After the Thrill is Gone for Military Justice

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Can there be a thrill for the advocate after a “win?” Sure. But this post addresses after the thrill of that initial “win” is gone for the military client.

After a client wins in a hearing or court-martial, receive a local file for his reprimand, or even his investigationconcludes that he didn’t do anything wrong, initially he must feel so excited and validated.

Whatever you do, please do not make the mistake of believing that your initial feeling of euphoria will continue forever. Often our clients report feeling a deep dive after the “win” because there is that part of them that realizes and feels like their command should have always known that they were innocent, that it should have been obvious, that they should not have questioned the clients’ conduct, and that they should have believed in them.

So, often feelings of abandonment can resurface.

We always urge our clients to remind themselves that in that wake of emotions there can be a tendency to commit actual misconduct, to turn to a negative attitude, to maybe even be disrespectful.

Remember that after the thrill is gone of the victory,  those feelings of resentment can cause you to land yourself right back into our office.

Be mindful of those feelings, anticipate them, give yourself grace and space. Maybe go on leave and reconnect with family and friends (safely and with little to no alcohol…) and resist the temptation to spout off at the people who were decision makers or even to your peers who maybe distanced themselves from you. Always seek the support of behavioral health (and hopefully you were seeking their support throughout the legal process). The wave of emotions can feel overwhelming.

When you’re back to work (if you have not been transferred), conduct yourselves in a way that will ensure your command sees exactly who you are.

Remember that if the undertow starts to pull you back under, we will be here. After the thrill is gone.


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