“I loved my time in service”: Patrick Shane’s work in the military


Anna Elliot

Photo Courtesy of Anna Elliot. Patrick Shane speaking at Edina High School’s Veterans day assembly.

Karissa Cheng, Staff Writer

On Nov. 11, former U.S. Army Major Patrick Shane spoke to Edina High School (EHS) at the annual Veterans Day assembly. His speech focused on his years of work in the military and the opportunities that opened up to him following his service. 

In high school, Shane joined the Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC), a program that helped him pay for college. After concluding the four years of undergrad that ROTC funded, Shane was granted a three-year break from the Army to attend the University of Wisconsin Law School. “I’m a third-generation attorney; my grandfather and father were attorneys…so law was a field I had always been interested in,” said Shane. “I was fortunate the Army was willing to let me go to law school.”

Returning to the Army with a legal degree, Shane became part of the Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) Corps. During this time, he was a lawyer for several different army units. “I helped them with administrative matters, contract issues, a lot of legal issues in the Army involving discipline for soldiers,” said Shane. “The military justice system is supported largely by the JAG corps.”

Shane had the ability to travel all over the world as part of the JAG corps. When offered a legal position with the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, Egypt, he moved there with his wife where they had twins. Later, he was given the opportunity to serve with an Army command in Heidelburg, Germany, where he and his family welcomed two more children. 

The Shane family eventually decided that it was time to stop traveling. “We said, enough’s enough with all the moving and transitory lifestyle. And we decided to settle down, which led us to leave the military and come to Minnesota,” said Shane. Since moving to Minnesota, the Shane family has welcomed two more kids, bringing the total to six. 

Shane now lives in Edina. He currently practices as an in-house attorney for a financial services firm. Though he no longer works with the JAG corps, he appreciates the experiences it allowed him to have. “There’s nothing wrong with living in one spot your entire life, but you lose a lot of perspectives. To be able to go and live amongst people that are somewhat different from yourself…gives you a lot of insight into the type of person and society you want to live in,” said Shane.

Shane’s family members echo the same sentiment. “[Traveling] has inspired me to look into the different study abroad programs offered at the different colleges I’ve applied to… [it] inspires me to live in other countries, besides the U.S.,” said senior Claire Shane, one of the four Shane siblings who currently attend EHS. 

When sharing his story at the Veterans Day assembly, Shane aimed to “emphasize the opportunities” that come with the military. For some, his talk influenced their future plans. “It was really interesting to hear about someone’s experience,” senior Serena Arisian said. “[Joining the military] can teach you so many valuable lessons.” As someone who was already thinking about joining the military, she considered Shane’s talk “effective in fueling [her] interest.” 

Shane’s appreciation of what the military offers to youth was apparent in his speech at EHS. “I learned a lot of good life lessons that I continue to rely on even after I’d stopped serving in the armed forces,” Shane said. “I loved my time in the service.”