On September 27, 2012, Military Spouse JD Network (MSJDN) participated in the Department of Defense State Liaison Office (DSLO) Annual Conference. Through their USA 4 Military Families Initiative, DSLO seeks to engage and educate state policymakers, not-for-profit associations, concerned business interests, and other state leaders about the needs of military members and their families. Since the DoD started the office in 2004, over 27 states have passed legislation providing for various types of military spouse licensure accommodations. During the military spouse licensure panel discussion, MSJDN Vice-President, Rachel Winkler shared about current challenges milspouse attorneys face like qualifying for bar licenses, finding meaningful legal opportunities, and maintaining a portable, viable career while accompanying their servicemember spouse to new duty stations. Together, MSJDN and DSLO identified a number of opportunities to partner on rule change efforts that support military families and military spouse attorneys across the country.

DSLO representatives were thrilled to hear about the impressive progress MSJDN has made over the past year since their last conference. MSJDN currently has members in all 50 states and overseas, including over 500 military spouse attorney members. With strong support from veterans, military family organizations, and the legal community, MSJDN members are working on rule change efforts in Arizona, California, Delaware, New York, North Carolina, Virginia, and Washington.

MSJDN Board Member and Blue Star Families Co-founder Laura Dempsey was there to share about the work of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s ‘Hiring our Heroes’ Hiring Fairs (for veterans and military spouses) that are happening across the country. Keep an eye out for an event near you.

MSJDN also learned about the successes of the Military Spouse Employment Partnership (MSEP), a DoD resource provided through Military One-Source. MSEP is a targeted recruitment and employment solution for spouses and companies that partners Fortune 500 Plus companies with ALL Military Service, provides human resource (HR) managers with recruitment solutions – military spouses, prepares military spouses to become competitive “job ready” applicants, and connects military spouses with employers seeking the essential 21st century workforce skills and attributes they possess. Over 27,000 military spouses have been hired since MSEP was launched by 2011. There are over 210,000 jobs currently posted on MSEP, including legal opportunities!

Thanks to DSLO for including MSJDN in this important conversation on military spouse licensure issues. MSJDN will continue to advocate for military spouse licensure accommodations – if you are interested in leading the charge or getting involved in efforts already underway in your state, please contact MSJDN Vice-President Rachel Winkler at rhsacks@gmail.com.