Editor’s Note: MSJDN asked its members to help us spotlight employers that are going above and beyond for military spouse attorneys. Each employer in this series was nominated for MSJDN’s Member’s Choice Award for doing just that, by members who told us in their own words just how awesome their employers are. MSJDN is thrilled to tell these employer stories, as a way of expressing our gratitude for supporting military spouses as they build careers in the legal profession.
The MSJDN Member’s Choice winner will be announced at MSJDN’s Annual Reception in Washington D.C. on May 7.
In Florida, there is one large statewide law firm representing the State of Florida in child welfare matters: Children’s Legal Services (CLS). CLS “protects Florida’s children from abuse, abandonment, and neglect,” says member Brooke Geiger Nattkemper, currently employed as a CLS attorney. It is a job that Brooke loves, and one she will sorely miss when the inevitable PCS takes her to a new location. But that is only part of why Brooke nominated CLS for MSJDN’s Member’s Choice Award, given to an employer that goes above and beyond to support military spouse attorneys.
The nature of its work requires CLS to hire attorneys who can handle child welfare cases over long periods of time. “But they saw something in me and gave me the chance to fight for Florida’s children with them, even though my time was limited,” Brooke says. She applied for a position at CLS knowing she only had about a year to practice before her husband would be transferred. Brooke did not get the position that she applied for, but was offered an hourly position doing trial work for CLS. She happily accepted, and did such great work that she was made a salaried employee when a position became available.
A few months after she started work with CLS, Brooke learned that the firm’s managing attorney had to petition for extra funds so that he could hire her, and getting the funds took a lot of hard work and negotiating with state-level administrators. CLS fought for Brooke, so she could fight with them for Florida’s children.
In addition to supporting her professionally, Brooke says that CLS is also very understanding of the military lifestyle. When her husband is home from South Korea, they are flexible with her work schedule so that she can spend time with him. And, she says, they have since added another military spouse attorney to their team!
“I have been so blessed with such an amazing opportunity to practice and do what I love most because CLS decided to give me a chance and allow me to work with them while I am able.”