South Texas College of Law/Houston Hosts First Female Judge Advocate General of the U.S. Army

Style Magazine Newswire | 5/4/2016, 1:56 p.m.
The Women’s Law Society and the Society on National Security and International Law at South Texas College of Law/Houston recently ...
Lt. Gen. Flora D. Darpino presenting to South Texas College of Law students.

HOUSTON (May 4, 2016) – The Women’s Law Society and the Society on National Security and International Law at South Texas College of Law/Houston recently hosted Lieutenant General Flora D. Darpino, the first woman to be appointed as The Judge Advocate General of the United States Army.

She is the senior legal advisor to the chief of staff of the Army, and oversees approximately 10,000 men and women serving as officers, enlisted personnel, and civil servants in the Army’s legal corps, the oldest and largest “law firm” in the nation.

Lieutenant Colonel Steven M. Ranieri, chief of U.S. Army Judge Advocate Recruiting, accompanied Darpino to the Law School.

While on campus, Darpino encouraged South Texas students to employ the same commitment to selfless service, strong character and moral courage espoused by the Army, regardless of the field of law they pursue. She noted that the qualities that characterize an excellent JAG attorney – a strong work ethic and moral compass, key leadership traits, and a team-player mentality – also will benefit new attorneys outside of the U.S. Army JAG Corps.

Darpino first joined the Army in 1986, when women made up only 8 percent of the JAG Corps. Speaking to students of the Women’s Law Society, she shared that the “underdog” status never intimidated her; in fact, she believes that being underestimated gave her the advantage. She noted that when confronting professional obstacles, choosing to focus on the challenge presented by those obstacles is the key to turning them into positive, rather than negative, experiences.

South Texas Professor Geoffrey S. Corn – a retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel and senior law of war expert advisor – asked Darpino about the one piece of advice she would share with new law school graduates. She said, “I would tell them to have more confidence. A lot of what motivated me when I was younger was a fear of failure. While I had the ability to succeed – both as an attorney and a soldier – it took me years to believe in myself. While I may have held myself back, the Army wouldn’t let me and kept promoting me.”

Courtney Lynch, second-year South Texas student and president of the Women’s Law Society, said, “Lt. Gen. Darpino’s visit was a privilege and her words are inspiring for all South Texas students, but particularly for women law students. I find it comforting to know that even the first female judge advocate general of the U.S. Army felt unready for the next step at one point in her career. As we begin this journey as attorneys, I hope that my fellow female law students remember her words, feel confident in their own abilities, and reach back to pull others forward when they find themselves in the position to do so.”

Andrew Culliver, co-president of the Society on National Security and International Law, also noted, “As a student body, we could not be more thankful for the opporutnity to host Lt. Gen. Darpino and Lt. Col. Ranieri. The overwhelming success of this event is a testament to the growing interest in national security law among South Texas students. In fact, the Law School itself has been swift in recognizing this interest by providing a robust and highly qualified faculty and opportunities to participate with the new Institute for International Legal Practice and National Security.”