Legal Office

The Paralegal Career Field encompasses functions relating to military justice, including court reporting, administrative boards reporting, accident and collateral investigations, depositions, and other legal proceedings; conducting legal services for commanders and Air Force members as authorized by Congress relating to civil law; preparing and maintaining legal documents under the direct supervision of Air Force attorneys in compliance with American Bar Association Standards; investigating claims filed for and against the Air Force; and investigation and trial assistance provided to defense attorneys in support of USAF trial judiciary.

1. Specialty Summary. Manages and performs legal functions not prohibited by statute and the Lawyers' Manual on Professional Conduct. Performs paraprofessional and legal research functions under the supervision of a judge advocate in connection with civil law, military justice, and claims activities. Supervises administration of legal services and court-reporting activities. Related DoD Occupational Subgroup: 151200.

2. Duties and Responsibilities:

2.1. Plans, organizes, and directs legal services personnel in the areas of military justice, claims, civil law and general office management. Establishes standards and evaluates completed actions to determine accuracy, content, and compliance with governing directives and statutes. Processes correspondence and maintains suspense files. Maintains functional and law libraries, conducts periodic inventories and accounts for new and obsolete law publications. Prepares periodic statistical reports on legal activities utilizing personal computer software. Searches files and legal references for precedents and opinions, and extracts requested material.

2.2. Provides administrative and litigation support in processing and execution of all judicial and nonjudicial (Article 15) matters according to applicable laws and instructions, and the Manual for Courts-martial (MCM). Examines preliminary evidence for sufficiency of facts and jurisdiction over offense(s) and offender. Through examination, assists commanders and first sergeants with determining appropriate forum for disciplinary actions. Performs legal research and drafts charges and specifications for courts-martial and Article 15 actions. Prepares and processes all documentation required for courts-martial and Article 15 actions from investigation through final action. Acts as a trial member, assisting attorneys with appropriate investigations, conducting witness interviews, reviewing case status, and discussing major points of interest to develop case strategy. Examines all actions and records of legal proceedings to ensure accuracy, correctness, and completion prior to review by commanders and final processing. Uses the Automated Military Justice Analysis and Management System (AMJAMS) to monitor case progress and to analyze military justice programs for commanders.

2.3. Receives, examines, adjudicates, processes, and settles claims filed for and against the United States Government pursuant to Air Force publications, applicable laws, and international agreements with foreign governments. Reviews basic claims and related documents to ensure compliance with time limits, jurisdiction and liability. Consults with claimants on sufficiency and legality of claims covering matters such as death, personal injury, and property loss or damage. Conducts claims investigations and interviews witnesses to make preliminary determination of liability and extent of damages and either settles claims within settlement authority or makes recommendations on settlement. Performs legal research as necessary. Prepares claims for forwarding to appropriate activity or echelon. Uses the Armed Forces Claims Information Management System (AFCIMS) for claims adjudication and program management.
2.4. Interviews clients and determines eligibility for legal assistance. Under attorney's supervision, consults with eligible recipients to obtain facts, background information, and data to determine appropriate assistance or referral to other agencies. Prepares documents such as powers of attorney, wills, promissory notes, deeds and bills of sale. Functions as notary public under Title 10 USC. Processes administrative separation actions, line of duty determinations, report of survey investigations, and draft legal reviews and briefs as needed. Performs duties as a paralegal in Magistrate Court. In a deployed or contingency environment, performs duties in the international, operational, and fiscal law arenas to include conducting Law of Armed Conflict (LOAC) training, evaluating compliance with LOAC, and determining wartime Rules of Engagement.

3. Specialty Qualifications:

3.1. Knowledge. Knowledge is mandatory of: keyboard and microcomputer operation; UCMJ and MCM; preparing and processing claims; English grammar and composition; math; functional organization of a military legal office; interviewing techniques and knowledge of legal procedures concerning military courts and boards; legal terminology and interpretations; research and utilization of legal publications and reference files; civil law matters; Air Force organization and administration; and office management.

3.2. Education. For entry into this specialty, completion of high school, and completion of college level courses in English comprehension, math, and computers is desirable.

3.3. Training. The following formal training is mandatory for award of the AFSC indicated:

3.3.1. 5J031. Completion of the Paralegal Apprentice Course.

3.3.2. 5J071. Completion of the Paralegal Craftsman Course.

3.4. Experience. The following experience is mandatory for award of the AFSC indicated:

3.4.1. 5J051. Qualification in and possession of AFSC 5J031. Also, experience in general office management, operational law and preparing and processing courts-martial and other military justice actions or claims for and against the United States Government.

3.4.2. 5J071. Qualification in and possession of AFSC 5J051. Also, experience supervising and performing paralegal paraprofessional duties such as processing claims and military justice actions, civil law, contract law, environmental law, and operational law.

3.4.3. 5J091. Qualification in and possession of AFSC 5J071. Also, experience managing paralegals in paraprofessional duties such as processing cases in military justice, claims, civil law, contract law, and environmental law and operational law.

3.5. Other. The following are mandatory as indicated:

3.5.1. For entry into this specialty: Prior qualification in any AFSC at the 5-skill level (3-skill level if no 5-skill level exists) or higher. Ability to keyboard at a minimum rate of 25 words per minute (WPM). No previous convictions by courts-martial; punishment under the provisions of Article 15, UCMJ; or convictions by a civilian court except for minor traffic violations and similar infractions listed in AFI 36-2002, Regular Air Force and Special Category Accessions. Certification by the Wing Law Office Manager that the individual has been interviewed and is acceptable for entry.