In addition to their work for the CMC, judge advocates provide legal services to headquarters staff, Marines, sailors, military retirees and service members' families. Marine Corps judge advocates also advise commanders on the legalities associated with waging war, and they help ensure the fair and just treatment of the troops. Judge advocates also are litigators, serving as prosecutors or defenders of individuals involved in courts-martial. Because Marine Corps lawyers double as unrestricted line officers, they usually perform additional, non-legal duties in accordance with their rank.
There are two tracks for someone aiming to be a Marine judge advocate: Platoon Leaders Class-Law and Officer Candidate Class-Law. Usually, a Marine officer will complete officer candidate school before attending law school, and afterward will take a 10-week course at the Naval Justice School in Newport, R.I.
About 400 active-duty Marine judge advocates, most of whom hold the rank of captain, are distributed among all of the Corps’ major stations and posts.