Posted April 27, 2016

Next stop: Air Force JAG

Beasley School of Law student Tiffany Sykes is ready to fly.

A woman in an Air Force uniform and glasses standing before the Bell Tower.
Photography By: 
Joseph V. Labolito
Participating in moot court, trial team and the Integrated Trial Advocacy Program gave Beasley School of Law graduate Tiffany Sykes the experience she needed to achieve her goal of becoming an Air Force JAG.

Tiffany Sykes came to Temple University's Beasley School of Law with one goal in mind: to become an Air Force JAG—a Judge Advocate General, or military lawyer. She chose Temple Law for the strength of its trial advocacy program, which would prepare her well for life as a JAG, but also for the sense of community she witnessed when she visited as a prospective student. Three years and plenty of courtroom experience later, she’s ready to achieve her goal.

Sykes says that Temple’s wealth of opportunities for hands-on experience gave her exactly what she needed from her legal education. “Moot Court, Trial Team and the Integrated Trial Advocacy Program gave me the confidence and skills to do what I need to do in a courtroom,” she said. “After working in the District Attorney’s office, I was able to walk into my JAG interview and say, ‘I’ve put up real cases, I’ve been a lawyer, I’ve put on expert witnesses … I know how a courtroom functions.’ That was big.”

She also credits a clinical course in family law litigation for teaching her about the more human side of lawyering. “As a prosecutor handling drug cases and retail thefts, I didn’t really have a client,” she explained. “So learning how to counsel a client, how to speak to someone whose life is in turmoil, understanding their urgency—it’s one thing to know the rules of evidence, it’s another to get in deep with another human being. I think that and Trial Team were the best things I did in law school.”

Looking ahead, Sykes says she is well-prepared for what’s to come: another round of training, being commissioned as a Second Lieutenant, the bar exam and then attending JASOC—Judge Advocate Staff Officer Course—in Maxwell, Alabama. The sky’s the limit, and this Owl is ready to fly.

—Rebecca Schatschneider, CLA ’94, ’10, LAW ’06

The views and opinions expressed by Tiffany Sykes are hers alone and not the opinion of the United States Air Force.