Recent ONU Law graduate Jared Sprague, JD ’22, went into law school with the goal of practicing international law. “I didn’t understand fully what that actually meant,” he says. “I thought I could jump into it right out of law school. I quickly learned that’s not the case, especially when you have a family.”
Married with children, Sprague spent his three years of law school exploring his options, ultimately making the decision to join the Army JAG Corps. He, along with classmate Kunga Drongchewa, JD ’22, will attend the Direct Commission Course (DCC) in January. The DCC is a six-week intensive physical, weapons and leadership course that will prepare them to serve as officers. After successfully completing DCC, they will attend a 10-and-a-half-week Judge Advocate Basic Training Course. Through a combination of classroom and practical instruction, they’ll be plunged into military law; learning every aspect of the JAG Corps’ organization, function and mission.
“I feel really good about my decision,” says Sprague. “It feels right, just like when I made the decision to attend ONU Law.”
Before enrolling in law school, Sprague spent two years abroad performing missionary work in the former Yugoslavia, becoming fluent in their language and culture and adapting to a vastly different way of life. While there, he saw first hand how native attorneys were helping to resolve decades-long government disputes. “Through the use of law and international norms they were able to keep residents from taking up arms and going to war. They helped people come to a peaceful resolution with their neighbors and that appealed to me,” he says.
“The best advice I ever received was to ask a lot of people a lot of questions,” he explains. “ONU Law has emeritus faculty specializing in international law. It’s why I chose this school. I have been able to get their advice and hear their perspective on how best to navigate the career path I’ve chosen. ONU has done a tremendous amount to ensure my success and round out my understanding of JAG and my desire to pursue a career in international law,” says Sprague.
While joining the JAG Corp is a recent decision for Sprague, Drongchewa made his decision to join JAG years ago. “I never saw myself as a person who went into an office every day. I wanted an active, adventurous life,” he says.
After obtaining his undergraduate degree, and before entering law school, Drongchewa served three years in the Army, which solidified his decision to join JAG. “Every JAG officer I met loved their job and felt they had a good work-life balance.”
During a field exercise in New York, Drongchewa pulled out his phone and applied to ONU Law. “It was late in the admissions process and I thought I’d have to wait another year but the staff expedited the process and a few days later I was admitted!”
ONU Law Dean, Charles Rose III, started his position at the law school at the same time Sprague and Drongchewa began their first year of studies. Rose, a 20-year JAG veteran was able to share his experiences, which proved invaluable for Drongchewa. “He became my mentor, helped to frame my law school experience, and gave me the opportunity to explore all my options before making my final decision,” he says.
Both Sprague and Drongchewa are excited to begin the next chapter in their careers. “Like ONU Law, the Army wants you to experience the many facets of law so you become a well-rounded soldier, determine where your real talent truly lies, and find success,” says Drongchewa.