What factors are important to consider with a military lawyer?

Below are a few considerations in making an extremely important choice:

  • Years of experience. While this is not of absolute importance, most lawyers do not truly start feeling comfortable with their practice area until they’ve worked for 7-8 years.
  • Military law experience. Sometimes lawyers will set up shop outside the gates of a military installation in the hopes of making quick and easy money from young servicemembers. Many have little or no experience with military law and also focus their attention on civilian criminal law, family law, bankruptcy, personal injury law, and many other areas of practice. Wouldn’t you rather have a military lawyer who focuses 100% of his practice on military law and policy?
  • Military experience. Has the military lawyer only been a lawyer/JAG, or did they serve in the military in some other capacity? Considering that interaction with commanders (one-on-one or in a jury or panel) is of vital importance, it is critical to find someone who understands how leaders and commanders think. Some military lawyers are trained and experienced as “line officers” and know how to interact and communicate with commanders. Others are not similarly experienced.
  • When talking with the military lawyer, are you comfortable with their demeanor and advice? Does it appear that they are giving you a rosy perspective in order to get your business, or are they being honest about your case, warts and all?
  • Cost is always a factor. However, always remember that you are paying for time and attention to your case. Often, you get what you pay for with a military lawyer.

Why hire civilian counsel?

Please see my full page answering this very important question.

What type of cases do you take?

Please see my “Practice Areas” section for a list of matters we handle.

Do you offer free consultations?

There are many definitions of “consultation.” When you call us, we will ask very direct questions about your case in order to understand the possible courses of action. Based on this, we will tell you my initial plan and fee schedule. If you want a more in-depth review of your case, we provide this service and charge based on the time necessary to complete the review. An initial consultation with me is not an opportunity to get free advice or services. we limit the scope of initial consultations out of respect for my existing clients who expect me to devote my time to their cases.

Who is this “paralegal” person?

Ms. Amy Derby is the office manager and paralegal. She is not a lawyer, but she undertsands much about military justice and the law. She is extremely intelligent and extraordinarily competent. Ms. Derby will often be the first person from the office to communicate with potential clients. As a paralegal, she is bound by the same confidentiality that governs attorney/client communications. During initial communications, she will ask various questions in order to screen cases and help us do our jobs as military lawyers. She is an integral part of my team. If you are evasive, rude, or dishonest with her, you will not be our client.

How can I pay you?

We accept all major credit cards, checks, cashiers checks, money orders, and cash.

Do you do divorces?

No. Family law matters are best handled by local civilian attorneys in your area. They understand the rules of the particular state jurisdiction, and they are experienced in matters such as child custody, property division, and general divorce issues. My practice focuses on military/veteran law and policy, and we are solely military attorneys unless otherwise specified.

Do you handle adoptions?


What rank were you in the military?

Mr. Mayer was a Major (O-4)

Can I just ask you a few questions?

If you already have an attorney-client relationship with me, ask as many questions as you want. If you are not a current client, we generally do not provide this same service. Our loyalty is to those individuals with whom we have an attorney-client relationship. For them, I am rabidly loyal and regularly available. I tend to avoid anything that distracts me from providing them with my maximum effort.

I’m a veteran, and I was arrested and charged by civilian authorities. Can you come represent me?

No. I do not make appearances in civilian courts. Civilian criminal courts are different from military courts and administrative boards. In most states, your attorney needs to be licensed to practice law in that particular state. My focus is on alleged crimes handled by military authorities in military courts. Having a license in one state allows me to do that worldwide. If you are arrested by civilian law enforcement, you are best served by looking for a local civilian defense attorney, not a military attorney.

Can you take my case for free?

I do take some cases for free, but I do not obtain those cases through my website. So, if you are reading this, you are not eligible for my free services.

What are the odds of winning my case?

Predicting the outcome of a legal matter is impossible. I’ve had great cases that flopped. I’ve had horrible cases that succeeded. Trials rely upon imperfect human judgment and are virtually impossible to predict. I guarantee effort, not outcomes.

How much do you charge?

That depends on the type of case, the forum of the case, and the amount of time I anticipate it will take. That varies greatly from case to case. No two cases are the same. I charge based on the estimated time to complete a case and the amount of availability I need to provide. I do not take a lot of cases, and I turn-down more than I take. For many routine administrative cases, the initial retainer is $3600, but other cases such as immigration law cases can vary less or more.. We are open to payment plans, but those must be negotiated on a case-by-case basis.

What is a retainer?

When I take a case on retainer, the client’s money is placed in a trust account. Then, as we work on the case, we deduct from their retainer in the trust account at an hourly rate (billed in 6 minute increments).

When are you available?

When I form an attorney-client relationship with someone, I make myself available readily available at most times, including evenings and weekends.

Have you ever won [x] type of case?

Maybe, but that is no guarantee that yours will win. Once again, remember that I make no guarantees as to outcome. Experience helps in preparing a case, but it is never a guarantee.

How are your prices compared to your competitors?

Honestly, I don’t know, and I don’t care. I charge based on my level of experience and the time I plan to devote to your case. I’m not the cheapest, but I’m also not the most expensive.

There are lawyers online with fancy web pages. Why should I choose you over them?

If having a lawyer with a fancy web page is important to you, then we are not the law office for you. We’d rather spend time helping clients than making a fancy video or finding flag backgrounds to make my web site look pretty.

What TV and news shows have you appeared on?

None. If you feel it is important to find a lawyer who appeared on CNN, FOX, MSNBC, or other news outlets, please look elsewhere. I generally find that publicity rarely (if ever) helps a case.

Why don’t you call yourself “aggressive?” “Passionate?”

Those terms are buzz-words that are customarily used by marketers to inflate the qualifications of a person/professional. I work hard, and I do what I feel is most likely to secure a good result for my client. Whether that qualifies as “aggressive” or “passionate” is a decision for you to make.