Ft. Lauderdale lawyer joins the JAG Corps

first_img“So for me, protecting the freedom of the country is really something worth defending,” said Alexander, who despite completing basic training and JAG school, still downplays her accomplishments. “There are a lot of people who, in Vietnam, World War II, and Korea, actually risked their lives and redirected their careers for years, so what I’m doing is really nothing. If I can do something small compared to what they did, then I figure I have done my part.”Alexander said she also joined the reserves to set a positive example for her 8- and 4-year-old daughters. While both initially had problems understanding why mom was away at basic training, they did get a kick out of seeing MPs salute her when they came for a visit.At first, Alexander’s colleagues at Tripp Scott were nonplused when she came in one day and told them she had been offered a commission in the JAG Corps, but since the shock wore off, they have been extremely supportive.“I had to leave to do basic training and they could not have been better,” Alexander said. “Even my boss picked up and carried my caseload while I was gone.”“We are very proud of her,” said Ed Pozzuoli, Alexander’s boss at Tripp Scott. “She has taken the call for public service seriously and the firm has supported her effort and think it is quite a patriotic act.”Alexander said basic training was probably the hardest thing she ever did. While she was active in intramural sports while in college at the University of Chicago, the years, having children, and living life as a “sedentary lawyer” took their toll.“Getting up every morning at 4 a.m. so we could hit the field by 4:15 and start running in cadence, that was hard,” Alexander said, noting that she slowly did regain her athletic ability and passed the physical training requirements of the Reserves.Commissioned as first lieutenants, the JAG officers in training were not “yelled at” quite as much as the young enlisted soldiers, Alexander said, but the drill sergeants did impress upon her that the best thing an officer can do is rely upon their noncommissioned officers.“Even in the JAG Corps the NCOs are the ones who run the offices in terms of making sure all of our administrative needs are met and all the computers are up,” she said.Now assigned to the 174th Legal Support Organization, 1st Lt. Alexander works out of the reserve center in North Miami, which supports the 81st Readiness Support Command. One of the main battle groups it serves is the Third Infantry Division, headquartered in Georgia, which spearheaded the advance into Baghdad and is now deployed in and around the Iraqi capital.Before the Third ID was sent overseas, members of Alexander’s unit assisted the soldiers by taking care of their legal needs, such as helping them put their wills in order, establishing family trusts, and drafting powers of attorney “to make it easy as possible for their families back home.”When “our boys” in the Third Infantry Division come home, Alexander and her colleagues will help them reintegrate back into U.S. society.Alexander said the JAG Corps Reserves are not made up of just lawyers, but also paralegals, clerks, and administrative support personnel.“It’s basically a law firm except twice a year you can find us lying in the dirt firing M-16s together,” she said.Alexander said she does not regret for a second her decision to join the military and said, “Everybody who has been given things in their life has an obligation to look at that and do what they can to give back.” Ft. Lauderdale lawyer joins the JAG Corps Mark D. Killian Managing EditorIt’s not every 39-year-old mother of two who starts her day with a run at 4:15 in the morning.But that’s only part of what it took for Ft. Lauderdale attorney Stephanie Alexander to fulfill her desire to become an officer in the U.S. Army Reserve’s JAG Corps.Deeply moved by the events of September 11, Alexander, a healthcare lawyer with Tripp Scott, wanted to do her part to help defend the nation she says has provided her with so many opportunities.“I happen to be a lawyer, so that was the skill I could bring to the table in terms of helping in any way I could,” said Alexander, a member of the Bar since 1989, who also is an adjunct professor at Nova Southeastern University’s law school.Alexander’s strong sense of duty and patriotism comes from the personal success she has achieved despite her humble and often troubled beginnings. Born to an unwed, teenage mother with little education and a teen father who bounced in and out of prison, Alexander credits much of her motivation to teachers who pushed her to achieve her goal of becoming a lawyer.To Alexander, the 2001 terrorist attacks threatened the freedoms and opportunities the United States provided her and others willing to work to achieve their goals. August 15, 2003 Managing Editor Regular News Ft. Lauderdale lawyer joins the JAG Corpslast_img

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