Army Legal Service

#1
My apologies if this issue has been dealt with before; I have looked briefly but can’t find the answer to my queries (and the ALS website doesn’t seem to be working at the moment?).

I am a law student in my final year at Oxford university and am going to be doing a BVC next year and pupillage the following year. At what stage should I be looking to apply to the ALS? I am aware that there is a requirement to be qualified; but is that all, or is a period of experience also necessary after the pupillage year?

PS – Although I have not managed to find an answer to my questions I have found a lot of comments about why a person should / should not join the ALS. Although very interesting that is really not my enquiry here.

Any other info on the ALS would also be very much appreciated though – where they are based, structure etc.

Thanks
 
#2
Have you spoken to your University Liaison Officer? He could give you all this gen, plus information about AOSB, AOSB briefing etc etc.

Are you only just thinking about this a matter of days before your finals (or possibly even after your last exam)? If so, you might wish to prepare an answer to questions about why you want to join the army, how long this has been your career plan, what planning and preparation you have done etc. Or in other words, is this something you really want to do and are committed to, or have you been turned down for other avenues and just feel that joining the army is a reasonable fallback option. If the latter then stand by not to succeed.
 

oldbaldy

LE
Moderator
#3
House said:
My apologies if this issue has been dealt with before; I have looked briefly but can’t find the answer to my queries (and the ALS website doesn’t seem to be working at the moment?).
:?

ALS Career Guide :wink:
 
#4
In answer to your questions schweik- I have done my briefing and got a 1 so am just waiting to take the main board. But I have previously been considering joining the TA and going down that route rather than a regular commission. Just the other day, however, someone mentioned the ALS to me and I realised that I could potentially combine the two 'careers' that I wished to pursue and thought it would be worth looking into.

And Oldbaldy thanks for that, it is very much appreciated.
 
#5
Not to be pass remarkable here, or to put down the army in anyway, but...

If you're doing law in oxford, WHY would you want to go ALS?!
 
#6
Well I have always wanted to join the army and the ALS would satisfy that wish at the same time as using my legal training.

Also the money is not as different as everyone seems to be making out; of course if I wanted to go into corporate law I could potentially be earning hundreds of thousands within a couple of years, but I would really rather cut my own feet off than help ridiculously rich companies screwing people over so that they can make themselves even more cash...

And if you consider the benefits that an officer can get, it really does put it on a par with pay for any junior criminal barrister. And plus, to us a cliché, money really isn't everything. And the type of people who tend to work in the big money firms would probably drive me to chop the rest of my legs off!
 
#7
House said:
Well I have always wanted to join the army and the ALS would satisfy that wish at the same time as using my legal training.

Also the money is not as different as everyone seems to be making out; of course if I wanted to go into corporate law I could potentially be earning hundreds of thousands within a couple of years, but I would really rather cut my own feet off than help ridiculously rich companies screwing people over so that they can make themselves even more cash...

And if you consider the benefits that an officer can get, it really does put it on a par with pay for any junior criminal barrister. And plus, to us a cliché, money really isn't everything. And the type of people who tend to work in the big money firms would probably drive me to chop the rest of my legs off!
Fair play.
 
#8
Um...

1. Succesful civvy barristers do intellectually challenging work for lots of money, which can be fun and lucrative.

The ALS do the fag ends of high street law for pretty low pay. On a par with a junior barrister *now*, maybe. On a par with a senior barrister, certainly not, and you'll find the jump happens pretty suddenly. You'll be on a major's pay, he'll have a second hand Porsche. You'll be on a colonel's pay, he'll have a second home. And you will also be bored. Consider!

To be blunt, the money is equivalent to a high street solicitors, because that's basically what the ALS is....

2. Army Officers live lives of excitement, responsibility and cameraderie. They get to command soldiers and feel all manly, and have conversations with the SSM about promoting people. As a result they Talk Like This and many become really memorable personalities. That's what you want.

