Student Profile: A First Lieutenantís Take on Law School
As an undergraduate international studies and French major at Ohio University, Julie Brown weighed possible careers in the CIA, the State Department, and the Army. Upon graduation in 2004, she chose to enlist in the Army because of its unique challenges and opportunities. In a way, Julie has been following in her grandfather Edgar L. Lindley's footsteps. After flying a plane for the Marines in the Pacific during WWII, he later went on to a successful legal career at the Columbus firm of Bricker and Eckler, and as an assistant attorney general of Ohio.
“Unlike most officers, I didn’t go through the ROTC program. I enlisted and went straight to basic training, followed by Officer Candidate School,” said Julie, a member of Moritz’s class of 2010.
While basic training is known for being physically demanding, Julie maintains that it really isn’t that bad – as long as you’re in good shape.
“For me it was actually kind of fun,” she said with a laugh. “I think that basic training is more difficult for kids coming straight out of high school. For a lot of them, it’s their first time away from home, and that’s the hard part.”
Before heading to her first duty station, Fort Bragg, Julie attended Airborne School as part of her officer training.
“Jumping out of a plane is scary. It’s not something that I thought I would ever do,” she said. “It was amazing the first time I jumped. It’s different than sky diving, because you’re only 1,000 feet up. You’re only in the air for about 20 seconds, and you fall pretty fast. I have to admit that it hurts when you hit the ground.”
As a first lieutenant in the Military Police, Julie spent six months in Iraq in charge of a platoon of 45 soldiers. Their mission was to train the police force in Baghdad and to help them foster better relations with citizens.
“As a Platoon leader, I was inspired by all the things that young soldiers would accomplish every day in the face of danger,” she said.
For Julie, leaving the Military Police to go to law school was a difficult decision. However, after the Army’s Funded Legal Education Program selected her as one of 15 active duty officers, Julie decided that going to law school to become an Army JAG officer was too good an opportunity to pass up.
“I liked going to work every day. We would get a lot done, and at the same time, there’s a lot of joking around. There’s a shared sense of misery,” she said with a laugh. “It’s good to have that sort of bond with your co-workers.”
The Westerville native is happy to be back in Columbus, able to spend more time with her family and husband, Matt. She says that her time spent in the military has helped her to find a balance in life that makes law school seem less stressful.
“Law school has been better than I expected. Everyone always says how difficult the first year can be – and it is hard,” she said. “Overall, though, it’s really not that bad. I like it – it’s been good so far.”