The world of law is something that most people are unfamiliar with unless they’re thrust, unwillingly, into it. But for Jonathan Crisp, an experienced trial attorney, his calling to the courtroom was only natural following almost seven years of serving active duty in the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps (JAG).
Crisp was born and raised in the Philadelphia area where he attended West Chester University and then Widener University School of Law, from which he graduated in 1998. He began his legal career as an Assistant Public Defender in Centre County, Pennsylvania. But, Crisp had an overwhelming desire to see the world. “I always wanted to join the service, as far back as high school,” Crisp says. “I didn’t out of respect for my father, who said I should wait until I was done with college.”
A culturally-expanding, career-expanding move.
After his first year of law school, Crisp started thinking seriously about the JAG Corps. “I wanted to join an organization that was well-respected, it had a great reputation. I loved the idea of traveling and practicing law, and the Army was a great way to do that—to have a profession, see the world, and be part of an organization that was greater than myself,” he says. “The desire to serve had never gone away.”
From September of 2000 to May of 2007, he served active duty in the JAG Corps, where he first served as a Legal Assistance Attorney and then the Chief of Legal Assistance at Patton Barracks in Heidelberg, Germany.
As a Legal Assistance Attorney, he worked as a general practitioner in areas such as contracts, estate planning, and mediation services. During his tenure as the Chief of Legal Assistance, his work didn’t go unnoticed. The Patton Barracks Legal Assistance Office was awarded the Army Chief of Staff Award for Excellence in Legal Assistance for the first time in its 30-year history.
Crisp then served as a Defense Counsel in Ansbach, Germany, where he represented soldiers at administrative proceedings and courts-martial. He was subsequently selected to be the Senior Defense Counsel in Fort Jackson, South Carolina, where he continued to represent soldiers, but also supervised and mentored other trial attorneys in his region.
While Crisp enjoyed his mission in the Army, the time away from home was tasking on his wife and family. So, in 2007 he left active duty to begin his own firm. Crisp moved to the Central Pennsylvania region and started Crisp and Associates Military Law, which specializes in military justice and military administrative matters as well as in-state and federal court criminal defense.
What started as a solo practice firm has now grown to include five attorneys and seven support staff that handles a wide range of military administrative matters, military justice matters, and representing service-members at courts-martial throughout the world. While about 70 percent of their cases are military-oriented, Crisp and Associates handles all criminal defense cases, including federal and state.
A privilege and a passion.
Crisp says the most rewarding part of the job is simply helping people through an incredibly tough time. “The fear, anxiety, and terror that the accused and their family has is palpable, and you feel a tremendous sense of empathy for these people,” Crisp says. “They may have done something, but it’s often not what they’re accused of doing that they’re going to court for. Errs in judgment are not equal to criminal conduct.”
Even though his practice areas have changed over the years, Crisp has never taken being a lawyer for granted. It’s his calling.
“I love being an attorney and have never, ever taken for granted the privilege it is to represent people in their greatest time of need,” Crisp says. “It’s my passion.”
Learn more about Jonathan Crisp or schedule a consultation with the attorneys at Crisp and Associates by calling 888-835-7446 or visiting www.mymilitarylawyers.com.