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    The One in the Know

    The One in the Know

    Photo By Billie Suttles | Linda Cuffee, The Judge Advocate General's Legal Center and School's Continuing Legal...... read more read more



    Story by Jane Lee 

    The Judge Advocate General's Legal Center and School

    CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Do you know what the state of Rhode Island requires for attorneys to remain attorneys? What about California? How many of the mandatory 20 credit hours for Continuing Legal Education (CLE) can be self-study in the Golden State? Ha! Trick question, California requires 25 credit hours every three years. And in case you were wondering, half of the required hours can be earned through self-study.

    Linda Cuffee would not have been stumped. The CLE Administrator for The Judge Advocate General’s Legal Center and School knows the ins and outs for all 50 states, not to mention Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, British Columbia and Quebec. For example, Hawaii barred lawyers must report three credit hours every year … but New York differentiates between more experienced attorneys and newly admitted attorneys: 24 every two years and 32 in the first two years respectively.

    For more than a decade and a half, Cuffee has helped every single judge advocate who has passed through these halls, from novice first lieutenants to more seasoned majors, properly report their CLE. The Virginia native started at TJAGLCS as an educational technologist in the Administrative and Civil Law department, in 1999.

    The youngest of four grew up in a factory town, just outside Staunton. When schools integrated, she found herself taking the bus to Buffalo Gap High School, ten miles away. After graduation, she enrolled at Strayer College in Roanoke, but was forced to transfer to the Washington D.C. campus. “We were being harassed,” explained Cuffee. “There were only seven black women and two black men in the whole college. I had no idea that it was the first year African Americans were allowed to go to the college!”

    Cuffee majored in Secretarial Science, because she didn’t want to end up working on an assembly line like everybody else she knew. Her studies paid off with a job in the director’s office of the Price Commission, before she even graduated. Cuffee worked her way through various presidential economic agencies, until she ended up at the Drug Enforcement Agency. “I started working in the Mexican heroin section,” said Cuffee. “I prepared the Top 10 Most Wanted List every couple of months. We must have had a bomb threat at least once a week!”

    That wasn’t the only brush with danger Cuffee faced during her years in the Reagan administration. On March 30, 1981, John Hinckley Jr. tried to kill the president in a failed bid to impress actress Jodie Foster. “After the assassination attempt was made on President Reagan, I stood on the steps with the rest of the White House staff and we took a picture which was sent to him in the hospital,” said Cuffee. “I loved working there! Even though it was a lot of overtime, everyone worked together.”

    Working crazy hours had its perks. “When Michael Jackson came to receive an award from President Reagan, I got an autographed picture of him, but gave it to my niece,” said Cuffee. “And every Christmas, we received a card and an invitation to come to the White House. We were broken up into shifts because everyone usually brought their families.”

    Her husband was in the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, traditionally known as “The Old Guard.” His U.S. Army Drill Team service sent them to Germany for five years, first to Berlin … then on to Bamberg. “We extended twice,” said Cuffee. “I loved Germany and would have liked to extend for another year, but my parents were threatening us!

    “My two younger children were born in Bamberg and my parents had never seen them.” So Cuffee and her young family pcs’d to Fort Drum. Cuffee eventually moved back home to Staunton in 1996. After her divorce, she worked two jobs to put all three of her children through college.

    May this year marks Cuffee’s 47th year in government service. She has no plans to retire.



    Date Taken: 03.27.2024
    Date Posted: 03.27.2024 11:25
    Story ID: 467078

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