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Veterans Day Talk to Feature Retired Navy JAG and Alumnus James Houck, '85

By Lori Atherton
Nov. 10, 2014

The University of Michigan Law School will celebrate Veterans Day by welcoming back an alumnus and former Judge Advocate General (JAG) of the U.S. Navy.

Admiral James Houck, '85, who retired in 2012 as the 41st Navy JAG, will speak about current military and national security issues, the contributions of veterans, and their unique challenges on Tuesday, Nov. 11, at 11:50 a.m. in 0225 South Hall. Sponsored by MILVETS (Michigan Law Veterans Society), the talk is open to the Law School community; lunch will be served to the first 100 attendees.

As the Navy JAG, Admiral Houck was the senior military legal counsel in the Department of the Navy and provided legal counsel to the Secretary of the Navy and Chief of Naval Operations and led the 2,300 attorneys, enlisted legal staff, and civilian employees of the worldwide Navy JAG Corps. Admiral Houck now serves as interim dean at Penn State University's Dickinson School of Law.

His talk is the first event hosted by MILVETS, a newly formed Michigan Law student group that seeks to bring together students that are veterans or active duty personnel, according to 2L Lance Taylor, the group's commander (president) and cofounder. "Because of our training, military people do things differently than civilians," said Taylor, who served for six years in the Army National Guard. "We wanted to start a group in which we could provide support to each other and gather socially."

The group's goal, Taylor said, is to "help Michigan Law become a more veteran-friendly school" for both current and prospective students. One way MILVETS is helping to achieve that is by working with the Law School's Admissions Office on its upcoming emailathon and phonathon campaigns, during which MILVETS group members will answer questions from prospective students who are veterans or active personnel.

While Tuesday's Veterans Day talk is the only Law School-wide event planned for this year, Taylor said it will become an annual event featuring a prominent military speaker. In addition, the group hopes to become involved in charity projects, such as Valentines for Vets or the Wounded Warrior Project.

So far, 22 Law School students are part of the MILVETS listserv. If you are a veteran and would like to become involved with the group, contact Taylor at or 2L Robert Hines, MILVETS cofounder, at

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