Court Martial: Can you hire a Civilian Lawyer?

Just like a criminal trial for a civilian, facing court-martial can be an extremely stressful situation for a military service member. These are special courts convened for specific military charges such as mutiny, insubordination, desertion, and other crimes such as manslaughter and arson.

If you realize that your commander is has decided to proceed with a court-martial against you, know it’s a serious issue. In some cases, the government provides you with a military lawyer (free). This is the same as how public defenders are designated in any civilian court. So, if you have a free attorney, do you need to hire a civilian lawyer?

The answer to this question will primarily depend on a number of factors. In some cases, hiring an experienced Bremerton court-martial lawyer can make a difference in your defense. If the government is on a quest to take away your livelihood or freedom, the stakes a very high and your lawyer can save you. With so much to lose in case things go southwards, it’s in your best interest to have the best legal defense you can get.

Two lawyers Vs. one

Note that if you hire a civilian lawyer, the free lawyer provided by the government can stay on the case. The assigned military lawyer can help the private lawyer to fight for you.

The military lawyer is always competent enough to represent you. If you have a straightforward case and the attorney provided by the government is well-versed with those cases, you may not need a civilian lawyer. However, if your case is complicated, or you realize that the assigned lawyer isn’t experienced to handle those type of cases, you need to act fast.

Just like public defenders, military defense attorneys are often spread thin with huge caseloads and may lack enough time to analyze your case thoroughly. The lawyer could be having dozens or over a hundred cases to handle. Therefore, it’s wise to find out the number of the cases your attorney is handling. That way, you will determine whether or not you should hire a civilian attorney.


To determine if you need a civilian lawyer, find out about the assigned attorney’s expertise in handling cases like yours. Note that the appointed lawyer may be having excellent credentials but younger and lacks experience in defending your case type. Hiring an experienced civilian lawyer can bring a significant difference.

Civilian lawyers have no chain of command

One good thing about a private attorney is that these professionals have no chain of command and aren’t required to toe the line as most military defense lawyers do. Thus, a private attorney can freely call out a high-ranking military attorney for misconduct without worrying about retributions.

Hiring a civilian lawyer

If you have decided to hire a private lawyer, ideally you need a highly experienced lawyer who you can trust. Before hiring, remember to ask him or her a few questions to understand the lawyer’s experienced, terms of service, and more.