The Military Spouse JD Network is an international network of legal professionals improving the lives of military families. We advocate for licensing accommodations for military spouses, including bar membership without additional examination.
Justice for Military Families: Pro Bono for Military Families by Military Families
The Justice for Military Families (JMF) team has been busy in recent weeks. As I finish my tenure as Pro Bono Director and turn over the position to the talented Megan Kelley Howard, I would like to recognize the following individuals for their time and assistance with JMF projects:
Bobbie Collins and Candice McPhilllips are in the final stages of drafting the MilSpouse Club Info Guide, and will host a webinar discussing their work in coming months. I’m so proud and inspired by their dedication to this project, and cannot wait until the final draft is ready to distribution.
New Pro Bono Director and Intake Coordinator Megan Kelley Howard represented JMF and MSJDN during the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) regional seminar for survivors in Colorado Springs, CO at the end of March. We received several cases at this event and are actively working to place them.
MSJDN Past President Eleanor Vuono, MSJDN President Elect Dawn Gile, Sanya Sarich Kerksiek, and Jaimie Ninan represented JMF at the TAPS’ annual National Military Survivor Seminar and Good Grief Camp in Arlington, VA during the Memorial Day weekend. This event yielded a number of cases that JMF is working to place with pro bono attorneys. If you or someone you know are interested in volunteering as a pro bono attorney for the cases from the Colorado and/or DC TAPS events, please contact the Pro Bono Director at JMF@MSJDN.org.
On May 22nd, Megan Kelley Howard and Amanda Braun remotely participated in a Wills for Heroes event that took place in Tampa, Florida. Volunteer attorneys prepared wills and advance directives to service members, veterans, and first responders both remotely and in person. Thank you to Megan and Amanda for your time and assistance at this event!
It’s been an honor to serve as the Pro Director for Justice for Military Families for the last two years. I’m excited to continue as a volunteer with JMF, and look forward to the energy and dedication that Megan brings as Director. To join us by volunteering your time and talents to any of the JMF projects, please contact Megan at email@example.com.
On June 6, 2019, the Supreme Court of Washington issued an order amending Admission and Practice Rules (APR) 3 to create a pathway to practice law for attorney spouses of active duty military personnel stationed in the state. The amendment goes into effect on September 1, 2019.
This new licensing option is available for attorneys already licensed in another U.S. state, territory, or the District of Columbia, and who reside or intend within the next six months to reside in Washington as a spouse of a member of the United States Uniformed Services. Applicants are eligible for this option only if they do not qualify for other methods of admission by motion under APR 3. There is no time limit under this rule; military spouse attorneys are permanently admitted to the Bar with full rights and privileges alongside their peers.
“I’m incredibly proud of the newest military spouse attorney licensing rule,” said past MSJDN President Libby Jamison, who led the rule change efforts in Washington. “As a Washington resident and Bar member, I’m thrilled that my home state is committed to supporting military spouses in the workforce.”
With this amendment, Washington becomes the 38th jurisdiction to enact a licensing accommodation for military spouse attorneys. Once the order is processed by the Reporter of Decisions and the publication editor, it will be posted on the Supreme Court’s website under the “Rules Adopted but not Yet Effective” page.
“This amendment to APR 3 is a practical solution that reduces a significant burden for military families,” said Military Spouse JD Network (MSJDN) President Karen Scanlan. “After many years of hard work by the MSJDN state licensing committee, military spouse attorneys can now continue a legal career while serving alongside their servicemember in Washington.”
After advocating within the Washington legal community for many years, MSJDN approached the Court directly in Fall 2018 to put forward a proposed amendment. MSJDN thanks the Supreme Court of Washington for their swift action on the proposal in support of career-minded military spouses. MSJDN is also grateful to the many supporters of this rule change, including Washington Women Lawyers and Bill Hayden, a Navy veteran and Microsoft attorney.
Questions about MSJDN’s licensing advocacy efforts? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
I began my journey with MSJDN in 2011 after reading about two women in search of attorneys married to service members in my law school’s newsletter. At that point, MSJDN was a group on Facebook looking for people with shared personal and professional experiences. It is now 2019 and the organization has grown to become a leading professional organization supporting professional military spouses as they navigate the career field and the military life experience. I am humbled and honored to be leading this dynamic organization as it continues to shape the landscape into the coming year.
