How to Get Promoted


From time to time I’m asked to consult on promotion board issues. Below is an excerpt from a piece I wrote several years ago … which summarizes some techniques and ideas I’ve seen bear fruit over the past thirty years or so. If you or someone you know is coming up for promotion in the next eight to twelve months, or if you’ve been passed over and are looking to plus up your chances at a second look, I’d be happy to consult and be a “second set of eyes” on your career and file generally.

v/r Bill Meili,   Office: 214 363-1828,  Email:

1. Photo: Do everything you can think to do to have your Official Photo reflect the officer/person/professional you are when you’re at your best, most comfortable, competent self. Posture, angle, facial expression, uniform’s fit, lighting … everything. Get help from a photographer who knows his/her business. Get help from a military photographer if at all possible. Show that person previous promotion/official photos. We all get older, but that doesn’t mean anything really. The years and experience should show in some way on a photo of someone going for higher field grade rank. Photo is of prime importance to anyone looking over your file. Spend the extra time and trouble to get it right.

2. Meet with your Bosses: Arrange a time and sit down with your commander/rater/senior rater. Ask that they consider submitting a complete the record or senior rater option (if applicable) OER on you in sufficient time to make it before your next board. During this conversation, speak candidly about the fact that a top block rating might well be the difference maker. And then have a fair and frank conversation about what it will take to make that top cut. It’s tough to hit a standard if you don’t know exactly what you’re shooting at. Ask. Where’s the bar set in the senior rater’s eyes. It’s a good discussion to have, and there’s no downside. It’s also a discussion that rarely happens — especially for some reason in the Reserve component. AR 623-3, Paragraphs 3-56 and 3-57 are helpful.

3. Military Education: Whatever you can do to “fast burn” a completion on ILE, or whatever course of studies you’re working, do it. And then get the completion certificate ready to go.

4. Make Extra Time for Additional Duties/Helping the Commander and Unit do Good Things: The more time you can devote to the unit’s business –vice yours — the better your chances are going to be to get promoted. Selfless service is essential. And, to the extent you can, help your bosses do their jobs better. Their jobs?  Leading troops by taking care of their needs first, and having them ready, inspired, capable and competent to perform whatever missions are thrown their way. When you do this, your boss will not only write that optional, complete-the-record OER, he or she will have some specific and powerful things to say regarding your potential for serving at the next higher level.


Taking Care of Clients

Good evening folks.

I had been working a few matters earlier today, when my daughter texted a
question. “What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received,” she asked. Well,
I had to think about that. Thought about it pretty much all day, and I just
responded back to her. Thought I’d share it here. I got it from a friend I’ve
always held in the highest regard — Judge William Sowder from Lubbock, Texas
when he was still in private practice, and I was just hanging out my shingle about 21 years ago. I think Bill got it from his Dad, a long-time, well loved attorney in Lubbock in his own

Though I didn’t believe it fully at the time, I’ve come to realize that it’s right on the
money. Here’s what Bill told me:

“It’s not the final result that most clients care about, so much as how they feel they were treated and taken care of by you — their attorney — over the course of the representation that matters most.”

That general wisdom and advice probably applies to most fields of endeavor and
relationships generally. It’s certainly good stuff to chew on as July fades to August here in North Texas. As always, Bill

Officer Field Board of Inquiry — Successful Outcome

Gratitude, a good friend once told me, is the king of emotions. Along those lines, then — the following:

Officer client facing a career ending Board of Inquiry, was lucky enough last week to have his entire case history reviewed by his Commanding General. Sometimes, when the parties can sit down and take a moment to review the fundamental truth of a situation, good things happen. Of course …it helps to have a CG who cares deeply about all his troops, especially those who are torn up physically and psychologically. We had such a commander in this case.

My guy didn’t get a free pass. He took ownership, and held himself accountable for his actions. As a result, provided he comports himself properly, he’ll be given an opportunity to retire from active duty, with dignity, respect …. and the lifelong, medical pension he’s earned as a result of his service to the country.

It felt really good traveling home from this one.

If you or someone you know needs help defending a Board of Inquiry — or any other administrative elimination action — please call me.

Respectfully, Bill Meili, Attorney and Counselor at Law, COL(R), JA, USAR, 214 363-1828: Office; 214 536-3888, Cell

On Patience, Persistence, Luck …. and Leadership!

Status Update

By Meili Law Firm

Apropos of the thoughts in my 15 March 2013 Face Book business post re patience, persistence and a little luck, consider this vignette:

Representing a combat medic trainee. Good guy, smart, independent minded, a little naïve and immature (he’s 22) – with a bit of a challenge vis a vis the social graces … patience not a strong suit. Translation: He’s got a short fuse.

So he buys a trip to the local hospital for an evaluation and the uniformed docs there recommend separation for “personality disorder”. Commander at the time wants to get rid of this kid, and puts him in a “hold for separation” category. However, there’s another report by a contract civilian, extremely experienced psychiatrist saying the kid is “good to go.” In other words, he’s a valuable asset who should be allowed to finish the last two three weeks of his specialty training. But … the commander isn’t budging, and he’s apparently not even looking at the second opinion. He didn’t even call the second doc back despite repeated calls and emails to get his attention. Not good.

What happens? The former commander is relieved about ten days ago. Gone unceremoniously …. Don’t know why. A new CO arrives and immediately begins to look at the many separation files pending. He and I speak a week ago and what he said still resonates: “Fathers and mothers across this country entrust their kids to us and expect us to train them properly, as they should. I don’t think your guy was afforded everything he was entitled to; I’m not saying he’s a saint by any means, but I’m willing to take a second look at his packet.” Still get goose bumps thinking about that call.

The new CO has eighteen years in — former Drill Sergeant with a wealth of wisdom and experience way above his 0-3 pay grade. He’s who I want to see more of in positions of leadership across the board. Sad to say there are all too few of his kind out there.
The new CO has been good to his word. My client is back in a training rotation and not facing imminent separation. If he doesn’t make it now, well, it’s all on him: he knows it, his family knows it, everyone’s read in. I really hope I get to go to this kid’s graduation in a few weeks. I’ll look him in the eye, shake his hand, tell him job well done, and, “mind your P’s and Q’s from here on out.” Then I’ll go over to his new CO and salute him before I shake his hand.

Like I said, patience, persistence, a little luck … and men and women who know how to lead, and aren’t afraid to do so. Makes my job look easy.

That’s it for now. Happy Easter weekend to all.
Bill Meili, Attorney and Counselor at Law, COL (Ret.), JA, USAR, 214 363-1828,