Editor’s Note: MSJDN asked its members to help us spotlight employers going above and beyond for military spouse attorneys. Each employer in this series was nominated for the 2017 MSJDN Members’ Choice Award by members who told us in their own words about the awesomeness of their employers. MSJDN is thrilled to tell these stories as a way of expressing our gratitude for employers supporting military spouses as they build careers in the legal profession.

The MSJDN Members’ Choice Award recipient will be announced at MSJDN’s Annual Reception in Washington, D.C. on May 10th.

by Kulia Petzoldt

Supporting veterans is a cause that many military spouses feel strongly about, having seen up-close the professional sacrifices and achievements in our own families.  For some military spouse attorneys, merging legal skills and cultural competencies leads to a career that encompasses not only law, but also supporting those who have served.  Attorney and military spouse Libby Jamison nominated the Department of Veterans Affairs, Board of Veterans’ Appeals for a Members’ Choice Award because “of the mission of supporting veterans, and how their hiring and workplace policies supplement that mission, making it an excellent professional opportunity for military spouse attorneys.”

The Board of Veterans’ Appeals shows its support for military spouses in the workforce through several initiatives to hire and encourage the continued professional development of military spouses.  The Board has hired numerous military spouses over the years, including though its involvement in last year’s second annual Veterans Legal Career Fair.  Several MSJDN members have come on board in just the last few months, adding to the many military family members already employed by the VA.  These recent workforce increases recognize the unique skill set of military spouse attorneys and embrace them as part of the team at the Board.

In addition to hiring, the Board of Veterans’ Appeals has put in place remote work policies that directly benefit military spouse attorneys.  For example, after one year of employment, flexible telecommuting schedules allow attorneys balancing their own career with that of their service member an ability to achieve professionally.  After two years of employment, the possibility of remote work allows attorneys to consider moving with a spouse who receives PCS orders outside of the National Capital Region, while still maintaining a meaningful legal career.  These critical programs, available to all attorneys at the Board, are particularly appealing to attorneys married to service members.

Instead of assuming that military spouse attorneys must trade-in career progression for family stability, the Board of Veterans’ Appeals promotes military spouse attorneys as valuable members of the team with bright professional futures.  As Libby Jamison said in her nomination, the Board “has done great work to embrace military spouse attorneys, and the VA as a whole is a wonderful employment opportunity for military spouse attorneys who understand both the legal and military realms.”

MSJDN is pleased to recognize the well-deserved nomination of the Board of Veterans’ Appeals for the 2017 Members’ Choice Award!

Find out the recipient of the MSJDN Members’ Choice Award at the 2017 Annual Reception in Washington, D.C. on May 10th. Tickets and information available here