Category Archives: Press Release

ARIZONA SUPREME COURT RECOGNIZES SERVICE OF MILITARY SPOUSE ATTORNEYS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MILITARY SPOUSE JD NETWORK
http://www.MilitarySpouseJDNetwork.org
milspouse.bar@gmail.com

ARIZONA SUPREME COURT RECOGNIZES SERVICE OF MILITARY SPOUSE ATTORNEYS

In what makes only the second state approval of a nation-wide effort to remove barriers for military spouse attorney employment, Arizona Supreme Court Chief Justice Rebecca White Berch issued a rule authorizing admission of qualified spouses of military service members to the practice of law in Arizona without the need to take the state bar exam, so long as they meet and maintain other competency requirements. The admission is limited to the period of time the military service member is stationed in Arizona.

On December 10, 2012, Arizona State Rule 38(i) was issued, allowing qualified attorneys married to servicemembers to apply for admission without examination, an acknowledgement by the Arizona legal community that although military spouses are in the state only temporarily, they have valuable skills and experience to contribute to the local legal community and should be given the opportunity to do so.

The Military Spouse JD Network, an international organization of military spouse attorneys dedicated to improving the lives of military families, filed the rule change petition in January 2012. Following two rounds of public comments calling on the military and legal communities to offer their support of the Rule, it was approved this month. “MSJDN was proud to lead the rule change effort in Arizona and attributes its passage to a wide base of support from local and state bar leaders and partnerships among military and civilian communities,” notes MSJDN President Mary Reding. “This rule will have a significant impact on the ability for military spouses to maintain their legal careers as they move in support of our nation’s defense.”

Rule 38(i) follows a national trend in recognizing the service of military spouses and follows the support from the American Bar Association and the National Conference of Chief Justices. The Rule will be in effect on January 1, 2013 and after that date military spouse attorneys will be admitted without examination.

A copy of the language of the Rule can be found here.

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If you would like more information about the Military Spouse JD Network, contact milspouse.bar@gmail.com and visit http://www.MilitarySpouseJDNetwork.org.

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MSJDN CELEBRATES FIRST ANNIVERSARY, NAMES BOARD MEMBERS, LOOKS TO FUTURE

The Military Spouse JD Network (MSJDN) launched on June 14, 2011, and in that short time has grown from two members to hundreds. Thanks to the diligent effort of its members, the need for military spouse attorney licensing reform has been recognized as a priority issue in nationally-acclaimed groups such as the American Bar Association, the National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations, the US Chamber of Commerce, the National Military Family Association, and the Military Officers Association of America. MSJDN has also been recognized by the First Lady’s military family program Joining Forces, and the need for military spouse licensing reform was the subject of the joint Department of Defense and Department of the Treasury report issued in February.

MSJDN is credited with bringing the issue of military spouse attorney licensing to the forefront. “Military families move every two to three years, with assignments across the country and around the world. Taking an additional bar exam in each new state creates an enormous barrier to a meaningful career,” says Mary Reding, co-founder of the MSJDN. State rules that eliminate the burden of multiple bar exams for military spouses have now either passed or been submitted for consideration in a number of states. This week New York was added to the list and is expected to generate tremendous momentum if approved.

MSJDN named existing MSJDN members to their national executive board this week. Co-founder Reding will serve as the organization’s first President. The other Board Officers are: Vice President Rachel Winkler and Secretary Erin Mitchell Richeson. Winkler is an Army spouse focused on immigration policy for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Richeson is a Navy spouse working in the Office of Inclusion and Diversity with the US Coast Guard Academy.

The Board Members include co-founder Hon. Erin Wirth, an Administrative Law Judge with a federal agency, Laura Dempsey, Director of Military Spouse Employment for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and co-founder of Blue Star Families, Lori Volkman, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney and author, Samantha Musso, a private practitioner in Virginia, and Stephanie Crosse, Manager of Employer Relations at American University Washington College of Law.

