The Judge Advocate General’s Legal Center and School Shoulder Sleeve Insignia, or unit patch, was first approved for The Judge Advocate General’s School on 21 January 1972. On 2 October 2004, it was redesignated for The Judge Advocate General’s Legal Center and School with an updated description.

Of the several images used on the Judge Advocate General’s (JAG’s) School patch—a flaming torch, a laurel wreath, and a quill pen and crossed arranged saltirewise and with both points down—all but the torch are used on the JAG’s Corps branch insignia. The torch is commonly used in the heraldry of training or educational institutions as a symbol of leadership and the dispensation of knowledge. The pen is an allusion to the recording of testimony, while the sword is an emblem denoting the military nature of the service; the laurel wreath is a sign of excellence and achievement.

While the office of Judge Advocate of the Army is considered to have been established on 29 July 1775 and Army Judge Advocates had been serving in varying degrees ever since, there was no institution in the Army to provide these Attorneys with specialized training in military law despite some significant differences between martial and civilian law.

With the outbreak of World War II and the prospect of the nation raising the largest Army in the country’s history, the decision was made to begin legal education courses specializing in the intricacies of military law in Washington, D.C. After a few months, the courses were transferred from the National University School of Law to the University of Michigan’s Law School at Ann Arbor, where they were held until the school was inactivated in 1946. It was reactivated in October 1950 at Fort Meyer, Virginia, but this was done knowing the placement would be temporary and after six classes graduated it was closed briefly until a permanent site was found a the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.

Today, The Judge Advocate General’s Legal Center and School is located on the North Grounds of the University of Virginia where it is adjoined to but distinct from the University’s law school. It is the only Federal institution to be accredited as a law school by the American Bar Association.

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