Rutgers Law-Camden Alumnus Continues in the JAG Corps Tradition

darpino group shot

The demands of law firm life can be challenging enough. But Robert Foster ‘13, a contract attorney at Blank Rome in Philadelphia, is asking for more.

He is continuing in a Rutgers Law—Camden tradition made most notable by ‘86 alumna Lieutenant General Flora D. Darpino, who is the Army’s first female Judge Advocate General. Foster, who will ultimately serve as an officer in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps, recently received a direct commissioned officer appointment as first lieutenant in the U.S. Army Reserve. This October, he will have completed the two-phase training held first in Fort Benning, Georgia and second in Charlottesville, Virginia.

The six-and-a-half-weeks he spent at Fort Benning focused on physical training, like land navigation, basic marksmanship, and tactics and maneuver as well as combat first-aid, radio communications, and combat patrol missions. Getting this kind of field experience for Foster meant only being better prepared to connect with some very important future clients: soldiers.

“The JAG Corps is a great way to serve our nation,” says Foster. “It’s also an opportunity to serve soldiers who unexpectedly find themselves in need of legal aid. Few civilians, even legally trained civilians, are aware of the hurdles that a military career poses to soldiers and their families. Service in the JAG Corps is not only service to our nation, but also an important service to our fellow soldiers, who without the JAG Corps, would be otherwise without proactive and high quality legal assistance.”

Now in the second phase of his training in Charlottesville, Foster is immersed in instruction and exams in fiscal, labor, administrative, operational, and military criminal law. “Professionally, I have had to reanalyze the way I see myself as a lawyer. In civilian practice, lawyers often hone their expertise in a narrow field of the law, but the JAG Corps allows me to practice within a wide range of legal areas,” notes the Rutgers Law—Camden alumnus.

While he is now learning military legal writing, Foster says Rutgers–Camden prepared him for his legal career through its many legal writing opportunities.

“Legal writing is an imperative tool, not only as an advocacy tool, but also when writing internal memoranda. The LAWR program as well as the writing intensive courses I took in the 2L and 3L years have been the most beneficial tools that Rutgers Law—Camden provided me as a student.”

During his JAG Corps training, Foster will have another chance to meet with fellow Rutgers alum Lieutenant General Darpino, who is scheduled to speak with his JAG Corps class. The last time Foster heard her speak was when he was a 3L at Rutgers Law—Camden. “I was lucky enough to attend a presentation by (then) Brigadier General, now Lieutenant General Darpino. Although I had not applied to the Army JAG Corps at that point it was an idea that I was actively considering. Lieutenant General Darpino made a great case for the military’s need for versatile, dedicated, and exceptional lawyers to serve our soldiers, the nation, and others around the world.”

As reported by The Legal Intelligencer, after Foster completes his JAG Corps training, he is tentatively slotted to provide legal assistance to soldiers at a NATO base in Germany.


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