The ALS are a sort of awkward tag-along in the Mess, and get none of the cool stuff, whilst still having all the problems that come with Service: the money, the getting-sent-to-The-Falklands-arbitararily, Catterick life, etc.

It really isn't the "best of both worlds"; all you have in common with the rest of the Army is occasionally wearing CS95, and you'll never progress as a lawyer doing the sort of dross that's the ALS's bread and butter.

SOME ALS lawyers get to the level where they can advise battlegroup commanders about human rights law at the sharp end, but it's never much beyond the level of "my soldiers are piling the prisoners in a heap, is that cool?" and you will, therefore, get very bored.

Don't go into corporate law if you don't want to, but for God's sake don't delude yourself that you'll find anything else more fulfilling and it will certainly pay less.

So:

1) Do a fam visit to the ALS before you go burning your bridges;

2) Consider sacking Law for a few years and doing the Army properly (ie, at all);

3) Have a gap year or something, Oxford law is a pressure cooker and you'll be thinking much more clearly even by August.
 
#9
Before you consider taking seemahpoint's advice, check out his profile.
http://arrse.co.uk/cpgn2/Your_Account/profile=34674.html

He is passionate about topics like:

» Cherie Blair, Mistress of Smut!!!
» Regrown finger is 'junk science' (say Brits)
» Damn your black heart, Heather Mills!
» Cannibal German Sergeants in Black Pudding Madness!

and

» The NAAFI Bar » The German Army's "Too Fat to Fight"!

Clearly a man with years of experience and vast maturity.[hr]Alternatively, he may be a friendless little spackstain, lurking in his room alone, save for a bottle of port, idly trolling ARRSE.
 
#10
Stonker said:
Before you consider taking seemahpoint's advice, check out his profile.
http://arrse.co.uk/cpgn2/Your_Account/profile=34674.html

He is passionate about topics like:

» Cherie Blair, Mistress of Smut!!!
» Regrown finger is 'junk science' (say Brits)
» Damn your black heart, Heather Mills!
» Cannibal German Sergeants in Black Pudding Madness!

and

» The NAAFI Bar » The German Army's "Too Fat to Fight"!

Clearly a man with years of experience and vast maturity.[hr]Alternatively, he may be a friendless little spackstain, lurking in his room alone, save for a bottle of port, idly trolling ARRSE.
Took the words out of my mouth Stonker....kindly put them back in....Im lost without words. As for you House....a lot of the Army is what you make of it....be it the ALS or any other branch. Whichever way way you decide to go I wish you all the very best.
 
#11
House said:
Well I have always wanted to join the army and the ALS would satisfy that wish at the same time as using my legal training.

Also the money is not as different as everyone seems to be making out; of course if I wanted to go into corporate law I could potentially be earning hundreds of thousands within a couple of years, but I would really rather cut my own feet off than help ridiculously rich companies screwing people over so that they can make themselves even more cash...

And if you consider the benefits that an officer can get, it really does put it on a par with pay for any junior criminal barrister. And plus, to us a cliché, money really isn't everything. And the type of people who tend to work in the big money firms would probably drive me to chop the rest of my legs off!
Are you sure you want to be a barrister? No really? :twisted:

oh if you pm me I can give you the number of the Maj in charge of recruitment for the ALS.
 
#12
Stonker said:
Before you consider taking seemahpoint's advice, check out his profile.
Please do! You'll find my posts vary from the sound to the flimsy, but most of us can say the same. And as a matter of fact, if you need any advice from a man who knows a fair bit about legal careers, drop me a message and you can have my phone number and make your own mind up.

In terms of fodding through other people's forum topics, I must admit that's a pretty odd thing to bring up as a criticism; they're hardly a secret, after all. In order:

» Cherie Blair, Mistress of Smut!!!
On the more choice extracts from her biography, widely reported and discussed in the Press and elsewhere.

» Regrown finger is 'junk science' (say Brits)
First we were excited about re-growing fingers. Then the BBC rubbished the science. That is the Exciting Tale of that forum topic.

