Army officer with a law degree?

I have finished university with a law degree and I have started my application to become an officer. I do not want to be a legal officer as it would require another year of studying the LPC and a two year training contract before I could join. So I would like to know can this degree be of specific use or aspects of it be beneficial to a particular officer role. This information could perhaps then give me some help as to which one best suits me.

I have looked into the intelligence officer and understand that there is only around 8 officers selected per intake, so it is quite competitive. Nevertheless, it is of interest. Others I have looked into include the royal sigs, engineers and aviation. But I am open to any suggestions. I want to make the best decision with sound advice to have a solid idea before I get any interviews.
 

Robme

LE
Forget the degree, aside from letting you become an officer. Then sit down and think about what YOU want out of a military career. Do you want action, do you want a higher level of responsibility do you want to open the pathway to a senior career? Things like this done now will save you a large amount of heart ache later into your service.
Myself as a ranker, would always ask are you sure you want to be an officer in the first place?

I had a whale of a time in the RCT, now called the Royal Logistics Corps, I also served with 2 Para and spent time in Northern Ireland with MOD. Made Sgt after 17 years, and since enjoying a job well done and pension.

But everything only falls in place, once your sure what you want out of the Army.

To assist you if you do fancy action and adventure, then the Parachute Regiment will defo offer you that, with a more open door to Special Forces if you decide to go down that route.
Any of the technical Corps, RLC, REME, Engineers etc, will make more use of you and your degree, with the likelihood of an accelerated career path (nothing’s guaranteed). I recall a young Lt (son of a very senior Officer decorated for bravery whoes name should have ensured a very glittering career) turning up at morning working parade, pissed, still in his mess dress . His RCT career was cut well short as being a tad unsuitable for military service, it wasn’t his first time.
As for the higher ranks, Brigadier etc, well service with the Paras and Special Forces won’t do you any harm, especially if you have some action under your belt. I think i’m Correct in saying that of late every Chief of the Army has served either in the Paras or SAS.

Anyhoo, do the research, work out what you want from the Army, and then go for it 110%

Of course you could also do the proper thing and become a ranker and find out what the real Army is about. None of that dreary Mess Dress nonsense, and passing the port between your legs whilst strapped to an artillery piece or some such nonsense.

Incidentally, I have a law degree as well as a MA in International law, which I read for when I left the service.
 
I have been speaking to recruitment, family and family friends (who are in the military) and they do believe I possess the qualities to be a good officer. I do feel so too.

I feel I would like to gain the experience of developing my management/ leadership skills etc. You get from Sandhurst, with the whole formal dinners nonsense aside. I would like a role which gets me stuck into something intellectually but at the same time does allow me to have that hands on/action side to things. I know the aforesaid is a lot to ask for so there may not be many roles which have all of these wishes. But is there any that offer that balance?

The website on officer roles give you very little detail and doesn’t tell you how each job really is and what people think of the job. So it’s quite difficult to decide. I’ve spoken to two who have said the royal sigs is great but I don’t know if they are being bias because they are royal sigs. They had good things to say about RLC, as you have. RMP is a no go. There is a lot to pick from.

I’m just trying to build up an idea of what the jobs entail and military opinions on them. Then, I can get a good feel for what I think is best suited to me from this rather than the jobs website itself.

Well done, are you planning on going into law now? I thoroughly enjoyed Law at uni but I’m joining the army now as it’s more appealing to me at this moment in time than pursuing a legal career.

Thanks.
 

Brotherton Lad

LE
Kit Reviewer
You don't get to make these decisions until the latter half of the second term, about 6 months in. It's not just your decision, either.

From what you have said, I'd say think of RE, ETS, Inf or any that take your fancy. The Army is a very broad church and your legal training would be of value in any part of it.
 
Your LLB and time spent preparing and delivering assignments has taught you how to research, plan and think critically. All of those are valuable traits as an officer and will be well used in whichever path you choose.

