my experience of them was quite different. I found them to be most helpful and I learned a great deal from them.

    The ALS at what was 1 Armd Div at Verden handled my divorce which cost me nothing, they taught me how to take statements and much much more.

    You could ring them up directly, regardless of your rank and receive all manner of legal advice. Similarly, the ALS team in Hong Kong under (then) Col Howell were a superbly professional bunch of people. Indeed, it was Colonel Howell who produced a superbly written and well-balanced report into bullying in the Army which was well-received by the Parliamentary Defence Select Committee.

    In Northern Ireland, the ALS 'Flying Lawyer out of HQ NI at Lisburn saved many a skin when he was on hand to look after our soldiers after an incident and handled the criminal injuries compensation claims for our soldiers with great skill and speed.

    Perhaps you were unlucky or things have radically changed since I retired from the Army but certainly my experience with them was a positive one and I cannot speak too highly of them!

    Regards and best wishes
  5. What about Legal Spice?! :wink:
  6. ...who is also a member of our fine community... :D

    ...but hell yes!!!
  7. It mkes me wonder how professional they are when you see them displaying their contact e-mail address :

    You think they could be afforded a proper MOD e-mail address!.
  8. God bless her lovely legalness. *sighs*
  9. I am in a similar position as the original poster's although I have been qualified for 3 years and have been 'hacking civvie life' fairly comfortably which may come as a surprise to Bayonet-mouse. I have been considering the ALS as a fresh challenge not as an escape route from civvie life which, quite frankly, does not require an awful lot of hacking.

    It strikes me that Bayonet-mouse seems blissfully unaware of the contributuion that supporting elements of the army provide to the fighting elements. Does he consider that a driver, or a chef, or a medic, is not a proper soldier and should therefore get a life and grab a weapon? Does he consider that soldiers could happily carry on with their jobs without a supporting legal service? If so, I suggest that he never leaves the army because he may struggle to 'hack' civvie street.

    Other comments on this thread have been altogether more interesting and helpful.
  10. cpunk

    cpunk LE Moderator

    The ALS raises hackles in the rest of the army because, quite frankly, a lot of its officers aren't very 'military': whether they're good or bad lawyers, most of us aren't in a position to judge but you can easily spot whether they've learned how to polish their boots, press their trousers or whatever and a good few seem to have missed that lesson. I once watched a bumptious young ALS captain deliver a lecture to a group of TA officers on 'New Issues in Military Law' or some such topic. He turned up in unpolished brown shoes, scruffy barrack dress trousers and a shirt which looked like it had spent the previous month at the bottom of his laundry basket. It appeared that he'd jotted down a few brief headings and was planning to cuff the majority of the lecture; unfortunately, his audience included a fair few lawyers, several of whom took the opportunity to rip into him as his blather unfolded. It became a form of comedy of embarassment, rather like watching three or four episodes of Fawlty Towers back-to-back. Not a happy event.

    On the other hand, I've met some very switched on characters over the years. I guess it's like most parts of the army: some people are thrusting to get on in a profession which interests them and they enjoy; others are taking the opportunity to hide away from the very different pressures of civilian life.
  11. That seems to be a much fairer, more measured comment. I would add though that if ALS lawyers are not meeting standards of dress and general military demeanour, that is surely a criticism of the training at Sandhurst and beyond. I suspect that the problem lies in trying to create the dual, soldier/solicitor role. The two strike me as being mutually incompatible, although I wonder to what extent a TA officer is more of a soldier than an ALS officer.
  12. cpunk

    cpunk LE Moderator

    What an odd comment. In this case, I would suspect the majority of the audience had been members of the TA and/or regular army for an average of about fifteen years each whilst I would estimate that the ALS captain in question was probably on his second tour. In any case, I doubt whether many TA officers that I have met would turn up to lecture on a major career course dressed like tramps, or would not bother to prepare a proper lecture.

    Anyway, I would suggest that while it isn't common, some professionally qualified officers do take the attitude that 'soldierliness' comes a very distant second to their professional skills and act accordingly. It's an attitude that is neither big nor clever IMHO.
  13. Some strange comments above! I doubt very much that lawyers (and anybody else for that matter) continually need to be spoon-fed and have their noses wiped for the rest of their careers. Are you really suggesting that ALS people should hold RMAS responsible for their own admin? It's a flawed argument and if you are suggesting that we do, then you're on a hiding to nothing. I think you'll find it's called self-discipline..

    Secondly, if you consider lawyer/soldier incompatible, I wonder what you think of the other PQOs? I would argue that they probably hold the higher ground when it comes to incompatibility with Armed Service. Nonetheless, they seem to get on just fine. As for the TA comment, I have no idea what was going through your mind when you wrote that and besides, somebody else has already responded to that little nugget!
  14. Who has just been posted to now be working 50 metres from my office.

    She was sooooooooooo lonely when she cuddled up to me yesterday in the hot sun............................
  15. Fiend! I'm in love. AAARGH! (Not with you, you understand).