In February 2020, MSJDN filed a petition to amend Virginia’s military spouse admission rule to remove the requirement that all military spouse applicants practice under the direction and supervision of a local attorney. With the support of the Virginia State Bar and many public commenters, the petition was forwarded to the Virginia Supreme Court. MSJDN was surprised and dismayed to learn in late November that the Court has put forward its own proposed rule 1A:8, which would retain the supervision requirement unless a military spouse applicant can demonstrate five years of cumulative law practice experience.

The Court now seeks comments from the public regarding its proposed rule, including the amended supervision requirement. We need your help again to let Virginia know that the proposed rule simply doesn’t serve the needs of military families and won’t serve the interests of Virginians!

Of the 41 U.S. jurisdictions which have passed military spouse admission rules, only 9 include supervision requirements, with Virginia’s being one of the most cumbersome. MSJDN has heard from potential applicants and employers alike that the Virginia supervision requirement is simply untenable. Though Virginia has the third highest military population in the country, only about a dozen military spouses have used Virginia’s military spouse admission rule in the six years since it was adopted.

How can you help? 

Please send a comment to the Supreme Court of Virginia no later than February 22, 2021.

  • Comments should be addressed to Douglas B. Robelen, Clerk Supreme Court of Virginia, via email ( with the subject line “Comment on Rule lA:8.”

You may incorporate MSJDN’s proposed language and share your own thoughts and experiences.

  • Barred in Virginia? Please include your status as a member of the Virginia State Bar along with your support for the rule without the supervision requirement.
  • Living in Virginia? Share your story as a military spouse attorney and how a rule without supervision would help you.
  • Ties to Virginia? Please share this story with your contacts and ask them to submit a comment in support of the rule without the supervision clause. Every member of the public is invited to weigh in.
  • Didn’t waive in elsewhere because of a supervision requirement? Please share this with the Court to let them know that supervision serves as a barrier, nullifying the benefits of the rule.
  • Practicing elsewhere on a military spouse attorney licensee? If you are practicing on a military spouse license in another state without supervision and your employer would be willing to submit a comment about how awesome you are and the lack of need for supervision, we have a sample letter for your reference.

Share this story with your network using the buttons below and ask them to submit a comment in support of removing the supervision requirement.