A guest Blog by MSJDN member Ashton Montgomery, Esq.
In June the Congressional Military Family Caucus (CMFC) held their annual Summit at the National Infantry Museum at Ft. Benning, Georgia. The purpose of the event was to provide an exchange of ideas, policy, and solutions between Members of Congress and the public on the challenges faced by military families. MSJDN was there and was proud to represent those military spouses who are attorneys. MSJDN supporter and one of the leaders of the military spouse licensing initiative, Robert L. Gordon III was the keynote speaker. In his current role as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Military Community and Family Policy, Mr. Gordon emphasized the importance of “preventing a hole to ensure a whole” among military families.
As an Air Force brat and now an Army spouse I know the sacrifices made by military families. Frequent moves and long separations were the norm growing up, but as a spouse I am faced with a new challenge – employment. I am an attorney. I worked hard to earn a law degree and law license, and I never envisioned how much of that hard work would be lost because I chose to support my service member spouse. Frequent moves create significant barriers to spouse employment — especially when a professional license is involved. The result is often unemployment, which leaves a huge hole in the lives of many military spouses who worked hard to obtain their qualifications. Along with the White House Joining Forces Initiative, the CMCF Summit is working to help military families affected by these barriers.
The CMCF is largely advocating the transferability of state qualifications for military spouses. But, the legal profession is often forgotten during professional license discussions. Unlike most professional licenses regulated by state legislatures, attorney licenses are regulated by each state’s Supreme Court. MSJDN spoke with the CMCF co-chair, Congressman Bishop and Mr. Gordon about the importance of the CMCF’s and the DoD’s support to pass bar licensing rules for military spouses. MSJDN is pleased to report that Mr. Gordon has agreed to support MSJDN by signing a letter of support addressed to the National Conference of Bar Presidents.
How can you help? Local officials and the public can help military spouse attorneys achieve licensing in every state by raising awareness of the need among their peers and with their local legal communities. Although it is ultimately the highest court who typically must adopt the rule, the CMCF and local elected officials can greatly influence change by remembering, and advocating for, military spouse attorneys. Contact email@example.com to sign on to the letter calling on the National Conference of Bar Presidents to act on ABA policy supporting military spouse attorneys.