Dec. 3, 2019 — Third-year University of Houston Law Center student Thomas Dougherty will soon have the opportunity to serve his country a second time. Dougherty will work in the legal branch of the U.S. Air Force in the Judge Advocate's General Corps.
"I served in the Marine Corps before coming to law school at UH,” Dougherty said. “I wanted to serve in the military again, but I also wanted to use the skills I obtained through my J.D.
“I was excited and happy that I was competitive enough for selection. From what I understand, the program is very trial-focused, but the work involves providing legal advice to service members of all ranks on a range of different legal issues.”
The process for selection takes a considerable amount of time, and, if accepted, one must be deemed medically qualified to serve in the corps.
“The timeline for application is restricted to boards held at certain times throughout the year,” he said. “You have to get a lot of information about your background and education, and you also need some letters of recommendation. After the board, you are required to go to an Air Force base for an interview with actual Air Force judge advocates.”
Dougherty said he is grateful for the Law Center for helping him discover the range of careers a legal education can provide. He credited Professor Sandra Guerra Thompson, the Newell H. Blakely Chair and director of the Criminal Justice Institute, for being an invaluable mentor and adjunct professor Jim Perdue, Sr. ‘63 for having a positive impact on him.
“There are a lot of possibilities with a J.D.,” Dougherty said. “My professors come from a lot of different backgrounds, and there are a lot of different routes someone can take after graduation. The legal field has a lot to offer.”