Navy Announces New Legalman Conversion Opportunities

From Navy Judge Advocate General’s Corps Public Affairs

Beginning in 2020, the Navy’s Legalman (LN) community is expanding career opportunities for Sailors interested in cross-rating.

Changes have been made to the LN rating’s prerequisites in order to boost recruitment. These measures include reducing the minimum typing requirement, opening conversion opportunities to some E-6s on a case-by-case basis, and eliminating the required completion of college-level credits in English.

“The intention of these changes is to increase the pool of qualified candidates that we are able to consider for conversion to the LN rating,” said Navy Judge Advocate General Vice Adm. John G. Hannink.

“As we operate in increasingly complex legal and regulatory environments, the Navy is always in need of new legal talent to join its ranks and bring expertise and innovative thinking,” Hannink noted.

LNs work under the supervision of attorneys, preparing and processing legal documents in the areas of military justice, legal assistance, and administrative, civil, and operational law.

The Navy is authorized 511 active duty LNs in Fiscal Year 2020, but currently it is manned at 470. In addition, the Navy’s LN ‘A’ school, which convenes twice a year, can accommodate 72 students annually, but it has not reached capacity for the past three years.

In October, the Bureau of Personnel’s Director, Military Personnel Plans and Policy (OPNAV N13) was briefed the health of the LN community. OPNAV 13 agreed to adjust some of the rating’s conversion requirements to generate more conversion opportunities throughout the Fleet.

Subsequently, 14 of the LN rating’s senior enlisted personnel participated in a focus group on this issue. After careful review and consideration, the following changes to JAGINST 1440.1E, “Legalman Rating Conversion Procedures,” were approved and are effective immediately:

  • The 40 words-per-minute minimum typing requirement has been reduced to 35 words-per-minute, to align with the requirements of the Yeoman rating. 
  • Conversion opportunities are now open to E-6 personnel, on a case-by-case basis, for applicants who do not exceed 10 years time in service.
  • Applicants no longer require completion of six English college-level credits to participate in the Roger Williams University (RWU) courses taken during the LN accession course.

LN community leadership will still determine which candidates join the rating after careful review of their applications and the completion of their oral boards.

“Good and effective communication is an essential tool in achieving your conversion process,” said Master Chief Legalman Brook L. Larkins, senior enlisted advisor for the Judge Advocate General. “When you invest time and energy in establishing clear lines of communication with your chain of command, as well as your LN community point of contact, the whole conversion process will lead to better results.”

“Bottom line: Teamwork is essential to the growth of the LN community and its future success,” she added.

Application packages from both direct conversion and Professional Apprenticeship Career Track Sailors are being accepted. 

For more information about the LN conversion process, read JAGINST 1440.1 (series), visit the Navy JAG community website, talk with your command career counselor, and contact the senior enlisted leader of your nearest Region Legal Service Office or Defense Service Office.

The Judge Advocate General of the Navy provides legal and policy advice to the Secretary of the Navy and the Chief of Naval Operations on all legal matters from military justice to environmental law. The Judge Advocate General also directs a worldwide practice of more than 2,300 attorneys, paralegals, and support staff.

Naval Legal Service Command provides prosecution, defense, personal representation, legal assistance, and other command services to shore and afloat commands throughout the world.

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