» Damn your black heart, Heather Mills!
Silly, popular topic about, well, Heather Mills.

» Cannibal German Sergeants in Black Pudding Madness!
BBC news ran a story about German air force NCOs making black pudding out of their soldiers' blood donations. It was the subject of some discussion. Vive la resistance.

and

» The NAAFI Bar » The German Army's "Too Fat to Fight"!
Guardian reporting on the German defence cuts resulting in poor quality, fatty food and no money to spend on training meant that, er, the German army is too fat to fight.

I have no idea who or what Stonker is, what he is for or why he is waving his willy, but I suspect his opinions differ from my own about either the Army Legal Service or the Special Air Service, in which case he can chin up!

Having had a look over my post about the ALS, I think most of it stands; it's entirely possible to have a career with them and enjoy it, but there are a number of serious shortcomings and it isn't going to give you the best of either fighting or advocacy.

A man I met a few weeks ago actually *was* working in highstreet criminal litigation in Leicester, realised that was going to be his life and went ALS, where he's now much happier. It worked for him because he hated his job and couldn't get on in Civvy Street. If that's not you, think carefully; your other options may well make you happier in the long run.

And never take advice without testing it. Best of luck.
 
#13
seemahpoint said:
I have no idea . . . .why he is waving his willy,
Then let me explain.

It's because you are a vacuous, vapid little gobshoite with a high opinion of yourself, but without a fecking clue.

Is that any clearer, shitforbrains?
 
#14
House said:
My apologies if this issue has been dealt with before; I have looked briefly but can’t find the answer to my queries (and the ALS website doesn’t seem to be working at the moment?).

I am a law student in my final year at Oxford university and am going to be doing a BVC next year and pupillage the following year. At what stage should I be looking to apply to the ALS? I am aware that there is a requirement to be qualified; but is that all, or is a period of experience also necessary after the pupillage year?

PS – Although I have not managed to find an answer to my questions I have found a lot of comments about why a person should / should not join the ALS. Although very interesting that is really not my enquiry here.

Any other info on the ALS would also be very much appreciated though – where they are based, structure etc.

Thanks
Reality check needed here mate!!! It takes a certain type of person to do well in th ALS.....

1. Do you like dealing with dozens of divorce cases at any one time where husband/wife has been caught shagging his/her next door neighbor? If answer is yes carry on to question number 2.

2. Do you think you would find it fulfilling at the rank of Maj (or in some theatres Lt Col) being called out to act as a PACE solicitor for a 14 year old caught stealing a Mars Bar from the NAAFI? If answer is yes, go to question number 3.

3. Would you like to work for a boss who is either too incompetent to work as a civilian barrister or too lazy? If answer is yes, move on to question number 4.

4. Would you like to work as a 'solicitor' in an environment where all of the police laugh at you because of your total incompetence? If answer is yes move on to question 5.

5. Would you like to be looked upon by all of your peers as a bit of a joke, to always turn up to events or functions in the wrong dress as no-one will tell you what to wear and you do not have the common sense to find out any other way, to do any form of drill looking like a novice Army Cadet? If answer is yes, ......................

crack on mate I am sure you will love it, pay is good compared to most civilian counterparts (despite the whinging by Army lawyers) and even the slightest bit of competence will ensure you your Lt Col within 14 months, full Colonel by the age of 25 and one star before you are 30!!.
 
#16
Billy Smart's Circus
 
#17
Stonker said:
seemahpoint said:
I have no idea . . . .why he is waving his willy,
Then let me explain.

It's because you are a vacuous, vapid little gobshoite with a high opinion of yourself, but without a fecking clue.

Is that any clearer, shitforbrains?
Hmmm....

I've no idea how or why the two Hon Members above became so friendly with each other and, sadly, have not enough leisure to dig out earlier threads, but Seemahpoint's comments are not unreasonable, at least in my experience.

