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Day 40: Push It to the Limit

April 08, 2011 | Captain Thomas Harper

30 March 2011

            A non-road march day meant a little extra sleep, which was welcome after the long day yesterday.  Today marked the beginning of our 6-day block on fiscal and contract law.  The department’s introduction was decidedly less animated than admin and crim law, and this set the tone for most of the classes.

(I originally intended to reference the song from "Scarface" (the movie, not the rapper) as the theme song for the ADK Department, but then I came across this little diamond in the rough.)

(In case you didn't get the reference, here's what the picture is from.  Hope you enjoyed.)

Sorry about that detour.

            It was interesting to learn from the outset that TJAGLCS is the leading provider of instruction in this area of the law for the U.S. Government.  Agencies ranging from the State Department to USAID to DOJ fight to get slots in the courses here, which says a lot about the value of the instruction.

            Unfortunately no amount of importance can sugarcoat the nature of the material.  To be clear, when I say nature, I mean dry and boring.  Please don’t take that as a shot against any instructor, or against the importance of the material.  Dealing with the mind-boggling sums of money that fiscal law attorneys work with every day is one of the most critical tasks we do.  However, it’s just not as high octane as something like arguing for an Accused’s liberty in front of a panel.

            The department does things a little different than the others, namely in their presentation.  Don’t expect any of the funny video clips like in the other departments.  Fiscal law also doesn’t foot stomp or point out slides and points that will be tested on the exam.  It’s too early to tell how that’ll shape up, but they claim each class thanks them for it in the after action review. 

(No funny memes for 6 days?? Cue the photo of Luke screaming "NOOOOOO!!")

          Additionally, expect a quiz at the end of each session (you’ll have class all morning, and then the end of the morning finishes with a quiz before lunch, and an afternoon seminar).  They also assign email exercises each night, which are practical applications of what’s learned during the day.  They’re each due by 2100, and aren’t graded (but are reviewed and discussed by the faculty).

            As far as classes went, the three big topics are purpose, time, and amount, since those are the cornerstones of fiscal law.  We started out with a two and a half hour class on purpose, and then followed it with a class on fiscal law in action.  I’d be lying if I told you they were enthralling, but it’s a necessary part of the job, and I suppose it’s only 6 days in total.


  • Joey JoJo
    4/10/2011 2:31 PM
    1LT Harper - you may have mentioned this before elsewhere (so I apologize if this is a repeat): How do most students take notes? Do they just annotate the handouts of PPT slides or is everyone writing in a notebook or typing on a laptop? Thanks.
    • 1LT Harper
      4/11/2011 4:51 PM
      It's been mentioned before, but it's worth repeating: For the most part, everyone who takes notes (a substantial portion of the class doesn't do so) takes them in the lines provided on the PPT printouts. Occasionally, the professor won't have them printed out, and when they don't, people will make notes on legal pads or notebooks (I have a simple 5-subject notebook). 99.8% of professors will tell you not to worry about notes, even though they haven't printed them, and will instead post them on TJAGLCS' blackboard page. I think only 2 people in the class of 114 bring in a laptop (this is made harder as there are no power outlets in the classroom).

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