The focus for this coming year is to build the way forward. As an organization, MSJDN is unique because it is an example of professional military spouses coming together and changing the face and the perception of today’s military spouse. In the legal community, MSJDN continues to enjoy a healthy membership base and to provide quality programs to enrich the lives of its own community. On a broader scale, MSJDN members advocate for other professional military spouses in organizations such as NMFA, MFAN, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Hiring Our Heroes program.
As we look towards the coming MSJDN year, I would like to thank those members of the Board who have completed their service. Namely, Libby Jamison (Past President), Kelley Scrocca (Treasurer), Allison Chersicla (Events), Alex Spisak (Homefront to Hired), Tricia Petek (Pro Bono), and Leslie Walter (At-Large). Each of you have contributed significantly towards the future of MSJDN through the development of your respective committees and projects – for that we are incredibly grateful.
MSJDN operates as an all-volunteer organization on all levels – from the committees up to and including the Board. Our shared passion for advocacy makes MSJDN an exceptional model in the military spouse professional space to reduce licensing barriers, create meaningful opportunities, and provide a space for fellowship as we maneuver all aspects of the military lifestyle. The incoming 2019-2020 Board promises to be dedicated and committed to MSJDN’s mission. I am excited and eager to begin our work!
MSJDN members often encounter licensing difficulties throughout their careers. Most federal government attorneys are only required to be licensed and in good standing in any state, not the specific state where the office is located. Attorney positions with the federal government are therefore a good employment option for military spouse attorneys seeking employment as they move across licensing jurisdictions.
MSJDN spoke with Lyndsay Maier Lujan, an attorney with the Army’s Office of The Judge Advocate General, about employment opportunities that the Army JAG Corps offers military spouse attorneys.
Q: What is the Army JAG Corps’ Military Spouse Attorney Hiring Program?
A: Our Military Spouse Attorney Hiring Program utilizes excepted service hiring flexibilities to hire military spouse attorneys into vacant positions throughout the Army JAG Corps. The appointments are usually time-limited appointments and last 1 or 2 years.
Q: Who can be hired through the program?
A: The Program is open to all military spouse attorneys. If you are an attorney whose spouse is active duty in any branch, in any occupational specialty, you are eligible to be hired through the program.
Q: How can an attorney spouse register for the Hiring Program?
A: Send your resume and current orders to me at email@example.com. If your resume matches the requirements for a vacant position near your spouse’s duty station, you may be contacted for an interview.
Q: How successful is the Army JAG Corps’ Military Spouse Attorney Hiring Program?
A: The Program was created in 2014. To date, the Program has offered employment to over 180 military spouse attorneys throughout the world. In fiscal year 2018, the Program offered employment to 46 attorneys and has already offered employment to 15 military spouse attorneys this fiscal year.
Q: What are the most common barriers to spouse attorney employment in the Army?
A: There are two barriers I often see spouse attorneys facing when seeking employment within the Army. The first barrier is subject matter expertise. Spouse attorneys often do not have the Army subject matter expertise in Army core legal areas such as administrative law, labor and employment law, or client services. The second barrier I see is the number of vacancies per installation. There may not be a vacancy at an installation while the spouse attorney is living in the area.
Q: What advice do you have for military spouse attorneys seeking employment in the Army?
A: If you can, volunteer in an Army JAG Client Services Office. This will allow you to earn practice time while gaining subject matter expertise in client services. Other benefits include learning about the Army and developing professional relationships that may be able to help you gain employment in the future.
Q: What are some resources spouses can access to help them familiarize themselves with the Army or Army processes?
A: I would recommend [Army Regulations] AR 25-50, AR 27-1, and AR 27-3. These documents will help you to build a foundation of knowledge about the Army’s Legal Services. Additionally, if you are interested in a particular practice area, contact me and I can direct you to more resources.
MSJDN thanks Lyndsay Maier Lujan for this helpful insight into the Army JAG Corps’ Military Spouse Attorney Hiring Program!
