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Direct Commission Lawyer Selected Reserve (DCL-SELRES)


Licensed attorneys are eligible to serve as Judge Advocates for the U.S. Coast Guard through the Direct Commission Lawyer Selected Reserve (DCL-SELRES) program while maintaining their civilian employment. Selection into this program provides the unique opportunity to practice law in support of Coast Guard missions and Coast Guard personnel, encompassing a diverse range of 10 legal practice areas:

  • Criminal Law/Military Justice
  • Operations
  • International Activities
  • Civil Advocacy
  • Environmental Law
  • Procurement Law
  • Internal Organizational Law
  • Regulations & Administrative Law
  • Legislative Support
  • Legal Assistance

Initial Assignments and Training:

DCL-SELRES selectees are required to attend a five-week Reserve Officer Candidate Indoctrination (ROCI) course in New London, CT, at the Coast Guard Academy. Selectees receive assignments to Coast Guard Districts where they perform drills with their unit. Potential locations of employment are as follows:

  • Boston, MA
  • Portsmouth/Norfolk, VA
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Cleveland, OH
  • New London, CT
  • New Orleans, LA
  • Miami, FL
  • Alameda, CA
  • San Diego, CA
  • Seattle, WA
  • Juneau, AK
  • Honolulu, HI

DCL-SELRES Eligibility Requirements:

  1. Age: Have reached your 21st but not your 41st birthday as of 30 September of the fiscal year in which the selection Panel convenes. 
  2. Citizenship: Must be a U.S. Citizen.
  3. Clearance: Must be eligible for a Secret Clearance.
  4. Dependency: 
    • If single, may not have sole or primary custody of dependents unless a valid dependent care plan exists.
    • May not have more than 07 dependents (your spouse is considered your dependent, regardless of military status).
  5. Education/Program Specific Requirements: 
    • Be a licensed attorney.
  6. Financial: Must meet all financial obligations, and not have a debt to income ratio in excess of 80% (ratio of debt to projected income at applicant’s highest accession level i.e. at the O-2 level). 
    • May not have filed for bankruptcy in the last 10 years.
    • Student Loans: applicants shall also disclose to their recruiter any student loan payments that are in deferment, and the anticipated date and amount of re-payment of those loans.
  7. Interview: Applicants are required to complete a lawyer-specific interview, conducted by a board comprised of at least one attorney. This lawyer-specific interview will be documented on the Officer Programs Direct Commission Lawyer Form, CG-5527L.
  8. Military Service: Not required.
    • Max Service: Have less than 10 years of non-Coast Guard active duty military service, and have less than 14 years of previous service creditable for retirement in another branch of the Armed Forces or its Reserve component as of commissioning date. If selected, will take their oath of enlistment prior to attending ROCI.
    • IDPL CG Officers: If a Reserve Officer on the Inactive Duty Promotion List (IDPL) meets the eligibility criteria, he/she may apply for the program, provided a conditional resignation, approved by CG-PSC-rpm, is included in the application package.
    • Commissioned Officers: Officers who have been separated or removed from active duty from any Service as a result of non-selection for promotion, extension, or integration may not apply for any Coast Guard commissioning program.
    • CG Active Duty Enlisted Members: CG-PSC-EPM will not grant conditional releases for active duty enlisted members who will not complete their active duty enlistment contract by the date of the ROCI class convening.
    • CG Reserve Enlisted Members: Reserve members are eligible to apply.
    • Conditional Release: Members currently in another military service (or IRR) must furnish an approved DD368 form (conditional release) in their application package.   
      • Release approval (validity) period: The release shall be valid, at a minimum, through the date of the panel for which the applicant is applying. Ideally, the release should be valid through the projected accession date for that panel.
      • Other Military Service IRR: Recruiters shall submit the DD368 (with only Section I complete) to CGRC Accessions branch at
      • Members of Other Military Services (except IRR): The applicant shall submit the DD368 (with Section I complete) through their chain of command to their services’ authorizing official* (which is different for each service).  Once approved, the DD368 and any other approval documents (i.e. Service Memorandum) shall be submitted in the application package.
  9. Physical (Medical): Must pass a commissioning physical prior to panel (including): 
    • Normal Color Vision
    • Meet height/weight standards: 
      • CG members: Must meet MAW or Body Fat standards as per COMDTINST M1020.8H.
    • Shall complete a structured physical fitness program while at ROCI.
  10. Test Score: There is no test score requirement for DCL-SELRES applicants.
  11. Program-Specific Application Requirements:  
    • Writing: Applicants must provide a legal writing sample in addition to their personal statement, for inclusion in the application package.  
  12. Tattoos: Applicants may not have tattoos or body markings that are inconsistent with the CG tattoo, body marking, body piercing, and mutilation policy. 

DCL-SELRES Terms of Service and Appointment Grade:

  1. Selectees will receive a four-year initial contract.
  2. Selectees will receive a commission as a Lieutenant Junior Grade (O-2).