The 41st Judge Advocate General of the Army Discusses Lawyers as Leaders

Lieutenant General Stuart W. Risch speaking to students
December 16, 2022

GW Law's National Security, Cybersecurity, & Foreign Relations Law Program, along with the Veteran Law Students Association, Military Law Society, and National Security Law Association hosted the 41st Judge Advocate General of the Army, Lieutenant General (LTG) Stuart W. Risch to commemorate Veterans Day. This year's event-Lawyers As Leaders: A View from the 41st Judge Advocate General of the Army- offered GW Law students, faculty, and staff the opportunity to observe Veterans Day and hear from LTG Risch about his career as an Army lawyer and leader. 

General Risch is the current Judge Advocate General of the Army whose previous assignments include duty as the Deputy Judge Advocate General of the Army, Commander of the U.S. Army Legal Services Agency and Chief Judge on the Army Court of Criminal Appeals, and Legislative Counsel in the Army's Office of Chief Legislative Liaison at the Pentagon. General Risch also deployed and served in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Iraq during OPERATIONS DESERT SHIELD/STORM and in Iraq during OPERATIONS IRAQI FREEDOM and NEW DAWN and OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM II.

Drawing from these unique positions and 38 years of military service, LTG Risch shared his perspective on lawyers as leaders with opening remarks and a Q&A session. During his opening remarks, LTG Risch celebrated historical examples of lawyer leaders like James Madison. Stressing that leadership as a lawyer requires identifying and embodying important core values that guide one's vocation, including integrity. General Risch also emphasized that lawyers can be leaders regardless of military experience. In closing, LTG Risch paid homage to Colonel Tsukamoto, a Japanese American JAG officer whose leadership conviction drove him to pursue military service during World War II, despite multiple rejections on ethnic grounds.

During the Q&A portion, LTG Risch answered quesitons about the Army and his personal experience. He recounted stories of navigating complex ethical and legal questions in operational and leadership contexts. He also offered shared insights he learned from serving in leadership positions that challenged him as a lawyer and a leader. 

In addition to hearing from LTG Risch, attendees were welcomed by the Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall Color Guard. GW Law's National Security, Cybersecurity, & Foreign Relations Law Program and student organizations were honored to host LTG Risch for the annual Veterans Day event to celebrate legacies of service and leadership.