Why are officer resignations often so difficult and how does having a good lawyer help the process?
You know you would think it would not be a difficult process for an officer to resign the Commission, but in fact it is. And, one of the reasons I think that it is so difficult is because the various command levels that have responsibility for a particular officer realize that an awful lot of time, training, and resources have gone into getting that person to where he or she is in the career. And quite frankly, the military is just reluctant to let go of all of that. Even when an officer has finished his or her obligation, the culture is still resistant to letting them go. It's just not in their DNA, so to speak. And so, you have to get over that hurdle first of all, that substantive hurdle, in order to have a chance for this thing to work.
But in addition to that, it takes multiple levels of command to approve a resignation. It's not just a one-time deal. You have the individual's unit, you have the higher headquarters, then you have national level. All of them have to agree and approve this for it to go through. And what happens is, and here's where the difficulty often lies and it's administrative, but it's still a big difficulty. You have one particular office that makes a decision and then they send that on to higher headquarters. It may languish on somebody's desk - unread, untouched. For weeks, if not months. And sometimes they get lost and you're dealing with various levels of command in different geographic regions of the country.
It's essential for somebody to carry that thread all the way through from the very start, from the local level, up to the national level in order for that resignation to have the greatest chance of success. The individual officer simply does not have the time nor the understanding of where each of those levels are and who's working those levels to do that job effectively for himself.
I contacted Col. Meili as a fellow practitioner to gain some context and perspective on a pretty complex set of issues. Because I practice in a different field of law, Col. Meili's extensive expertise was invaluable and he was more than generous with his time. A skilled and dedicated professional who cares deeply about obtaining the best possible outcome for his clients, Bill's a leader in this field.
- Steffen Chapin
After an exhaustive search of military attorneys, I came across the name of Bill Meili. From my first email exchange and telephone call, I knew that Bill was the right person to handle my case. I had discussed my unique circumstance with a handful of other attorneys who felt it may be too difficult to achieve the outcome that I was seeking - but Bill was interested in me and my case, and wholeheartedly believed that we had the ball in our court. I could tell that Bill cared about me as a person and soldier, not just viewing me as a paycheck.
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