Legalman 1st Class Sharon Soileau, Region Legal Service Office Hawaii, graduated from the University of Hawaii at Manoa William S. Richardson School of Law, earning her Juris Doctor on May 13.
Soileau is the first legalman to earn a law degree through the JAG Corps’ In-Service Procurement Program (IPP).
Soileau, enlisted in the Navy in 2007. Prior to enlisting in the Navy, she earned an Associate of Applied Science degree in Paralegal Studies from the University of Alaska in December 2006, and a Bachelor of Applied Science degree in Paralegal Studies from Roger Williams University in August 2013. Soileau’s first duty assignment as a legalman was as legal clerk aboard USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76).
"My experience and time in the Navy gave me an advantage in law school by preparing me to successfully handle stressful situations, present in front of a large group, prioritize a heavy workload, and multi-task," said Soileau. "Furthermore, I continued to make physical fitness a priority which was key in managing stress."
Soileau is currently studying for the Hawaii bar exam, after which she’ll be placed into the pipeline for commissioning. She is looking forward to attending Officer Development School and Naval Justice School.
"My experience as a legalman gave me access to numerous amazing judge advocates who provided me with invaluable insight and tips on how to succeed from the LSAT to applying for and attending law school," said Soileau. "Throughout law school, my command was great about checking in with me periodically and ensuring I knew about important events, all-hands, and special visits from Rear Adm. John Hannink and Command Master Chief Jondell Ritchie."
The JAG Corps IPP was established in 2013, and provides outstanding, career-motivated enlisted personnel of all ratings, who meet the eligibility criteria, the opportunity to earn a law degree and commission in the Navy JAG Corps. The JAG Corps IPP provides both funded and unfunded paths to JAG Corps commissions. Sailors who have earned a baccalaureate degree may apply for funded legal education; Sailors who have already earned a Juris Doctor degree from an American Bar Association accredited law school and a bar license from any U.S. state or territory, Puerto Rico, or the District of Columbia may apply for direct commission.