LTG Flora Darpino, 2016 Woman Lawyer of the Year

Lieutenant General Flora D. Darpino, The Judge Advocate General of the United States Army, is the 2016 WBA Woman Lawyer of the Year. She will be recognized at the organization’s Annual Dinner on May 25, 2016, in Washington, DC. The Woman Lawyer of the Year Award recognizes a leader who has championed change in the profession by leading by example, advocating for justice, and promoting the advancement of women in the profession.

General Darpino serves as the 39th Judge Advocate General of the U.S. Army. She is the first woman to hold this position since the first Judge Advocate General was appointed by George Washington in 1775. She has achieved many other “firsts” in the Army, among them the first female assistant executive officer to become The Judge Advocate General and the first Judge Advocate General to join the Judge Advocate General’s Corps (JAG Corps) direct from civilian life.

General Darpino’s selection as The Army Judge Advocate General is a reflection of her professionalism, her legal acumen, her exceptional leadership skills, and a sign of the changing makeup of the modern Army. As the senior military lawyer for the U.S. Army, LTG Darpino is the principal legal adviser to the secretary of the Army. In addition, she directs over 10,000 lawyers in the JAG Corps at over 100 active and reserve Army legal offices across the U.S. and overseas. 

General Darpino’s rise to the top rung of leadership in the JAG Corps is an amazing achievement in itself, and is tremendously inspiring for young female lawyers who dream about serving as JAG officers. General Darpino’s success points to the significant changes in the climate for women that she herself has helped bring about. She has held the toughest positions in the JAG Corps, and she served with distinction on two deployments to the combat theater of Iraq. She has been defense counsel, chief counsel for a Corps Staff Judge Advocate Office advising a senior general in Germany, and a Department of Justice Fellow. She has counseled young soldiers and advised the Army’s most senior commanders. She served as the Commander of the Army’s Judge Advocate General’s Legal Center and School, the only ABA-accredited military law school with an LLM program. As the JAG Corps’ chief recruiting officer, she inspired young women to choose the Army as a career, and she recruited qualified and diverse classes of new lawyers. Her outstanding performance in all of these roles has advanced opportunities for female lawyers following in her footsteps, by demonstrating that it is possible to find a balance of professional and personal success in a military career. 

Throughout her career, General Darpino has focused on mentorship and professional development, especially for women in the JAG Corps. There are countless stories of how she inspired younger lawyers to make the military a career by showing them the way to find a balance in their professional and personal lives.  General Darpino has also provided advice about how to handle being the only woman on a staff, and how to succeed in an all-male environment. General Darpino’s guidance and support has been invaluable to the younger lawyers serving in the JAG Corps.

General Darpino received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Gettysburg College, a Juris Doctor from Rutgers University and a Master of Laws degree in Military Law from The Judge Advocate General’s School. She is a recipient of the 2015 Margaret Brent Lawyers of Achievement Award from the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession.

General Darpino is married with two daughters.