Cody Harnish graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2006, and from American University, Washington College of Law, in 2013. Shortly after, Cody enlisted into the U.S. Army as a 19D, Cavalry Scout, wanting to understand what it meant to be an enlisted soldier in today’s Army. Following his enlistment, Cody was commissioned into the JAG Corps, where he became the only Army Judge Advocate to spend his entire initial contract defending soldiers as Trial Defense Counsel. Cody became one of the most successful Trial Defense attorneys in the Army, fighting for his clients at courts-martial, administrative separation boards, and “show cause” boards of inquiry.
In 2019, the Army JAG Corps selected Cody to serve as Senior Complex Litigator to the Army Trial Defense Western Region. In this role, he was the lead defense attorney in the region spanning from California to Alaska, training defense attorneys to be zealous advocates like himself. His superiors rated him top attorney in the region and Top Advocate in an Army-wide Trial Competition.
Cody was born and raised in southern California. Growing up in a family deeply rooted in law enforcement, Cody learned to work hard for what he wanted. What Cody wanted most of all in life was an education. He majored in Political Science at UCLA with the goal of becoming an attorney.
Once Cody was accepted into American University, he had one intention, to become a criminal trial attorney. He became an active member of American University’s Trial Advocacy Program, ranked among the top in the nation. The Mock Trial Honor Society selected Cody into the prestigious Mock Trial Team. He represented his law school in national trial competitions, winning National Finalist against other top-tier law schools.
After graduating from law school, Cody chose to challenge himself in a way he had never before by enlisting in the Army as a Cavalry Scout (19D). Cody’s brother, a former Green Beret, offered him sage advice “Officers don’t get what it’s like; you have to learn to follow before you can lead.” Cody took these words to heart and set off for One Station Unit Training (OSUT) at Fort Benning, GA. Afterward, Cody was stationed at Fort Riley, Kansas, with the 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team.
Cody later commissioned into the JAG Corps with one clear objective: get into the courtroom as soon as possible. Given the nature of assignments in the JAG Corps, Officers are detailed to many roles in the Army, and only after several years are they trusted with the heavy responsibility of being a Trial Defense Attorney. Fortunately, the Corps recognized Cody’s trial advocacy background and detailed him straight to Trial Defense Services. There he became a highly skilled and trained Defense Attorney in the Army’s busiest Court-Martial Jurisdiction.
Whether it was an administrative separation board, board of inquiry, or court-martial, Cody consistently demonstrated his excellence as a military justice litigator. His superiors took notice and detailed him to the Complex Litigation Team, responsible for handling difficult and complex cases.
Typically, Trial Defense Attorneys are only in TDS for two years before being reassigned; however, Cody and his superiors fought to allow him to stay in the role because defending clients is what he was meant to do. The Corps selected him to be a part of a new program, which allowed him to stay in TDS as the Senior Complex Litigator. In his new role, Cody was responsible for handling challenging cases throughout the region and training other defense attorneys. He was only 1 of 4 attorneys in the Army JAG corps to hold this position at that time.
After four years of defending Soldiers, the Army wanted Cody to move to a new role. However, defending servicemembers is a passion for Cody, so he chose to leave the JAG corps and continue defense work in private practice as part of a team of excellence at Law Office of Jocelyn C Stewart, Corp. Cody has worked alongside Ms. Stewart and Mr. Mangan and is excited to join the team of highly skilled and experienced military specialist trial practitioners.