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Naval Legal Service Command Adapts to Best Serve Navy, Clients

19 Sep

WASHINGTON (NNS) — Beginning in October, the Judge Advocate General’s Corps will reorganize the Naval Legal Service Command (NLSC) to meet the Navy’s evolving demands for expeditionary legal services support while continuing to provide quality military justice service.

“The demand for Navy JAG Corps’ services is greater than ever, but the nature of our practice has changed significantly over the past several years,” said Vice Adm. Nanette DeRenzi, the Judge Advocate General of the Navy. “The Department of the Navy and joint forces operate in an increasingly complex legal and policy environment and expect more from our community than ever before.”

To prepare the JAG Corps to meet the challenges that lie ahead, the JAG Corps is replacing the Naval Legal Service Offices (NLSOs) with Defense Service Offices (DSOs). There are currently eight NLSOs headquartered in Pensacola, Norfolk, Bremerton, Jacksonville, San Diego, Washington, D.C., Naples, Italy, and Yokosuka, Japan. These eight NLSOs will realign to become four DSOs, and will be headquartered in San Diego, Washington, D.C., Norfolk, and Yokosuka. The DSOs’ mission will be to defend service members in military justice proceedings, represent them at administrative boards, and provide other representational services, including advice on non-judicial punishment and adverse personnel actions.

NLSOs will transfer the mission of providing legal assistance services to the nine Region Legal Service Offices (RLSOs). Legal assistance services include wills and powers of attorney, and matters involving consumer, family, landlord-tenant, and predatory lending law.

“Sailors and their families will continue to receive legal assistance, but those services will now be provided by the RLSOs” said Rear Adm. James Crawford, Commander, Naval Legal Service Command. “On most bases, the location where legal assistance services are provided will remain the same.”

This realignment will change the way Sailors receive defense services in 12 locations around the fleet. This change will be similar to the way Sailors currently receive personal defense services when they are at sea. Sailors requesting defense services such as representation for courts-martial or administrative boards will make initial contact with an attorney by telephone or other remote communication technology, with subsequent in-person consultation arranged, if necessary. These locations are Everett, Whidbey Island, Port Hueneme, Lemoore, Corpus Christi, New Orleans, Millington, Kings Bay, Guantanamo Bay, Newport, Earle, and Sigonella.

Navy commands will retain their current staff judge advocate support. RLSOs will continue to provide court-martial prosecution and command legal advice to Navy region and installation commanders, and tenant commands such as ships and squadrons.

As part of the realignment, the JAG Corps will focus the first two years of all new judge advocates’ careers on comprehensive training in prosecuting and defending cases, providing legal assistance, and advising Navy commands.

“This realignment will improve the JAG Corps’ training for new accession judge advocates by more thoroughly preparing them to meet the Navy’s legal needs,” said DeRenzi.

For a complete list of services and contact information for the closest legal office, visit www.jag.navy.mil.

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