Looking to the future, the Board will continue with the expansion of membership for the only organization representing military spouse legal professionals.  MSJDN will continue to eliminate barriers and make law a viable career choice for military spouses. Their focus will be on serving through law, including increasing access to pro bono legal services for military families, educating states about licensing barriers facing military spouse attorneys, increasing employment options for military spouses, and partnering with organizations that support their mission.

The Military Spouse JD Network is an international network of legal professionals improving the lives of military families.

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For more information contact Mary Reding at milspouse.bar@gmail.com and visit http://www.MilitarySpouseJDNetwork.org.

FIRST STATE APPROVES MILITARY SPOUSE ATTORNEY ADMISSION

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MILITARY SPOUSE JD NETWORK
http://www.MilitarySpouseJDNetwork.org
milspouse.bar@gmail.com

FIRST STATE APPROVES MILITARY SPOUSE ATTORNEY ADMISSION
Idaho Recognizes Unique Challenges Facing Military Spouse Lawyers

The Idaho Supreme Court approved Idaho Bar Commission Rule 229, Military Spouse
Provisional Admission, providing for the admission of attorneys married to
servicemembers. This approval comes after overwhelming support by members of the
Idaho State Bar during its annual fall resolution process.

Rule 229 allows qualified attorneys married to servicemembers to apply for admission
without examination and without an experience requirement while in the State of Idaho
due to military orders. The Military Spouse JD Network (“MSJDN”) considers the
approval of this Rule as an acknowledgement by the Idaho legal community that
although military spouses are in the state only temporarily, they have skills and
experience to contribute to the local legal community and should be given the
opportunity to do so.

“Working on the rule change process in Idaho has been incredibly rewarding,” says
Kimberly Espinosa, Director of Idaho for the MSJDN. “By approving this Rule, the Idaho
State Bar and the legal community recognize the sacrifices military spouse attorneys
make as we move to a new jurisdiction every 2-3 years. This decision sends a clear
message that Idaho is a leading state in supporting our men and women in uniform and
their families.”

“It is great news for military spouses who support their families and country by service in
the military and the law. We are proud of [MSJDN’s] groundbreaking efforts,” said Reed
Larsen, President of the Idaho State Bar.

While Rule 229 has been approved by the Idaho Supreme Court, official adoption of the
Rule will not occur until the Court issues an order doing so, which is expected to be
released within the coming weeks.

The Military Spouse JD Network is dedicated to eliminating barriers to the practice of
law and making the legal profession a portable and viable career option for military
spouses.

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If you would like more information about the Military Spouse JD Network, contact Mary
Reding at milspouse.bar@gmail.com and visit http://www.MilitarySpouseJDNetwork.org.

HISTORIC ABA VOTE TO REMOVE LICENSING BARRIERS FOR MILITARY SPOUSE ATTORNEYS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MILITARY SPOUSE JD NETWORK
http://www.MilitarySpouseJDNetwork.org
milspouse.bar@gmail.com

HISTORIC ABA VOTE TO REMOVE LICENSING BARRIERS FOR MILITARY SPOUSE ATTORNEYS

New Orleans, Louisiana — February 6, 2012 — The policy making body of the American Bar Association voted today to support changes in state licensing rules for military spouses with law degrees. With this vote, the ABA recognized the licensing barriers facing lawyers who move to a new jurisdiction with their military spouse, on average every two to three years. The approval of Resolution 108 puts the nation’s largest and most influential professional organization for lawyers squarely on the side of enhancing employment opportunities for military spouses.

“The ABA leadership understands how time consuming and expensive it is for military spouses to obtain a law license every time they move,” said Mary Reding, an Air National Guard spouse and co-founder of the Military Spouse JD Network. “The bar examination process often costs thousands of dollars and takes many months to complete. As a result, many military spouses find it impossible to obtain a license during the limited time they are stationed in a new jurisdiction.”

