Dear MSJDN Members,

From rolling out our first annual dues payment to Homefront Rising Tampa to leadership strategic planning and MSJDN Founder celebrations all across the country – MSJDN has had a busy summer.

As you know, we have made an incredible amount progress over the past few years, but there is more work to do. We need to implement the ideas of our members – those benefits and services that make paying dues even more worthwhile. We are building out our website to provide better support for our programs and events. Our foundation is growing, and our pro-bono program is a success and will continue to bring opportunities for our members to gain legal experience while supporting an important part of our military community. I’m also excited about the outline bank, moot court, discounted CLEs, more members spotlights in our communications, and all the ideas to come.

We need your help to stay successful and become an even better organization – please join our committees, volunteer your time doing pro-bono work for Justice for Military Families or through the Veterans’ Claims Assistance Network, work on a rule change effort in your state, or coordinate MSJDN happy-hours in your community.

During our leadership strategic planning session, we talked about how to make MSJDN more transparent and accessible for our members, our community partners, and the public. We also talked about the long-term vision of our organization, and the infrastructure strengthening that needs to happen to ensure our structural integrity and success now and in the future.

Last week, MSJDN represented at the ABA Annual Meeting. I joined other Bar Presidents from state, local, city, and diversity bar associations at the National Conference of Bar President’s Annual Meeting which coincides every year at the ABA Annual Meeting. It was inspiring to hear from legal leaders  representing communities across the country. but the most meaningful part of my experience was hearing about the issues they are facing and the way those issues are addressed. Consistently, Bar leaders were concerned about how they could better engage membership, particularly younger members, so that they get involved and stay engaged. Board Member Erin Henessey, who serves as MSJDN’s liaison to the ABA Commission on Women, represented us at events with some of the leading lady legal warriors from around the country. We are excited to share about the interesting initiatives and the many opportunities to partner – so stay on the look out for more to come. 

In October, we will be hosting Making the Right Moves 2014 in San Diego, California at the Thomas Jefferson School of Law’s Center for Women in the Military. The day will focus on professional development including panel sessions on being a more effective communicator, engaging in the political process in your community, and the steps that lead to the bench. This will be our first event on the West Coast, and I am thrilled that it will be taking place in San Diego, where we have a large number of very active members. I hope to see many of you there. Save the date – October 17, 2014 – and check out our events page for more information.


Questions, comments, feedback or advice? I welcome it, so please email me your thoughts:

Thank you for your service, your family’s service, and all that you do to support the legal profession and our military community.


Rachel Winkler, MSJDN President