What you need to decide is do you: a. want a shiny arrse job where you push paper, or b. Want to play soldiers more and be out and about, still some paperwork and planning but, much less of it.

With the Int Corps don’t go thinking ONLY 8 get in. Maybe only 8 apply. You should be thinking and preparing for: I am going to be the best possible candidate and they would be silly to turn me down. Start digging into current affairs, geo-politics, NATO partners and FFS learn where our friends and enemies are on a map of the world, what the capital cities are and who their leaders and other relevent personalities are..........you may also want to learn how to pick locks and Hotwire cars;) just for fun, it’ll make you interesting.
 
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My Cavalry Troop leader read law before joining up. It was a few years of fun and travel before he made a proper career of it (He specialised in Adventure training trips for the guys, so he could see the world on the Army's money).

Did 3 years in and is now a Senior Partner in a prestigious firm earning serious wedge

Good luck in whatever you choose.
 
There is one downside to a law degree, if widely known within an Infantry Battalion you will be the 'go to' for all legal issues. You are the in house Perry Mason for the hoods and bandits!
It's an excellent degree to have and will serve you well, as has been said by others you have a wide choice of options.
 
There is one downside to a law degree, if widely known within an Infantry Battalion you will be the 'go to' for all legal issues. You are the in house Perry Mason for the hoods and bandits!
It's an excellent degree to have and will serve you well, as has been said by others you have a wide choice of options.
Too true. Our Troopy sat in on an interview with one of the Sqn guys and a RMP Cpl over some money missing from the Sqn Bar (or something money related). Cpl Monkey clearly though he was Perry Mason, but got ripped to bits by the Troopy, who's dissertation at Uni just happened to be in Military Law.

I think he was also the de-facto legal adviser to the Regiment, albeit to mainly advise young (and old) Officers when they got caught drink driving :roll:
 

Glad_its_all_over

ADC
Book Reviewer
From the Army's perspective, it's a degree. Unless you're going to be a PQO in Army Legal Services, you're just another graduate officer, just as if you had a 2:2 in Botany or History of Art from some ex-tech college somewhere.

As noted above, cap badge selection is towards the end of your time at the factory, I gather and the Int Corps is highly selective, which doesn't mean you shouldn't go for it. There's reams of good advice on here on the pros and cons of a Direct Entry commission in the Corps - for an unbiased and objective view, I recommend searching out @Sarastro 's posts various.
 

Sarastro

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
I recommend searching out @Sarastro 's posts various.
Good luck with that, even I probably couldn't find them in search, and I supposedly know what I wrote.

@Wales1709 If you want to combine the action / intellectual elements, and particularly since you aren't fixed on planning a 30 year career at 20-something (sensible), I'd strongly recommend prioritising the action bit first. Whatever officer role you go for, there will be plenty of opportunity to do intellectual / office based work, that only increases the more time you spend in.

So I'd recommend the combat arms first. Infantry regiments that are serious about taking on individuals with both physical and intellectual aptitude (PARA, Rifles, Welsh Guards, Gurkhas if you have a history abroad). All of those will set you up well to try for the SF world too, which is really where you want to go if you decide on a mid-length Army career, and if you are serious about developing and using intellectual aptitude. The AAC is never going to hurt. You'll almost certainly enjoy it because everyone does. Not many thick pilots due to the theoretical study required, and though the job isnt particularly intellectual, everyone thinks pilots are cool and impressive (not least pilots themselves) so it's good on a CV. But it is a big commitment due to the training time. I don't know enough to comment on which cavalry regiments prioritise intellectual ability, perhaps @Caecilius can help.

For the Corps, I'd say the only place that would be a good Sandhurst choice for the combination you are looking for is the RE. The REME is specific about their degree requirements so I'm 95% sure you are ineligible, but you can check. The others don't really offer a blend of physical and intellectual reward, although all of them (particularly the Signals) will claim they do. Really, don't go Signals. Every officer I have known who was both good and smart was deeply frustrated there. There is a lot of talk and little delivery. The same applies to the Int Corps, but you will have a pure office job (again, they will probably claim not, don't trust it). Most of the worthwhile Int Corps jobs come after the 5 year point (for which you can always transfer, see below). RA, RAMC, ETS, AGC etc don't have the intellectual/physical combination, only one ... or neither.

