WASHINGTON, May 22 - Have a law degree? Willing to work for
low pay in an exotic locale? Then Uncle Sam wants you.

The Pentagon is trying to recruit civilian lawyers to
represent terrorist suspects in its military tribunals at
the United States naval base in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.
President Bush has yet to single out any prisoner from
Afghanistan for a tribunal, but the Pentagon has been
preparing for one anyhow. The suspects will be provided
military defense lawyers but can also ask for civilian
lawyers. So far, no one has applied.

The Pentagon has named Col. Will A. Gunn of the Air Force
as the acting chief defense counsel. At a briefing today,
Colonel Gunn said he had not volunteered for the post.
Moreover, while a couple of military lawyers had made
inquiries, he had so far received no applications from
civilian lawyers.

"When I was contacted about taking on this position, I
immediately recognized that the glamour position here was
that of the chief prosecutor - that was the opportunity to
be America's hero," said Colonel Gunn, 44, a graduate of
the Air Force Academy and Harvard Law School who served
most recently as executive assistant to the Air Force judge
advocate general.

The post of acting chief prosecutor has been assigned to
Col. Frederic L. Borch III, a career Army lawyer who
supervised the successful prosecutions of 13 drill
sergeants accused of sexual misconduct at Aberdeen Proving
Ground in 1997. Colonel Borch apparently has no dearth of
uniformed lawyers eager to join the prosecution, though he
declined to specify the size of his team.

Finding defense lawyers will be trickier.

Don Rehkopf, a Rochester lawyer who is co-chairman of the National
Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers' military law
committee, said in a telephone interview that the military
rules were so stacked against the defense that few civilian
lawyers would want to apply.

"It would be unethical for any attorney to agree to the
conditions they've set," Mr. Rehkopf said. "You have to
agree to waive the attorney-client privilege so that the
government can monitor your conversations. It's a total

There is also the matter of defending people who may have
had roles in the Sept. 11 attacks. Colonel Gunn said he
decided it was his duty to accept that challenge. "We
believe in what this country espouses as its key values,"
he said, including a defendant's innocence until proven

"We've all represented individuals that others may have
despised, others may have been leery of," he said. But, he
added, "you find things aren't always as they seem."

Eugene Fidell, a military law expert in Washington, said
that one measure of the fairness of military tribunals
would be how many civilian lawyers the Pentagon attracted.

"This will be one index of whether these proceedings are
going to engender public confidence," he said.

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