By: Lyndsay Lujan, President Elect 2021-2022
As MSJDN enters its second decade, the organization is celebrating significant progress for military spouses in the legal profession. MSJDN’s 2021 survey results give a snapshot of just how far we’ve come and the work still to be done.
Since our founding in 2011, MSJDN has been a leader among military family organizations in advocating for licensing accommodations for military spouse attorneys and educating communities on the value of working military spouses. Supporting military spouse employment not only improves the lives of military families – military spouses able to obtain employment and maintain their careers increases the readiness and retention of the Armed Forces.
Today, more military spouse attorneys are able to practice law, due in part to MSJDN’s decade of advocacy. Thirty percent of survey respondents have now had the opportunity to use a military spouse reciprocity rule to practice law. In 2013, only 42% of respondents were employed in a position requiring a law license; in 2021, that number has soared to 75%
Despite MSJDN’s progress, barriers to employment and maintaining legal careers remain.
· Half of MSJDN’s survey respondents still report that they have lived separately from their service member spouse in order to maintain a legal career.
· The majority of military spouse attorneys still earn below the national median attorney salary.
· Military spouse attorney law school debt has increased, with over half of respondents indicating that they finished law school over $100,000 in debt. Sixty-five percent of respondents reported that they still have outstanding debt with one third having a current balance of $100,000 or more.
MSJDN is committed to continuing to advocate for military spouses and their families. Thank you for your support as we enter our next decade of service!