Celebrating ArentFox Schiff’s Veterans: Jackson Toof on Going From Military Service to Client Service

Jackson Toof, Lieutenant Commander, US Navy, Judge Advocate General’s Corps, Navy Reserves

Describe your service.

I served on active duty from 2003-2006, and I served in the Navy JAG reserves from 2008-2012. After NJS finished in March 2003, I was stationed at the Washington Navy Yard in Washington, DC, where I gained extensive litigation experience defending sailors and marines in criminal matters before courts-martial. In addition, I provided civil legal assistance to hundreds of sailors and marines while stationed at the Pentagon and represented over a hundred sailors and marines before the Navy’s Physical (Disability) Evaluation Board at the Bethesda Naval Hospital (n/k/a Walter Reed National Military Medical Center).

I continued my service as a Lieutenant Commander in the United States Navy reserve, where I served as (1) legal assistance counsel at NR LSO Mid-Atlantic in Norfolk, Virginia, providing civil legal assistance to active, reserve, and retired service members; and (2) Deputy Force Judge Advocate assigned to Commander Navy Installations Command, helping to deliver effective and efficient readiness.

I left the Navy at the rank of Lieutenant Commander.

Why did you choose military service?

I have a long line of military service in my family and I wanted to continue that tradition. My father served in the US Army, 4th Infantry Division, during the Vietnam War and was wounded in combat during his tour overseas. After watching the movie A Few Good Men, which came out my sophomore year in high school, I decided that the best way for me to start my legal career and help servicemembers, including those who had been wounded during services, was through service in the Navy JAG Corps.   

How did you move into private practice?

I left active duty and entered private law practice in 2006 for family reasons. I continued my service in the Navy Reserves for several years after leaving active duty.  

How has your military experience influenced your legal practice?

I started my legal career as a trial lawyer defending sailors and marines at courts-martial, and trying cases was something I had always wanted to do and continued doing in private practice. In addition, I was able to represent and advocate for servicemembers wounded during their service before the Navy’s Physical (Disability) Evaluation Board (a 3-panel board comprised of three O-6s) to help determine their disability rating. My military experience taught me the importance of good order and discipline, respecting the chain of command, the importance of organization, and understanding that every client has a story to tell. I have incorporated those aspects into the way I practice law and run my cases.  

Special Awards:

  • Naval Legal Service Office North Central, Officer-of-the-Year
  • Navy Commendation Medal
  • Two Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals
  • National Defense Service Medal
  • Global War on Terror Service Medal