Judge Advocate (JA) provides legal counsel and opinions on by-laws,
policies, corporate regulations, and parliamentary procedure for the
Detachment. His/her chief
role is to assure the legal and operating integrity of the Detachment
within the framework of National, Department, and Detachment by-laws and
policies, and any other legal entities such as state corporation
requirements, for the Detachment. The
JA may also be called on to make procedural rulings during the course of
business and officer meetings.
the JA should be familiar with the operations, procedures, programs, and
activities of the Detachment in case he/she is called on to fill in for
an absent officer, his/her primary responsibility is to understand,
interpret, and rule or provide opinions on the authorized and legitimate
code for conduct of business.
JA is a bonafide member of the Board of Trustees, who establishes policy
and direction for the Detachment. On
the other hand, the JA must step aside from the role of policy making,
and make sure that policies, voted issues, and procedures are in
conformance with three levels of by-laws and policies - Detachment,
Department, and National. In
addition, the JA must assure that the Detachment by-laws and policies
are within the framework and spirit of the National and Department
by-laws and policies.
Ability to understand and interpret statutes and policies
Ability to weigh opposing views, evaluates complex issues,
reliable opinions for
Effective communication skills for elaborating decisions
Ability to absorb details, and research information
Interest in legal and judicial processes
Effective writing skills for issues that go beyond the
Knowledge of parliamentary procedures and the League
Ability to make rulings quickly where appropriate (i.e..
procedures at meetings)
Understanding of Detachments corporate position, and
Interest and ability in auditing procedures to assure
policies, and regulations
Ability to stand alone in rendering unpopular opinions
to write, modifies, and/or amend Detachment by-laws and
of Job Accountability and Responsibilities
COUNSEL OF THE DETACHMENT
- While this officer
position does not require being a lawyer, some of the skills and
interest are probably desired. The
laws of the Marine Corps League are contained in the By-Laws, and the
Administrative Policies, which are published by National and the
Department. Each Detachment
should also develop by-laws and policies in conformance with National
and Department, to be used as the legal guidelines for carrying on
business as a Detachment. The
Judge Advocate (JA) should be a participant in the writing of these
documents if they are not already in place.
is important for the JA to have a thorough understanding and working
of all by-laws and policies. On
his/her own initiative, questionable issues should be brought to the
attention of the Board of Trustees and/or general membership for review
and opinion. Questions regarding issues or policies brought by the
membership or officers need to be resolved by the JA in an objective and
expedient manner where practical. The JA may also call on the Department
and National Judge Advocates for advice, counsel, and interpretation.
primary purpose of the JA is to keep the Detachment on solid legal
footing, and to assure that Marine Corps League and state laws are
complied with by the Detachment.
OPINIONS BASED ON POLICIES, BY-LAWS, OR PRECEDENTS OF THE
- The most common issues to be brought before the Judge Advocate
(JA) will be Detachment questions, which should have their findings in
the Detachment bylaws and policies. In the absence of specific
Detachment references, Department and National by-laws and policies
apply. In addition, if
there are precedents for specific issues not covered in the Detachment
by-laws and policies, and if these precedents are within the framework
and spirit of the National and Department by-laws, such precedents can
apply in rendering an opinion.
cases where a member(s) is embroiled in an issue, the JA should render
opinions as quickly as possible, and as objectively as possible, to
avoid disruption to the Detachment. If the issue cannot be solved
without going beyond the Detachment, the Administrative Procedures by
National and Department will be in effect.
Generally, 99.5% of the problems can be addressed at Detachment
level, if immediate action is taken, and that action references by-laws
ON BY-LAWS AND POLICIES OF THE MARINE CORPS LEAGUE
- The governing laws
for all organizations within the Marine Corps League is the National
by-laws, policies, and administrative procedures. The Judge Advocate
(JA) should be thoroughly familiar with these documents, and those of
the Department, to advise the Detachment on any questionable issues
and/or problems. Assistance
may be gained from the Department and National Judge Advocates if
questions in this area arise when developing and/or modifying Detachment
by-laws, policies, and administrative procedures.
In addition, there can be questions regarding attendance at
Department and National meetings, processes for submitting changes to
by-laws and policies, awards, discussion topics for agenda, and other.
THAT DETACHMENT ABIDES BY THE BY-LAWS OF THE DETACHMENT,
DEPARTMENT AND NATIONAL
- The Judge Advocate
(JA) is the watchdog and policeman for assuring that strict
adherence to all three levels of by-laws and policies are followed. The
purpose is to assure conformity to the letter and spirit of accepted
laws and policies of the Marine Corps League in general, and to insure
that conditions of charter and incorporation are maintained. The JA
should review motions and votes, eligibility of voters, and activities
on a regular basis to assure compliance.
Any discrepancies need to be addressed immediately with the Board
of Trustees, and/or the membership. Documentation of issues and
instances should be made for the record, for review in the future in any
OF PROCEDURES. SIGNATURES, AND FINANCES - The Detachment
Commandant may direct the Judge Advocate (JA) to perform periodic
reviews of procedures and finances to assure compliance with Detachment
policies and procedures. Included in this process is reviewing how work
and transactions are processed in conformity to Detachment written
policy and procedure. The
JA should check bank accounts and checks to assure that dual signatures
and procedures for expenditure of funds are being followed according to
Detachment procedures. The JA may also be assigned to review the audit
trail of funds received, the application of funds in accordance with
procedures and accounting practice, and assure the integrity of monies
received and disbursed by the Detachment. Such procedures may include checking receipts for expense
checks, and determining the legitimacy of expenditures within budget
policy. The JA should make
a written report to the Board of Trustees at least once per year
(preferably twice a year), if directed to engage in the audit process.
OPINIONS AND RULINGS DURING MEETINGS ON PROCEDURES
The Judge Advocate (JA) should be well versed in issues of
parliamentary procedure, ritual, and business order during meetings.
The Commandant or presiding officer may refer questions of
procedure to the JA. Normally
these questions are relevant to motions, amendments, order of business,
and other meeting procedures. Questioning
of a procedure from the floor must be channeled through the presiding
officer to the JA. The JA
should also advise the Commandant or presiding officer on the meeting
Ritual, and procedures decided by the Detachment.
- Other duties of the Judge
Advocate may include:
in the absence of another officer(s)
Maintaining a log/report on questions, issues, opinions
with any effective organization, the Marine Corps League has established
by-laws, policies, and procedures at the National level to safeguard its
charter, and to provide a framework for co-existence among many and
varied subordinate organizations (Departments and Detachments).
Detachments are expected to incorporate and establish their own
written by-laws, policies, and procedures within that framework.
Judge Advocate is the keeper, protector, and counselor of those laws,
policies, and procedures within the Detachment.
He/she must be diligent in assuring conformance to these
credentials that allow the League and the Detachment to exist in an
orderly manner. As with
laws in our daily lives, we may not agree with them all, but they exist
for the purpose of providing a common structure within which we can
operate, and mutually respect the rights of others. The Judge Advocate
has the right and obligation to suggest meaningful change to the
statutes from higher levels, and a procedure for being heard.
Judge Advocate enforces through the Board of Trustees, and advises
members and officers of the Detachment, with the objective of
maintaining order within the Marine Corps League organization.