It is my great honor to serve as the President of the Military Spouse JD Network for the 2017-2018 year. Since joining MSJDN in 2012, I’ve been fortunate to meet many amazing military spouse attorneys with compelling stories of leaning in and overcoming challenges to make military life and the legal profession work for them. These stories are an endless source of inspiration and encouragement to me, both personally and as the leader of this organization.
I’d like to especially thank my predecessors for laying a solid foundation for MSJDN’s continued growth. This organization is still young and developing at an astounding rate each year, but thanks to the dedication of volunteers over the past five years, it has afforded me incredible opportunities already: I’ve made good friends and build a network of support; I’ve been mentored and mentored others; I found my current job through MSJDN and the Veterans’ Legal Career Fair; and I’ve had the chance to build my professional writing, speaking, and advocacy skills representing military spouse attorneys on the national stage. And I know I’m not the only one who has benefited from MSJDN’s efforts. I hear often from many of you how much this organization means to you and how it has helped you on your journeys. I hope each of you will use MSJDN to your advantage – fill a resumé gap with a professional volunteer opportunity, connect with your tribe, waive in under a milspouse attorney license, find a job, hire a milspouse attorney – there are SO many ways to utilize this organization for your benefit. We have a terrific team of leaders this year, working hard on numerous projects to support you, as well as our greater military and legal communities.
Membership: Under the leadership of Dawn Gile, the Membership Committee will continue to build resources to support our members through a variety of programs, including webinars, discounts, and member outreach. Thanks to the committee’s volunteers, new discounts have recently been added for MSJDN members. The committee is also dedicated this year to building targeted resources for our law student members, often facing difficult decisions on where to take the bar exam and how to begin a career as a military spouse attorney.
State Licensing: Karen Scanlan continues her advocacy as State Licensing Director, overseeing the rule change initiatives across the 50 states. Karen and her team’s focus this year will be on the states with efforts underway, including Hawaii, Missouri, Washington, Utah, New Mexico, Nevada, and many others. The committee will also be recognizing past successes and working to support the existing licensing accommodations.
Homefront to Hired: Previously a sub-committee of Membership, Homefront to Hired is now a stand-alone committee under Alex Spisak’s leadership. MSJDN is committed to supporting our members in the job search and has dedicated funds from the Newman’s Own grant to support the H2H program. Goals this year include developing the program’s partnership opportunities, creating outreach materials, establishing protocols for regular job updates, and identifying regional partners.
Events: Also previously a sub-committee of Membership, the Events Committee, with Allison Chersicla in the lead, is now dedicated to planning opportunities for MSJDN members to connect with each other, as well as supporters, employers, and the greater military and legal communities. The annual MSJDN survey tells us that the #1 reason members join is to connect with other military spouse attorneys. This committee is here to make that happen, from informal gatherings to professional development opportunities. Planning for MSJDN’s professional development conference, Making the Right Moves, is already underway and expanding for the first time ever to cover a two day period to offer plenty of time for networking and connecting!
Pro Bono: The Pro Bono Committee, under the leadership of Tricia Petek, oversees the Justice for Military Families (JMF) program, connecting military families in need of legal assistance with help from military spouse attorneys and our network. The committee does incredible work on a daily basis through a partnership with the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS). This year, they are working to expand JMF to additional partnerships, as well as standing up a Military Spouse Club project to support military spouse organizations with nonprofit governance and compliance support.
Communications: Communications Director Johanna Thibault and her team of volunteers work tirelessly to keep members, supporters, and the public updated with the latest MSJDN news. Check out our blog and many social media channels, as well as our media outreach efforts. This year, the committee is working to update our media and social media policies and continuing to build a team to oversee the many communications needs of the organization.
Finance: Treasurer Alyn Beauregard and Treasurer-Elect Kelly Scrocca are tasked with leading our organization’s financial well-being. Their goals this year include continuing transparent communication of the financial state of MSJDN and MSJDNF, improving our existing administrative structure, and identifying and applying to grants to continue to fund our organizational goals.
Governance: Erin Noble leads the Governance Committee, guiding the organization’s compliance and future viability efforts. The committee’s focus this year includes working with other committees to complete financial registrations and updates to communication policies, as well as meeting annual filing requirements for the Network and Foundation.
As you can see from the above, MSJDN’s volunteers are already hard at work for the 2017-2018 term, focused on our mission: advocating for licensing accommodations for military spouse attorneys; educating the public about the challenges faced by career-minded military spouses and their families; encouraging the hiring of military spouses; and providing a network connecting military spouse attorneys with each other and their supporters.
We encourage you to get involved to make MSJDN work for you! Attend a webinar, plan a get together near you, join in the conversation in our private Facebook group, or reach out to the Board at firstname.lastname@example.org to tell us how we can continue to improve. We’re here to help you make it work as a military spouse attorney!
Libby Jamison, email@example.com