If we are going to get technical about this there is, at least in the US Army, one Judge Advocate General who is the senior uniformed lawyer in the whole damned army. In my day that guy was a Major General (two stars) with two or three brigadier generals as deputies and assistants. There were then a whole swarm of colonels and lieutenant colonels who were the people in charge of specialty sections in major commands from the Department of the Army down to the theater armies – like US Army-Europe and US Army-Vietnam, the old Fifth Army at Fort Sheridan, Illinois.
There was an additional swarm of colonels and lieutenant-colonels who were the senior lawyers in the operation commands, the corps, divisions and the like. These people were the Staff Judge Advocates of their commands, members of the commander’s personal staff. Personal staff means they had direct access to the commander without going through the various staff sections for personnel, intelligence, operations or logistics. Being the staff judge advocate to a commander who appreciated his SJA’s worth and function was one of the most satisfying jobs in the Army.
The rank and file of the Judge Advocate Generals Corps was a car load of young captains and veteran majors who tried the cases, wrote the papers, reviewed the contracts and did all the other stuff that came with being a uniformed lawyer. The new guys came on duty fresh from law school and a six or eight week course at the Judge Advocate General’s School-Army, which was and is co-located with the University of Virginia’s law school in Charlottesville, VA. If they already had a commission but no prior service there was a two week orientation at some near-by army post. If there was no prior commission and no prior service the new guy went through the basic officers course in one of the combat arms (in my day it was the Armor School at Fort Knox). Generally, the new guys came on duty as Judge Advocates as First Lieutenant, Army of the United States, but were given a temporary grade of captain with a few days of entry on active duty. In my day the obligated term for Judge Advocates was four years – and we were happy to do it to avoid leading an infantry platoon in one of the less pleasant places in Southeast Asia.
Supporting all these lawyers was a staff of warranted and enlisted people – the guys who actually ran the staff section, and kept the young officers out of trouble (or let them blunder into it if the personal relationship was like that). An old warrant officer and a veteran sergeant major save my butt one more than one occasion.