Lieutenant Commander Michael Murtagh, USN (ret.); 3L Jason O’Brien; Senior Chief Billy W. Lloyd, USN; Dulce Rivera O’Brien
Lieutenant Commander Michael Murtagh, USN (ret.), administers the oath to 3L Jason O’Brien
Members of the NDLS community and the U.S. Attorney’s Office joined family and friends to support 3L Jason O’Brien at his U.S. Navy ensign commissioning ceremony in the Patrick F. McCartan Courtroom last November. After passing the bar, Jason will attend Officer Development School in Newport, Rhode Island. Upon completion of ODS, he will report to Naval Justice School and be promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Junior Grade, after which he will serve as an attorney in the Navy Judge Advocate General’s Corps.
Among those attending his commissioning were NDLS professors (Nicole Garnett, Mary Ellen O’Connell, and Jeffery Pojanowski), classmates, friends, and family members, including Jason’s wife, Dulce Rivera O’Brien, who stood beside him as he took his oath.
“I deeply appreciated the show of support from the Law School,” Jason said. “And from the U.S. attorney’s office as well – many of the assistant U.S. attorneys I work with as part of my clerkship in the South Bend Division showed up on campus on a Sunday afternoon to watch me get sworn in. Of course it was special to have my family come in from Chicago, Florida, and Texas in order to share the experience with me. And I was honored that the officer who administered the oath was Lieutenant Commander Michael Murtagh, [USN (ret.),] whom I have known since high school. He drove about four hours from Eureka College near Peoria, Illinois, to get here that day.”
Jason said his post-J.D. career path was set in motion by a positive 1L summer internship at Naval Station Mayport near Jacksonville, Florida. There he assisted JAG Corps attorneys in providing legal defense services to Navy personnel — legal research, motion writing, and client and witness preparation.
He credits Kevin O’Rear, the Law School’s Assistant Dean for Admissions and Career Development, with encouraging him to apply for that internship. “I talked to Kevin about my interests and he explained the internship opportunity to me and encouraged me to apply.
“I’m very grateful to him, and to Michael Hom, who’s an NDLS career counselor who served in the Navy JAG Corps himself. They both gave me great advice throughout the process of applying to the JAG Corps. The entire CDO office was always very helpful to me.”
Jason also credits the Notre Dame community in making that internship opportunity logistically and financially possible, as an officer of the local alumni association chapter generously hosted Jason for the summer in his family’s home. “There are just so many people from Notre Dame for whom I am so thankful, and I am very grateful for all of the guidance and support they have given to help me be successful,” he said.
In addition to continuing his clerkship with the U.S. Attorney’s office during his final school year, Jason is serving as a Managing Senior Editor of the Notre Dame Law Review, as Vice President of the ND Military Law Students Association, and as a volunteer with the LaSalle Council of the Boy Scouts of America.