The ABA’s Resolution encourages state licensing agencies to allow lawyers who are licensed and in good standing in another jurisdiction to practice law while they are present in the state because of military orders. “This vote is a recognition of the tremendous benefits military spouse attorneys can provide to the communities where they are stationed,” said Hon. Erin Masson Wirth, a Coast Guard spouse and MSJDN co-founder.

The ABA Commission on Women in the Profession sponsored the Resolution and provided support on this important diversity issue. “The Commission is pleased that the House of Delegates adopted the Resolution urging states and territorial bar admission authorities to adopt rules to accommodate the unique issues confronting military spouse attorneys. Military spouse attorneys should not have to give up the ability to practice law while their spouse is serving our country,” notes Bobbi Liebenberg, Former Chair ABA Commission on Women in the Profession.

“Our goal is to work closely with each of the fifty states to craft appropriate provisions for military spouse attorneys,” said Reding. “The ability to practice law as we move in support of our spouse’s military career benefits everyone. The military is fortified with strong family support, and the service member is more likely to stay in the military if the spouse is happy with the lifestyle. In addition, many military spouses are particularly dedicated to serving the needs of military families and veterans at a time when these services are in great demand.”

Wirth and Reding are optimistic that the states will respond positively to the ABA’s endorsement. Rule change proposals are pending in Idaho, Ohio, North Carolina and Arizona. MSJDN is confident that the state licensing authorities will embrace this win-win solution to support military families and local communities.

The Military Spouse JD Network is dedicated to eliminating barriers to the practice of law and making the legal profession a portable and viable career option for military spouses.

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If you would like more information about the Military Spouse JD Network, contact Mary Reding at milspouse.bar@gmail.com and visit http://www.MilitarySpouseJDNetwork.org.

NETWORK LAUNCHED TO UNITE MILITARY SPOUSES WITH LAW DEGREES

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MILITARY SPOUSE JD NETWORK
http://www.MilitarySpouseJDNetwork.org
milspouse.bar@gmail.com

NETWORK LAUNCHED TO UNITE MILITARY SPOUSES WITH LAW DEGREES
Website and Facebook Group allow military spouses to connect and advocate for eliminating barriers to the practice of law.

June 14, 2011 – Attorney spouses of military members face significant challenges maintaining their legal careers while supporting their spouse’s military career. Many families find balancing a military career with a legal career too difficult. In those cases, either the legal profession or the military loses a valuable member.

The Military Spouse JD Network (“MSJDN”) was formed by two military spouses who have maintained successful legal careers through frequent transfers with their spouses. The MSJDN focuses on:
– advocating for provisional bar membership and admission in each state,
– educating the community about the benefits of hiring military spouses with law degrees, and
– providing a network for attorney spouses to connect with and support each other.

With the support of co-founder Mary Reding, Ohio is considering providing provisional bar membership to qualified military spouses. The MSJDN urges each state to review its bar admission requirements to ensure they are reasonable for military spouses who typically move every two to four years. The MSJDN also supports the uniform bar exam.

The MSJDN will highlight to employers the benefits of hiring military spouses. In addition, the network allows attorney spouses to share career advice, such as identifying legal careers that are portable and consistent with being a military spouse.

“No organization previously existed to connect attorney military spouses,” according to co-founder Erin Wirth. “Spouses navigated bar admissions and employment searches without any support or advice. This network provides a way to identify military spouses with law degrees; document our diverse career paths, challenges, and achievements; and to address our unique needs.”

The MSJDN includes spouses from all five branches of the United States Military: Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marines, and Navy. The network is also open to active duty military members, spouses of retired service members and reservists, and community members who support the network’s mission.

The Military Spouse JD Network is dedicated to eliminating barriers to the practice of law and making the legal profession a portable and viable career option for military spouses.

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If you would like more information about the Military Spouse JD Network, contact Mary Reding at milspouse.bar@gmail.com and visit http://www.MilitarySpouseJDNetwork.org.