Effective January 1, 2019, military spouse attorneys accompanying a service member on orders to Missouri will be able to apply for temporary admission without examination to the Missouri Bar pursuant to the newly adopted subdivision 8.106 of Rule 8 of the Regulations of Board of Law Examiners.
In its Order dated September 5, 2018, the Missouri Supreme Court recognized that the choice frequently faced by military spouse attorneys to give up the practice of law to accompany the service member to Missouri or to continue to practice law and remain in the jurisdiction where he/she is licensed is an untenable position.
Military spouse attorneys seeking admission under the new Rule 8.106 must meet the eligibility requirements set forth in the rule, pay a fee set by the Missouri Board of Bar Examiners, and establish satisfactory character and fitness qualifications. The applicant must complete the Missouri Educational Component Test within six months after notification of character and fitness approval.
In 2016, MSJDN’s Missouri Team, led by Sarah Kuehnel and including Karen Scanlan, Josie Beets, and Katherine Lee Goyette engaged the Missouri Bar to discuss the possibility of a military spouse admission rule in the Show-Me State. Quickly, with the help of Eric Todd (Ogletree Deakins), Sebrina Barrett (Missouri Bar), and Andrea Spillars (Missouri Board of Bar Examiners) the team gained the support of the Bar. The state swiftly lived up to its nickname, showing their interest was more than talk: by early 2017 the Bar’s Veterans and Military Law Committee had reviewed the MSJDN Model Rule and endorsed the Missouri rule change. By early 2018, the Missouri Bar’s executive committee brought the rule change to the Board of Law Examiners and the Supreme Court. The Missouri Bar and Board of Law Examiners then worked to bring a proposal to the Supreme Court in June, and the Court acted expeditiously to adopt the rule change within three months.
This important change in support of military families was achieved with the enthusiasm of Sarah Kuehnel and Eric Todd, along with the Board of Bar Examiners, the Missouri Bar, the Bar’s Veterans and Military Law Committee, and former Missouri Bar President Patrick Starke.
“Military spouses relocating to Missouri can now continue a legal career while serving alongside their service member,” said Military Spouse JD Network President Katherine Goyette. “This new rule is a common sense solution and meaningful change that reduces a significant burden for military families.”
Find out more about MSJDN’s state licensing efforts here.