State Licensing Efforts

When military spouse attorneys move across state lines or leave the United States with their spouse, they face a complicated licensing regime. MSJDN advocates for licensing reciprocity to allow military spouse attorneys to practice law in their new home without taking another bar exam. Because each state supreme court and bar association sets its own rules regarding bar admission, we have adopted a state-by-state approach to our advocacy efforts. 

Our efforts are supported by the American Bar Association, the Conference of Chief Justices, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Military Officers Association of America, the National Military Family Association, and many other organizations that support military families.

MSJDN has drafted a Model Rule to assist jurisdictions interested in supporting military families. When adopted, the rule allows military spouse attorneys to practice in their new jurisdiction if they are present due to their spouse’s military orders and maintain a license in good standing in another state.

Email statelicensing@msjdn.org with any questions or to become involved in our ongoing efforts!

History of MSJDN’s Licensing Efforts

The ABA takes a look back at Resolution 108, celebrating the impact of military spouse reciprocity over the past ten years!

  In February 2012, with the support of the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession, the ABA House of Delegates adopted a ABA Resolution 108 (2012) supporting changes in state licensing rules for military spouses with law degrees.

In April 2012, Idaho became the first state to approve a military spouse licensing accommodation.

Then in July 2012, the Conference of Chief Justices voted to support a resolution for admission of military spouse attorneys without examination. You can read the resolution here, which was accompanied by a detailed report drafted by MSJDN.

December 2012 saw the second state, Arizona, adopt a licensing rule specifically addressed the challenges faced by military spouse attorneys. Since then, other states have joined in the efforts to reduce barriers to employment for military spouses in the legal profession.

In the years since, MSJDN has seen more than 40 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands pass common sense license reciprocity rules for military spouse attorneys. Our efforts continue as we work to reach all 50 states. MSJDN has also begun to petition the nine states which passed license reciprocity for military spouses but included harmful supervision requirements which have rendered the rules unduly burdensome and ineffective in practice.

Email statelicensing@msjdn.org to learn how you and your organization can help support licensing accommodations for military spouse attorneys in your state!

Licensing Changes

June 16, 2021: New Hampshire
New Hampshire Reduces Licensing Barriers for Military Spouse Attorneys

Oct. 15, 2020: Rhode Island
Rhode Island Supreme Court Adopts Military Spouse Admission Rule

Jan. 30, 2020: Alabama
Supreme Court of Alabama Adopts a Military Spouse Rule

Sept. 24, 2019: Delaware
Supreme Court of Delaware Reduces Barriers for Milspouse Attorneys

June 6, 2019: Washington
Supreme Court of Washington Orders Military Spouse Attorney Licensing Rule

March 7, 2019: Arkansas
Arkansas Adopts Military Spouse Attorney Licensing Rule

March 7, 2019: Utah
Utah Passes Military Spouse Law Licensing Accommodation

March 1, 2019: California
Military Spouse Attorney Admission Adopted in California

January 29, 2019: Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania Supreme Court Adopts Military Spouse Licensing Rule

October 1, 2018: Wyoming
Wyoming Enacts Military Spouse Law Licensing Accommodation

September 5, 2018: Missouri
Show Me State Shows Support for Military Families with Licensing Change

July 19, 2018: Florida
Florida Admissions Rule Supports Military Spouse Attorneys

March 21, 2018: Nevada
Nevada Becomes 30th Jurisdiction to Adopt Military Spouse Attorney Licensing Accommodation

March 14, 2018: Nebraska
Nebraska Amends Licensing Rules in Support of Military Spouse Attorneys

February 9, 2018: Hawai’i
Hawai’i Adopts New Military Spouse Attorney Licensing Rule

June 23, 2017: Connecticut
Connecticut Enacts Rule Reducing Barriers to Practice for Military Spouse Attorneys

June 5, 2017: Ohio
Ohio Becomes Milestone 25th State to Adopt Military Spouse Licensing 

March 20, 2017: Alaska
Alaska Adopts Military Spouse Law Licensure Rule 

January 4, 2017: Michigan
Michigan Enacts Military Spouse Law Licensing Rule Into State Law

October 25, 2016: West Virginia
West Virginia Becomes 23rd Jurisdiction to Adopt Military Spouse Law Licensing Rule

October 12, 2016: Georgia
Georgia Reduces Licensing Barriers for Military Spouse Attorneys

October 1, 2016: North Dakota
North Dakota Supreme Court Adopts Military Spouse Law Licensure Rule

September 2, 2016: Kansas
Kansas Becomes 20th Jurisdiction to Adopt Military Spouse Licensing Rule

April 20, 2016: South Carolina
MSJDN Efforts Succeed in South Carolina

March 1, 2016: Oregon
Military Spouse Attorney Licensing Rule Goes in to Effect in Oregon

December 22, 2015: Tennessee
Tennessee Supreme Court Approves Military Spouse Law Licensing

November 23, 2015: Kentucky
Kentucky Thanks Military Families with New Rule Easing Licensing Burden

September 17, 2015: Maryland
Maryland is 15th Jurisdiction to Adopt Military Spouse Attorney Licensing Accommodation

August 17, 2015: Indiana
New Military Spouse Attorney Licensing Rule Enacted in Indiana

April 29, 2015: U.S. Virgin Islands
U.S. Virgin Islands Adopt Military Spouse Attorney Licensing Rule

December 15, 2014: Oklahoma
Oklahoma Becomes 12th State to Adopt Military Spouse Attorney Licensing Policy

August 4, 2014: New York
11th State Adopts Military Spouse Attorney Licensing Policy

July 25, 2014: New Jersey
New Military Spouse Rule Adopted in New Jersey

June 24, 2014: Colorado
Colorado Becomes Ninth State to Support Military Spouse Attorneys with a Licensing Accommodation

June 12, 2014: Massachusetts
Massachusetts Becomes Second State to Voluntarily Enact Military Spouse Attorney Licensing Policy

May 18, 2014: Virginia
Virginia Adopts Military Spouse Rule, Joins Growing Number of States Supporting Military Spouse Attorneys

Sept. 12, 2013: South Dakota
South Dakota Becomes Sixth State to Adopt a Military Spouse Attorney Rule

June 18, 2013: Illinois
Illinois Becomes Fifth State to Support Military Spouses in the Legal Profession

April 12, 2013: North Carolina
MSJDN Reform Efforts Succeed in Fourth State

February, 2013: Texas
Texas Becomes First State to Initiate Recognition of Attorney Military Spouses and their Service

December 18, 2012: Arizona
Arizona Supreme Court Recognizes Service of Military Spouse Attorneys

April 18, 2012: Idaho
First State Approves Military Spouse Attorney Admission