81st TRW Judge Advocate office keeps it legal

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Eric Summers Jr.
  • 81st Training Wing Public Affairs
Editors note: This is part one of a two-part series about the 81st Training Wing Judge Advocate office.

Need a tax exempt form for a recently purchased vehicle? This office has that. Need to transfer power of you personal belongings while go on a six to 12 month vacation to the desert? They can do that to. The 81st Training Wing Judge Advocate general and civil law divisions does all of this and more.

General and civil law, known primarily for distributing POA's and helping set personal affairs in order with wills, also performs a number of other functions that help the base and base personnel.

"We review contracts and provide legal assistance, environmental law, labor law, cyber law," Richard Brock, 81st Training Wing Judge Advocate chief of civil law division and attorney law advisor. "We also handle claims by or against the government, we draft all the legal reviews or opinions on reports of survey, Freedom of Information Act requests, render opinions on all civil law matters, real estate issues that affect the installation, environmental issues and provide advice to the commander on anything that affects the base and its personnel."

One important function that Brock handles is environmental issues.

"Anything that effects the environment on the base, whether it's air, land or water," Brock said. "We get involved with issues with sewers, sanitary sewers and storm sewers in addition to hazardous material and fuel spills."

"You interview parties involved, examine whatever evidence there is from the incident. Then comply with prevention, maintenance, containment, reporting and resolution of environmental problems," he said

"There's pride in the product we produce and generally we help a lot of people," Brock continued. "We provide solutions to legal problems."

Brock also said that the key to providing legal solutions is practicing preventative law.

"We have a large number of pamphlets that give you a good resource for different things such as identity theft, marriage, divorce, adoption, purchasing a house, landlord-tenant issues and lemon rules when purchasing a used car," Brock said

Brock said the best part of his job is working with a group of people who are well qualified and educated with a lot of team spirit.

"We are usually the first folks people meet [at the legal office] so it's important we make a first impression," said Tech. Sgt. Jennifer Disch, 81st Training Wing Judge Advocate noncommissioned officer in charge of general law and claims examiner. "We man the helpdesk and intake for legal assistance, power of attorneys, affidavits, schedule appointments with attorneys, and if we are not the right office for their request we direct them to the right people."

As well as directing people to the correct office, Disch said the members of the legal office are listeners and that's why it's important to keep their game faces on and treat customers accordingly.

"I help make people's day as they tell me their life story," said Airman Alayna Carboni, general paralegal. "I like that part of my job."

Carboni said she gives customers a good impression of the office and she likes knowing that she always tries her hardest every day.

"I work the front desk. I screen clients for legal assistance and issue short-term powers of attorney, notarize documents and prepare tax exemptions."

As a paralegal, she works with labor law and environmental law attorneys and is certified to draft last will and testaments.

Items such as POAs can be crucial to deploying members as they prepare to travel overseas.

"We help a lot of folks get ready for deployments," Brock said. "We make sure they have the appropriate wills, powers of attorney, advance health care directives, briefings on rules of engagement, the Geneva Convention, and law of armed conflict."

Disch described drafting wills for people who are deploying as the best experience for her.

"When people come [to our office] we provide a more personal touch and take care of people. It's a tangible way that I know I am doing my part," Disch continued. "I am getting them ready so they can concentrate on the mission"

For more information call the 81 TRW/JA office at 228-376-8601. Walk-in hours are Monday 9-10:30 a.m. for wills and PoAs only; Teusday 1-3 p.m. for wills and PoAs only: and Wednesday 9-10:30 a.m. for all legal assistance matters other than wills or PoAs.