This Veterans Day, I am thrilled to announce a partnership between MSJDN and the Veteran’s Legal Advocacy Group (VetLAG) to create a unique legal fellowship program exclusively available to military spouses stationed abroad – the Military Spouses Representing Vets Fellowship.
This Fellowship was born when VetLAG, a non-profit law firm dedicated to representing clients in veterans claims, was seeking temporary help for its growing practice. Founder Harold (Butch) Hoffman, a Marine veteran and military spouse, thought of MSJDN in order to create opportunities for military spouse attorneys.
After our initial conversation, Butch and I wondered whether there was an opportunity for our organizations to collaborate and create a meaningful employment opportunity for military spouses with almost no access to employment – military spouses overseas. MEANINGFUL employment opportunities – not temporary work and not underpaid work, but an opportunity for a military spouse to launch their career in veterans’ advocacy.
As the fellowship took form, Butch and I discussed military spouse employment and its importance to the identity of many military spouse attorneys. We discussed how frustrating it has been for both of us to find meaningful employment opportunities as we both were moving from state to state with our spouses—issues compounded for those stationed overseas.
The Military Spouses Representing Veterans Fellowship is a salaried, full-time two-year fellowship open to two new candidates each year. Fellows will represent veterans before the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims and the Board of Veterans’ Appeals. Fellows will also create educational materials for the veterans’ advocacy community and future fellows. Additionally, fellows will be invited to participate in networking events with leaders in the veterans’ advocacy community.
VetLAG has already selected the first two fellows and I am looking forward to sharing their accomplishments with you all soon. The Military Spouses Representing Veterans Fellowship exists today due to the generous financial support of VetLAG and Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP. MSJDNers are also welcome to support this project; please donate at msjdn.org/donate with a notation that you would like your contribution to go toward the Military Spouses Representing Veterans Fellowship.
Lyndsay Maier Lujan