But, most importantly, should you stay in for more than 3-5 years, you will always be able to transfer from combat to non-combat arms. This particularly applies if the Int Corps interests you, as they take ever increasing numbers of transferees...which should also warn you about their satisfaction levels as a choice out of Sandhurst. You won't be able to do the other way. Therefore going combat arms out of Sandhurst will always set you up to have the widest range of choices subsequently. It's really that simple. You seem to be, and this is very sensible, trying to set yourself up to have options rather than chart a path to things you don't actually understand yet. If so, going combat arms is the best strategy. The first 3-5 years has the highest job satisfaction rate in combat arms too, not so much in the non-combat arms.

There is, however, a big But to all of this: if you have no military experience, you actually have to enjoy and have some aptitude at the physical bit, because all the regiments I've mentioned are the most competitive. Enjoying going for a run is not the same as doing a log race or an all-night insertion carrying weight. You should quickly get a feel for whether it is for you at RMAS, but be honest with yourself.

Until then, you won't go far wrong or be massively disadvantaged by putting down combat arms choices. Finally, if you want to hedge your bets (put down a choice of both, like infantry and Int Corps) don't be put off by various people in the recruiting or RMAS process telling you not to. Plenty of people do so, and end up getting one or both offers. So long as you can justify your reasoning and have done your research, they are, in the final choice, fundamentally looking for good people, not at your other choices.
 

Caecilius

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
I second @Sarastro's thoughts. Putting it more bluntly: the Int Corps can be a pretty dull place to be a junior officer for your first couple of years, but you get to do some really exciting roles after that. Conversely, the combat arms and RE are great early on because you get to command troops, but can become less interesting after your first 2-4 years. Starting in the combat arms and moving to the Int Corps is a well worn path and I'd recommend it to anyone.


. I don't know enough to comment on which cavalry regiments prioritise intellectual ability, perhaps @Caecilius can help.
I'd say that none are specifically trying to turn themselves into an intellectual powerhouse in the same manner as the infantry regiments you mention, but all would be impressed by a bright candidate and it would be a significant advantage in the selection process. That's especially true for a candidate who brings something different like a law degree (provided it's from a good university).
 
While I otherwise much approve of the previous posts, I’m dubious about picking a single unit cap badge on their current recruiting style.

1 LOAMS or Flashman’s Own may be fiercely intellectual now, but messes change quickly - probably within the time the OP takes to commission, certainly when you factor in an SSC prior to potential transfer out.

A change of CO and a deployment or two can be enough for a regiment to go from warrior-scholars to hooray henries, and vice versa. Particularly in the cavalry.

Well heeled regiments often have a strong broad ethos but it takes a multi-battalion entity like the Rifles or the Parachute Regiment to translate that into a corporate plan.

Corps tend to be more stable but most have less influence over their recruitment than combat arms as they’re not as closely fought over.

Against that, there’s more chance of continuity. If you joined the Black Watch in 2005 because you fancied refined company but didn’t like the idea of Public Duties, well you were in for a surprise.

From the outside it’s easy to over think choice of arm. You can only get it roughly right and hope the balance of luck is in your favour. For all your merits and discernment you will be giving a fair chunk of your young life to an organisation not overly concerned with your personal fulfilment. Nonetheless, it is filled with good guys of both genders and there’s much to enjoy intellectually and physically if you go at it wholeheartedly.

Good luck!
 
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Thanks for the responses everyone.

I know ultimately it is not my decision but I have to get a feel for each corps, to have an idea which ones interest me when asked. From what I can gather elements I have gained in my law degree will help me in any role I decide to do.

