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After five years on the job, John Ley is retiring as clerk of court for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.

Ley, 63, said he informed the court of his plans in October. He cited his seven grandchildren, noting he'll be moving to the coastal city of St. Marys, close to his youngest daughter and her two children. He said he would join his wife in their new home in January.

As part of the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General's Corps, Ley spent about 30 years in the military. In addition to stints in Korea, Italy and Zaire (now the Congo), Ley worked stateside at Army headquarters during the Iraq War as the chief of the international and operational law division. He became the Eleventh Circuit's chief deputy clerk in 2008 and in 2010 was tapped to succeed Thomas Kahn, another former military lawyer, when Kahn retired.

Asked to highlight his accomplishments as clerk, Ley demurred, calling himself "an old soldier."

"I'm kind of just fading away," said Ley, echoing Gen. Douglas MacArthur's famous farewell address.

Circuit Executive James Gerstenlauer cited Ley's handling of the court's transition from paper to electronic filing. "I think that's huge," Gerstenlauer said.

Gersntelauer said the new clerk will be selected by the full court at its meeting at the end of February. Given that Ley will be leaving in January, Gerstenlauer said an acting clerk will be appointed.

"They're looking for someone with extensive legal management experience," said Gerstenlauer. "We're looking for broad management, not just in the legal arena, but also in terms of budget, IT, personnel management."

The court is accepting applications until Nov. 28. The listed salary range is $161,679 to $167,000.