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News | June 10, 2021

JAG Community Members Earn Outstanding Legal Professional Awards

By Navy JAG Corps Public Affairs

The Kitsap County Bar Association recognized Lt. Ryan M. Feingold and Legalman 2nd Class LaClaire Cartwright during the 2021 Law Day celebration, a joint civilian and military award ceremony.

This year’s ceremony, themed “The Rule of Law Now,” was held virtually on May 7. Kitsap Superior Court Judge Kevin D. Hull was the presiding judge, and State Supreme Court Justice Deborah Stevens served as keynote speaker. The military awards were presented by the commanding officers of Region Legal Service Office Northwest, Capt. Warren “Art” Record, and Defense Service Office West, Capt. Stephen Reyes. The Commander, Navy Region Northwest’s Outstanding Legal Professional Award annually recognizes deserving members of the region’s legal community for outstanding achievement, performance of duty, leadership, special accomplishment, and significant public or community service in three categories: junior officer, enlisted, and civilian personnel.

Nominations are submitted by dozens of eligible commands around the region, and awardees are selected by a panel of senior military and civilian leaders. Feingold – currently in his second tour as defense counsel at Defense Service Office West Detachment Bremerton, Wash. – was grateful and honored by the award.

“I work with fantastic professionals every day who truly value the importance of hard work and contribution to the mission,” said Feingold. “Our leadership at Defense Service Office West has been very involved the past year, motivating everyone to maintain a collaborative environment despite the COVID-19 pandemic. I believe this played a significant part in my success the past year.”

Feingold was born in Miami, Fla. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in History from the University of Michigan in 2013, and a Juris Doctor from the University of Miami School of Law in 2016, where he graduated summa cum laude. He was commissioned in September 2015 through the Student Program. Upon completion of Officer Development School in October 2016 and Naval Justice School in December 2016, Feingold reported to Region Legal Service Office Mid-Atlantic in Norfolk, Va. Feingold pursued his current billet because he wanted to work with a team to defend military personnel in the challenging and interesting process of courts-martial.

“Our officer-in-charge at the branch office, Cmdr. Justin Henderson, has worked tirelessly to help everyone grow professionally and personally,” said Feingold. “He is always very involved in our cases and contributes significantly to all our successes. I also am very grateful to our executive officer, Cmdr. James Kirby, and our commanding officer, Capt. Stephen Reyes. They are both extremely smart, inspirational leaders who demonstrate that they care about everyone in the command.” “And Legalman 2 nd Class LaClaire Cartwright, the recipient of the Legalman award, works with me every day,” Feingold added. “She has played an instrumental role in all of my cases and assignments. She is very deserving of her award because of all of her incredible work and her ability to work so well with others.”

Cartwright felt sheer surprise when she was informed about her selection.

“I couldn’t believe that I was ‘worthy’ to receive it, especially considering how many paralegals and Legalmen I probably went up against,” said Cartwright. “The paralegals and Legalmen I see around me are all worthy of getting the award, but it was a real honor that my chain of command even nominated me for it. I am still in shock a little bit.” “To me, the award means I am a valuable asset to the team. I am contributing and doing my job as a Legalman. Going forward, this award and recognition really is going to challenge me to be better in all areas of my job. This is actually what I take the most out of this award. It is a challenge to be better,” Cartwright added.

Cartwright originally hails from Seattle, Wash. After high school, she received an Associates of Arts degree in General Studies from Olympic College in Bremerton, Wash. From there, she transferred to the University of Alaska Anchorage for a Bachelor’s degree in Land Surveying. She joined the Navy in June 2014 and was sent to Great Lakes, Ill. for Professional Apprenticeship Career Track Seaman “A” School. After graduation, Cartwright reported to Little Creek, Va. And was stationed aboard the USS Whidbey Island (LSD 41) in September 2014. She was approved for conversion to the Legalman rating and attended Naval Justice School in Newport, R.I. in June 2017. She was assigned to Defense Service Office West Bremerton in January 2018. Cartwright also attributed her success to her team.

“Lt. Ryan Feingold is my attorney at the office. I have been assigned to work for him for a few years. He always is there to explain something that I do not quite understand and he has this amazing ability to put it in a way that someone who does not have a legal background is able to understand,” said Cartwright. “From what I have seen him do in the office and court room, his award is well-deserved. I appreciate everything that he has done in during development as a Legalman.” “I would also like to recognize Chief Legalman Kristen McNutt. She is my Chief at the office. I couldn’t remain diligent without her. She motivates me, keeps me focused, and is a crucial part in the development of my skills. She truly cares about her Sailors, and I believe this award demonstrates her commitment to me,” said Cartwright.
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