@Sarastro You're right I'm not totally certain about a substantially longterm career so I will definitely look into combat arms as the initial footing as well as the latter. I have looked at the SF but maybe that is looking a bit too far ahead. A question: if you were a person who had to wear glasses in certain instances would that impact being able to try for a pilot? Okay so I could transfer to intelligence but with the amount of transfers they accept it alludes that maybe its not so great after all? Ye this isn't something which has only been a recent interest I have always wanted to join the army at some point. I have a father who has recently just left and I suppose he has definitely fuelled this interest from a young age, but I just wanted to study a law degree too.

What I can take from this is considering as many of you have said going from combat arms and then transferring to Int Corps.

The degree is from a Russell Group and a not so bad 2.1.

Again thanks.
 

sand_rat

Old-Salt
I - R Signals- oncered served with Capt who was a Lawyer and I would have followed him to the gates of hell, but it was the man not the degree that I would have followed. Remember its you that men follow not your degree. As for a cap badge? Now that is another question.
 
Out of curiosity, is there still a scheme to give non PQO officers legal training?

An old acquaintance of mine with a reasonable humanities degree joined the Royal Signals and was somehow put through legal training as a Major, emerging as a qualified barrister.

Not common, but not a bad achievement especially given this was c. 2010 when there was a lot going on.
 

Sarastro

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
@Sarastro You're right I'm not totally certain about a substantially longterm career so I will definitely look into combat arms as the initial footing as well as the latter. I have looked at the SF but maybe that is looking a bit too far ahead. A question: if you were a person who had to wear glasses in certain instances would that impact being able to try for a pilot? Okay so I could transfer to intelligence but with the amount of transfers they accept it alludes that maybe its not so great after all?
  • Not being certain is the only rational approach - you don't know whether you like it yet, and it doesn't know whether it likes you yet. Both can and will change over time.
  • SF is, at least under current conditions, the only way to get what you joined for, because they are more or less the only people doing the job rather than Exercises Plus (TM). Note, you don't have to do selection, lots of attached non-SF work in the SF world. If that's not what you are joining for for, don't join.
  • Ask AAC recruiting about glasses. There will be standards, they will give you more up to date information than anyone here.
  • Int Corps: how great something is very much depends on your point of view. Some people think it's pretty good, others do not. You will have a more informed opinion 3 years after Sandhurst than at Sandhurst, and certainly more than you will ever have now. I can tell you what I and people I like think, that doesn't mean you will think the same. They objectively have a problem retaining direct entry (entered from Sandhurst rather than transferred or promoted from ranks) officers. Make of that what you will.
@Charlie_Cong Fair, I mostly meant the multi-battalion regts who have a distinct, long-term regimental policy. Welsh Guards may well have just been a bias from the mess during the time I knew. Fairly sure, however, it's a continuing policy for Rifles and PARA, as well as Gurkhas because they can basically have whoever they want, so why not. Otherwise how will they take over the Group and then the Army...?

PS Was your acquaintance wounded/injured? I knew someone who took a similar path which was partially sponsored by the Army, but it was because he was medically invalidated after briefly learning to fly in Afghan.
 

Glad_its_all_over

ADC
Book Reviewer
Out of curiosity, is there still a scheme to give non PQO officers legal training?

An old acquaintance of mine with a reasonable humanities degree joined the Royal Signals and was somehow put through legal training as a Major, emerging as a qualified barrister.

Not common, but not a bad achievement especially given this was c. 2010 when there was a lot going on.
No disrespect to your mate, but if he had a reasonable humanities degree - i.e. he was neither a pasty Welbexian nor a not-terribly-bright specialist in Sports Medicine or History of Television or Travel and Hotel Management or something and was hence atypical of the Royal Corps' officer cohort, of course they fucked him off to be a barrister.
 

Union Jack

Swinger
Thanks for the responses everyone.

I know ultimately it is not my decision but I have to get a feel for each corps, to have an idea which ones interest me when asked. From what I can gather elements I have gained in my law degree will help me in any role I decide to do.
Please check your Inbox for a PM.

Jack
 

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