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.
For more information contact Mary Reding at firstname.lastname@example.org and visit www.MilitarySpouseJDNetwork.org.