USA: ABA to honor five with Outstanding Young Military Lawyer Award

CHICAGO, June 13, 2024 — Five attorneys will receive the 2024 Outstanding Young Military Lawyer Award, a joint effort of the ABA Young Lawyers Division and Judge Advocate Association, which recognizes the legal contributions of one young judge advocate from each uniformed service: the U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Coast Guard. The honorees will be recognized during the ABA Annual Meeting in Chicago on Saturday, Aug. 2, at an award ceremony at 11:15 a.m. and also at the YLD Annual Meeting Assembly from 1:30-4:30 p.m.

The honorees are:

Army Capt. Hannah Miller entered active duty as a military police officer in 2013 and was assessed into the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps in 2021. She has served in multiple positions, including as the military justice adviser for the 316th Cavalry Brigade and 194th Armored Brigade, senior trial counsel and then administrative law attorney for the Maneuver Center of Excellence and Fort Moore. Miller set herself apart from peers and superiors alike by overseeing 60 courts-martial as a senior trial counsel and taking on duties as both a contract and fiscal law attorney and environmental law attorney for an understaffed administrative law section for the Army’s largest Training and Doctrine Command installation.

Marine Corps Maj. Annie Barry Bruton entered active duty in 2013. After serving as a logistics officer, she attended law school and became a judge advocate in 2019. She has served in multiple positions to include trial counsel, administrative law officer-in-charge and as a forward-deployed staff judge advocate in Darwin, Australia. While deployed, Bruton supported a force of 1,800 sailors and Marines, advising commanders on 30 criminal cases, including three foreign criminal jurisdiction cases; and supported nine Marine Air-Ground Task Force-level, bilateral and multinational exercises with foreign partners. As a trial counsel and administrative law officer-in-charge, she handled more than 80 cases, serving as a prosecutor for a contested general court-martial, nine special courts-martial and 40 administrative separation boards.

Navy Lt. Amy Zajac, a judge advocate since 2017, has advised numerous commands on a variety of legal issues spanning ethics, administrative, military justice, operational, international, fiscal and theater security law. She has executed legal engagements across 13 countries and promoted legal integration and interoperability in multinational exercises and operations, directly furthering the mission of the U.S. Navy. Zajac supported the Fleet and forward-deployed commands during the COVID-19 pandemic and regional crises, whether through novel approaches to legal assistance or timely and effective provision of critical legal guidance to commands and operators.

Air Force Capt. Anna Sturges joined the Reserve Officer Training Corps at the University of California, Berkeley, in 2012. After law school, she entered active duty as an Air Force Judge Advocate in 2018 and has served as a chief, military justice, area defense counsel and senior defense counsel. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Sturges successfully prosecuted a high-visibility infant murder trial while leading the Air Force’s fifth busiest military justice docket. After defending 427 military justice actions including 17 courts, she was advanced to senior defense counsel, supervising nine attorneys and paralegals while leading felony-level courts. Sturges was recognized with seven quarterly and annual awards, including the Military Justice and Discipline Directorate Company Grade Officer of 2023.

Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Erin Slycord entered active duty in 2002 and became a Coast Guard Judge Advocate in 2019. She has served in multiple positions, including as the legal adviser to the Office of Maritime Law Enforcement and Policy, where she distinguished herself as a key leader when she represented the United States on delegations negotiating bilateral maritime law enforcement agreements with Palau, the Federated States of Micronesia, Ecuador and Cote d’Ivoire, directly supporting presidential priorities and direction in National Security Memorandum 11 on Combating Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing and Associated Labor Abuses. Slycord also served as a special victims’ counsel in the Office of Member Advocacy and Legal Assistance.

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