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.

# # #

If you would like more information about the Military Spouse JD Network, contact Mary Reding at and visit