“After being relieved for cause, issued an adverse fitness report, and transferred to another unit pending the CG’s decision on the way forward, I was notified that I would be subject to a Board of Inquiry. I researched and consulted no less than a dozen firms that specialized in military law – Boards of Inquiry in particular – prior to hiring Mr. Barnett as my Civilian Defense Counsel. Mr. Barnett took what was a rather complex case, and, with only thirty days in which to prepare, delivered a highly successful defense which culminated in a unanimous vote by the board for my retention in the Marine Corps.
“Unlike every other attorney I consulted, Mr. Barnett didn’t simply act on pre-suppositions or assumptions. Though we were pressed for time, he paid particular attention to my observations and recollections of what had happened over the course of the incident in question and its aftermath. Many of those details would prove critically important to my defense. He also kept me from going down several rabbit holes which would have wasted valuable time and could have taken away from the credibility of my case. Last and certainly not least was his attention to detail. From interviewing witnesses and character references down to the minutiae of building a well-put-together binder for the defense’s exhibits, everything was done in a highly professional manner.
“He practiced the highest level of integrity and ethics while executing the aggressive defense required for the proper outcome of my case; during the board he made an eloquent and forceful argument and presented witnesses and evidence in such a way that provided the board a firmly established and coordinated case without being overly repetitive or redundant. It was my observance that Mr. Barnett’s professional qualifications, recognitions, and reputation throughout the military community were just as impressive as those on the civilian side. He had prosecuted, defended, and served as an advisor or counsel at the highest levels and dealt extensively with Officer Misconduct. Since he currently serves as a Major within his professional community in the Reserves, he is well known, well-thought-of, and able to maintain a highly positive working relationship with everybody involved from the appointed Military Defense Counsel up to the SJA of the Convening Authority and higher. The importance of that cannot be overstated.
“At the same time, as a Civilian Defense Counsel, Mr. Barnett brought to the table two other critical assets. The first was time. Military Defense Counsel are some of the brightest people I’ve met; but my experience was that while they have an outstanding work ethic and the best of intentions, they lack sufficient time to give each individual case the attention to detail needed for the most successful outcome. The next critical asset was that in his capacity as a Civilian Defense Counsel, he in no way “worked for” the Convening Authority or the Branch of Service. During the process of a board, the Convening Authority will have appointed the time and place (which may or may not be located in the vicinity of any key witnesses), decided whether or not any witnesses are considered available or pertinent, appointed the board membership and legal advisor, ruled on any challenges to those appointments, and will only have to prove 51% of a case (preponderance of evidence). The single most important action a respondent can take that can even begin to counter the Convening Authority’s overwhelming advantage and ensure defense counsel is on-board beyond any doubt with the respondent’s best interests is to hire the proper Civilian Defense Counsel in a timely manner.
“It was apparent, after consultation with several, that Mr. Barnett was that proper counsel and was head and shoulders above the majority in both those communities in terms of the quality of legal representation he provided. He has my highest possible recommendation for representation in any military legal matter.”
-Major JF, USMC
“Brandon Barnett is the finest attorney I have ever met. My case was an appeal of a wrong I considered made against me by the Navy and I decided to make one last attempt to ask for reconsideration by the Naval Review Board. I had been advised by friends that chances of success were very unlikely but they supported my attempt. After research as to attorneys with experience in this field I felt that Mr. Barnett was the most capable and at the first interview he made it perfectly clear that the chances for approval by the board just to consider hearing my appeal were very small and was the biggest hurdle. He made no pretext as to encourage any overconfidence on my part and explained all the procedures and efforts he would employ to try to get past the first problem with the expenses I could expect to experience at every step of the way.
“I feel that Brandon explored every avenue possible in my case and as one example of his integrity he advised me of his determination that any further efforts to proceed would be futile and a waste of money. I am shocked that he showed his disappointment in failing to get approval by the board by returning funds that I had gladly paid him in advance for his efforts to try to obtain a hearing by the board. There was no pre-arrangement by me that any funds for his services would be refunded in the event the board’s refusal to hear my appeal. This man is of the highest caliber individuals I have ever encountered and is the most outstanding Lawyer I have ever known. I will be forever grateful for his efforts so that I can rest assured that the most honest and effective possible effort has been made in my case.
“I feel that God brought Brandon Barnett into my life and has restored my faith and confidence in the Legal profession.”
-Commander WR, USN (Ret)