My experience of ALS is that, like many others, born of professional G1 contact. I have no axe to grind, and indeed can see why it would be such an attractive option when held against the melee that is life at the junior end of the Bar these days. There are many decent, bright and thoroughly professional men and women wearing that particular hat, but it's something you should do with open eyes - it is neither civilian practice nor the sort of soldiering that gets small boys excited.

Nothing wrong with any of that, of course, but I know several retired Officers now making a decent and very rewarding crust at the Bar (particularly at the criminal end). A couple are of my own vintage and retired after four or five years' good Infantry soldiering. They always intended to, and for their valuable contribution to the Army received in return a grounding in people that has proved subsequently invaluable, allied to a proper understanding of what really matters in life. They are better able to express themselves, to find humour in the bleak or tiresome, and to meet people from all backgrounds with equanimity and respect.

Why is any of this important? Well, most importantly, you must visit ALS, and find out first-hand what they do and how. Don't however, necessarily feel that because you are (and would like to be) a lawyer, then that is what you should do in the Army. If you aspire to a full career then you may find that the grounding that soldiering gives you will be every bit as valuable as your degree from Oxford; indeed, faced with a row of Oxford degrees, the Pupillage Committee may feel that the one backed by a few years at the sharp end (in any Corps) is the one worthy of a punt. Visit ALS and learn about them, but visit also the convential bit of the Army, if only to rule it out. You may be surprised!

Good luck.
 
#18
Hmmm.

The best advice given is visit or speak to to DALS/ALS directly. However, you might want to ponder the following.

Like in all walks of army life, there are good and bad in the ALS, reflected in some of the rather ill-informed comments made. I have met ******* and saints in all services and arms, I don't tar everyone with th same biggotted brush. The work of ALS is a little more demanding than advising delinquent thiefs (BTW - the RAF handle that side of life). The only police station work ALS do is in the Flying Lawyer capacity (for example post-shooting incident defence work where your punter is facing a murder/war crimes charge, not larceny of confectionary).

The criticism of those joining the ALS 'because they can't cut it in civvy street' is somewhat dated and illconcieved. Do Logistics officers join the army because they couldn't hack it with Eddy Stobart? Do Doctors join because they can't handle Casualty? Can Signallers not cut the mustard at Orange? Engineers not quite up to motorway maintainance? Of course not, they join because they do far more than meets the uninformed eye, and because of the reasons YOU mention your thread. I know that the ALS has officers from The city, Oxbridge, civvy Baristers of considerable experience, and ex-high street solictors. Some have completed P-Coy, some the all arms course (Royal Marines), some are Special Duties qualified. Some, it is true, lack military credibility (not surprising as some only spend 3 1/2 weeks at Sandhurst). But for those who are a little 'pale-green', so what? Do want to be advised as to whether it's better to go left or right flanking, or whether or not your use of MLRS is going to land you in the Hague?

So, speak to ALS, join the OTC, arrange a famil visit, and good luck.


PS - I wonder if seemahpoint has suffered at the hands of one their prosecutors and feels a little unloved?
 
#19
This topic comes up every now and then on here, and always seems to attract people who slag off the ALS for no obvious apparent reason. For some reason, Army doctors are not subject to this vitriol - I wonder why not...?

I am not a lawyer but, in the recent past, I have worked on a daily basis with ALS lawyers. At the moment I work on a daily basis with City lawyers.

Notwithstanding the salary commanded by the latter group (earned through extremely long hours it must be said), were I to be a lawyer I would not like to do their job without at least having spent some time in the former group.

A little while ago, I met one of the ALS intakes. They were all extremely able at 'hacking it' in civvy street (including private practice and CPS), but wanted to try something different from the dry and repetitive treadmill of their current jobs.

Nothing is for ever, and you have the rest of your life to a) spend weekends drafting lengthy dull documents for corporates or b) hang around miserable courthouses with lowlife (on both sides); so why not give it a go?
 
#20
Dilfor said:
This topic comes up every now and then on here, and always seems to attract people who slag off the ALS for no obvious apparent reason...............
Lol, no reason? Then you are mistaken, you have never worked with ALS.
 

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