The Military Spouse JD Network is a volunteer-run organization dedicated to supporting military families in the legal profession. An active Board of Directors oversees all of MSJDN’s programs and engagements that are then put into action by our committee leadership. Our Board and Committee volunteers work hard to keep the organization moving forward, meeting the needs of our members, and improving the lives of military families. MSJDN is very pleased to introduce our new leadership for the 2019-2020 year!
President: Karen Scanlan
Karen is an attorney licensed in Illinois and is a native of Chicago. She is married to a (retired) Army Simulations Officer. Before becoming an Army wife, Karen practiced law with several small firms in and around Chicago. Karen has been involved with MSJDN since 2011 and is committed to its mission of improving the lives of military spouses in the legal profession. Most recently, Karen has served as the Co-State Director for Florida for MSJDN’s State Licensing Committee, overseeing the efforts to enact a military spouse attorney licensing rule in the Sunshine State. Most recently, Karen served as the State Licensing Director for the MSJDN Board, managing the MSJDN licensing initiative nationwide. She is also past board member with the National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations, serving as Co-Chair of the Awards Committee (2017-2018). Karen and her husband cheer on the Chicago Cubs from their Virginia home with their four sons.
President-Elect: Dawn Gile
Dawn Gile has been a member of MSJDN since 2012 and most recently served as Membership Director. She also served on the Justice for Military Families committee, the pro bono initiative of the Military Spouse JD Network Foundation. Dawn has been in private practice for approximately eleven years and is presently a partner with MacDonald Law Group, LLC, where her practice focuses on complex civil litigation, toxic torts, and insurance defense. She is the proud spouse of an Army soldier, with whom she has two daughters. Originally from Illinois, she and her family now reside in Maryland. Dawn also volunteers her time by serving as a director on the Rockford University alumni association board. In addition, she serves as the leader of her husband’s unit’s family readiness group. Dawn is admitted to practice law in Illinois, Maryland, and the District of Columbia.
Immediate Past President: Katherine Lee Goyette
Katherine Lee Goyette is an Associate Attorney at Fendley & Etson in Clarksville, Tennessee, practicing in the areas of criminal defense, family law, estates & trusts, and personal injury. Formerly, she prosecuted in southern Colorado as a Deputy District Attorney under a military spouse law license. Prior to that, Katherine worked as a legislative attorney for the Kansas Legislature for five years. Katherine has served as co-chair of the Diversity Committee of the Kansas Bar Association and is actively involved with MSJDN, having previously served on the board as Treasurer and helping with rule change efforts in Kansas, West Virginia, and New Mexico. In 2016, Katherine was awarded the A Community Organization for Victim Assistance Certificate of Appreciation for Outstanding Service on Behalf of Crime Victims and also named as the AFI Military Spouse of the Year Fort Carson. She married an Army field artilleryman, and is licensed in Kansas, D.C., SCOTUS, formerly Colorado, and Tennessee.
Treasurer: Kirsten Jones
Kristen Jones is a graduate of Dartmouth College and George Mason University Law School. She has been in private practice in four states and served as an Assistant Attorney General for the Wyoming Office of the Attorney General and as a Judicial Law Clerk for Fairfax Circuit Court, Virginia–good thing she loves to travel. Kristen lives in Dayton, Ohio, with her Air Force family, where she recently completed Master Recycler and Composting courses through the amazing MetroPark system.
Treasurer Elect: Sara Morgan
Sara practices commercial litigation at a firm in Nashville and works closely with a variety of companies, including hospitals and healthcare providers, on a range of litigation matters related to healthcare fraud and abuse, products liability, and general business litigation matters. Sara has been involved with MSJDN since 2017 and has previously assisted with the Homefront to Hired initiative. Currently, Sara and her husband are stationed at Fort Campbell, where they have been very lucky to have been stationed since 2013. Outside of work, Sara and her husband enjoy seeing concerts and trying all of Nashville’s newest restaurants.
