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News | Jan. 29, 2021

Reserve Judge Advocates Make Their Mark in the Pacific Northwest

By Navy JAG Corps Public Affairs

The Navy Reserve Law Program (NRLP) includes nearly 600 dedicated legal professionals who excel in both their civilian and part-time military careers. Throughout 2020, Reserve members located in the Pacific Northwest were recognized for their outstanding contributions in their respective legal fields. Reserve Capt. Dan Jones was awarded the Washington State Bar Association’s Award of Merit, the state bar’s highest award. Also, two NRLP members were named finalists in the lawyer category for the 2020 Best of Kitsap in the Kitsap Daily News.

In his civilian career, Jones is a Legal Assistance Attorney at Region Legal Service Office (RLSO) Northwest in Bremerton, Wash., which supports service members and their families in 11 states. As a Reserve member, Jones serves as the Deputy Director of Legal Assistance for the NRLP.

At RLSO Northwest, Jones is responsible for training new judge advocates on various legal assistance issues, such as estate planning, personal taxes, landlord-tenant relations, immigration, and more. He is often the new attorneys’ first mentor in the legal field. One mentee noted that “Any Navy JAG officer who has competently provided legal assistance in the Northwest over at least the past decade has Mr. J to thank."

 The Washington State Bar Association’s Award of Merit is given to an individual who demonstrates exceptional courage in the face of adversity, thus bringing credit to the legal profession. Jones received the award for his many contributions as a civilian and a Reserve member. At the ceremony – which took place virtually on Dec. 4, and can be viewed here – Jones was introduced by the Chief Justice of the Washington State Supreme Court, The Honorable Debra L. Stephens.

“My reaction [to receiving this award] was one of surprise; it was incredibly humbling. It is an honor to be nominated and recognized for the work I have done in preparing our judge advocates for their naval careers as both officers and attorneys. It is wonderful to be publicly recognized by my peers in the legal profession. It really blew me away,” wrote Jones.

“I will continue to provide training and assistance to our young judge advocates in my civilian capacity. I am ending my tour as a Deputy Director of Legal Assistance; however, no matter what future assignment I am given in the NRLP, I will never stop advocating or assisting the program in providing better, faster, and more comprehensive legal assistance to our clients,” he added.

In nearby Bainbridge Island, Wash., the Kitsap Daily News newspaper hosts an annual contest in which community members vote for the top local professionals and businesses. Two NRLP attorneys were named finalists in the lawyer category in the 2020 edition of the Best of Kitsap – Capt. John Kenney and Lt. Cmdr. Tony Hinson.

Kenney had already earned the top spot in 2018 and 2019, before being named a finalist in 2020.

“I practice mostly estate planning law, which is wills, trusts, powers of attorney and medical directives. I also do a lot of business law because many of my clients are business owners, and I do a little bit of real estate law. I chose these areas because when I was a young active-duty judge advocate, I did a lot of criminal defense work, and some divorce work.  After that brief experience, I knew that I didn’t want to do those areas of law. I went back to school after I left active duty and obtained a master’s degree in tax law, which is a specialty degree that allows me to be more proficient in estate planning,” said Kenney.

Kenney graduated from Brigham Young University with a Bachelor of Arts in history. He earned his Juris Doctorate from the University of Utah College of Law and his Master of Laws in Taxation from the University of Washington School of Law. He is licensed to practice law in Utah, Arizona, and Washington. He received his naval commission in 1995, and he served in the JAG Corps from 1997 to 2000.

Since then, Kenney has held various leadership positions in the NRLP. In December 2009, he assumed the duties as Deputy Staff Judge Advocate for Reserve Component Command (RCC) Northwest, providing around-the-clock command services to the RCC Commander, staff, and 11 Navy Operational Support Center Commanding Officers.

He subsequently served as the Executive Officer of Naval Reserve (NR) RLSO Midwest, and later as the Commanding Officer of NR RLSO Northwest. Kenney currently serves as Staff Judge Advocate for RCC Northwest

“I am still managing my own law practice and doing the Navy Reserve part time. I do less Reserve work these days due to the COVID outbreak. Once the COVID threat decreases, I will do more NR work and look to grow my business by adding a couple of new employees to assist us with what we need to do,” said Kenney.

Kenney’s colleague, Hinson, is in private practice with Hinson Law Firm, PLLC of Poulsbo. His practice focuses on estate planning, tax planning, business planning, and probate. As a NRLP member, Hinson serves as an operational law attorney with the Reserve unit attached to Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet.

Bravo Zulu to all!

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