#BZFriday: American Bar Association Honors Navy Judge Advocates

From Navy JAG Corps Public Affairs

The career achievements of three Navy judge advocates were recognized by the American Bar Association (ABA) during an awards ceremony in August at the organization’s annual meeting in San Francisco, Calif.

Lt. Jim Howland — branch officer at Defense Service Office West, Guam — was presented with the ABA Outstanding Young Military Service Lawyer Award. Lt. Ben Maddox — deputy staff judge advocate for the Commandant, Naval District Washington — was named an On the Rise – Top 40 Young Lawyers. Capt. Shane Cooper — commanding officer at Naval Justice School — received an Outstanding Military Service Career Judge Advocate Award.

Howland has served the JAG Corps with distinction since 2013. In his current position, he excelled as an officer and litigator in an independent billet with little oversight from headquarters. His efforts in Guam culminated in his selection as the command’s Junior Officer of the Year in 2017, and later led to his selection as the overall JAG Corps Junior Officer of the Year. Prior to his current assignment, Howland deployed for 18 months with the Amphibious Readiness Group embarked in USS KEARSARGE (LHD 3). He provided legal advice on the rules of engagement in many training exercises working with Turkey and other coalition forces, and was the go-to legal adviser for numerous humanitarian rescues and maritime interdiction operations. Howland also completed first-tour judge advocate rotations at Defense Service Office North and Region Legal Service Office Naval District Washington.

Maddox, who joined the JAG Corps in 2014, was recognized by the ABA for exemplifying a broad range of high achievement, innovation, vision, leadership, and legal and community service. In his current assignment, Maddox advises the regional commander on military justice, personnel law, investigations, and administrative law.  Previously, he served as counsel in Yokosuka, Japan and San Diego, California. Before joining the legal profession, Maddox started a consulting firm, founded an education-specific political action committee, and taught ninth grade in the Rio Grande Valley. Most recently, he was selected as a Presidential Leadership Scholar and is advocating for unconscious bias training for military decision makers.

“I was shocked that I received the Top 40 Young Lawyers Award from the ABA,” said Maddox. “The award is really a reflection of the outstanding people I’ve worked with in the Navy JAG Corps – from judge advocates to legalmen to our civilians, I’ve been very fortunate to be surrounded by such excellent teams!”

Capt. Shane Cooper, a longtime member of the JAG Corps, is an exceptional leader, diplomat, and counselor who has made many contributions ashore, at sea and deployed in overseas contingency operations. Most recently, he was forward-deployed in the Middle East as the primary legal advisor to the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet. Prior to that, he was the executive officer of Region Legal Service Office Northwest, where he led 80 officers, enlisted personnel and civilians. He also was previously deployed on an aircraft carrier, operated out of the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and has supported all U.S. and coalition Navy operations in both the Persian Gulf and the Pacific Ocean. He is well-known throughout the JAG Corps as a generous and dedicated mentor.

All three officers recognized by the ABA are devoted service members and skilled legal advisors who have made many positive contributions at sea, ashore, in the courtroom, and in the board room. Bravo Zulu!

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