Associate Jason Ranjo has carved out a niche practice of advising clients on employee compensation and benefits issues related to military service members under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA). As a veteran himself, this area of law is particularly important to Jason. Serving in the US Army from 2004–2008 and in the New Jersey National Guard from 2008–2011, Jason led troops as part of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. Here he shares how serving in the military prepared him for his legal career.
Serving as a platoon leader in Afghanistan was the highlight of my military career. Leading soldiers in combat was the most difficult but most rewarding experience of my life. It has given me friendships and memories to last a lifetime.
One of the funniest memories I have from my time in Afghanistan was when I suffered from food poisoning after eating eight lobster tails delivered from a forward operating base. I was living in an Afghan government compound at the time and needed emergency treatment from local resources. It was not funny at the time, but after surviving the incident, I realized how foolish it was to eat lobster from an unknown source in a landlocked country.
I was inspired to become a lawyer during my deployment to Afghanistan, where I gained an appreciation for our American legal system. Many countries around the world don’t enjoy the same rule of law that we sometimes take for granted. After seeing first-hand the unfairness and despair that is allowed to exist under other systems, I wanted to play a part in ours.
I also gained discipline and the ability to work well under pressure from my military experience. Those experiences have benefited me in my current role. As a lawyer, I am challenged every day, but my experience in the military has given the confidence to know that I can overcome those challenges.