Brooke is an attorney currently licensed in Florida, with a license pending in Kansas thanks to the recent rule changes in the Sunflower State. She was sworn into the United States Supreme Court in October 2017. Brooke was involved with the rule change efforts in Kansas early on, and it was during that time that she developed a deeper desire to serve MSJDN and the attorneys and families it impacts as much as she could. She has been a member of the Communications and Finance Committees for MSJDN. Brooke also volunteers as an advisor for the local Kappa Delta chapter at Kansas State University. She is married to an Army infantryman and has a toddler daughter, making the balancing act of military spouse life an interesting task at times. Brooke has a background in litigation, immigration, and dependency, but is excitedly expanding her knowledge base to include estate planning, commercial transactions, and property law. Brooke is a graduate of the University of North Florida and Stetson University College of Law.
Communications Director: Maria Campbell
Maria is a litigation attorney for Bone McAllester Norton PLLC in Nashville, Tennessee. She strives to do good work for her clients and the community. This California native received her undergraduate degree from the University of Southern California and her juris doctor from Loyola Law School, Los Angeles. She previously worked for the firms DLA Piper and Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud & Romo. Maria left her Southern California roots for the first time last year to follow her husband who is a captain in the Army and a West Point graduate. They are currently stationed at Ft. Campbell and live in Clarksville, TN. Maria was one of the first to take advantage of Tennessee’s Military Spouse Licensing Law, enacted in early 2016, which grants a Tennessee law license to military spouses who are licensed in another state.
Community and Events Director: Michelle Richart
Michelle is a native of Nebraska and a proud Cornhusker. She is a graduate of the University of Nebraska College of Law and is licensed in the State of Texas. Michelle works as corporate counsel for a software company and also practices immigration law, leveraging technology to work remotely for nearly a decade. Michelle was recently selected to become a member of the Air Force Reserves JAG Corp and is looking forward to a new challenge and serving in another capacity. She is a fierce advocate for military spouses and helped pass licensing accommodations for military spouse attorneys in Nevada in 2018. Michelle’s husband is a pilot in the Air Force and they are currently based at the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. Together they have two children, Piper and Pierce. In her free time, Michelle enjoys traveling, yoga, and roller derby.
Homefront to Hired Director: Mariya Volzhskaya
Mariya is an attorney in a federal agency where her work involves government-trusteed pension funds and ERISA regulations. She graduated from Georgia State University in 2005 and Tulane Law School in 2012. Mariya began her legal career as a civil litigator in Chicago and moved on to launching her own education and family advocacy practice after a PCS to Rota, Spain. Now in Washington, DC, Mariya is relishing returning to full time employment in a real office. From the beginning of her professional career, MSJDN has been a rich resource of professional support and connection and Mariya is thrilled to be serving her fellow military spouse attorneys as the Homefront to Hired director. Originally from Russia, Mariya has lived and traveled throughout Europe and Asia, is married to a Navy JAG, and has two kids. Her hobbies include cooking, working with yarn, and ballroom dance.
Membership Director: Maureen Lavery
Maureen Lavery graduated from the University of San Diego School of Law and has worked at Littler Mendelson, P.C. as Knowledge Management Counsel since 2013. Littler is a national law firm specializing in labor and employment law, and was the 2018 recipient of the MSJDN Members’ Choice Award for the firm’s support of military spouse attorneys in the workplace. Maureen is a native of San Diego, California and the spouse of an active duty Navy explosive ordnance disposal officer, and has lived on three continents and completed eight PCS moves since getting married in 2006. Maureen currently lives in Memphis, Tennessee with her husband and three kids, and will PCS to parts unknown sometime in 2020. She has been involved with MSJDN since 2011 and is passionate about networking with other military spouse attorneys, helping connect them with potential professional opportunities, and sharing advice and experience on finding portable employment. In her free time, Maureen enjoys Orangetheory Fitness, watching her kids play sports, and online shopping.
Pro Bono Director: Megan Kelley Howard
Megan is an alumni of the University of Georgia and Florida Coastal School of Law in Jacksonville and is licensed to practice law in Florida (since 2014), Georgia (since 2016), and now Colorado (2019) under Military Spouse Licensure. She is a former prosecutor and journalist for Ms. JD. She currently resides in Colorado Springs with her husband and their two Bullmastiffs. In her spare time, Megan enjoys volunteering, working with animals, and spending time outdoors with her husband.
State Licensing Director: Karl Gerner
Karl is an attorney licensed in the District of Columbia, originally from Saratoga, New York. His practice focuses on privacy and telecommunications, with a background in commercial litigation. He is married to a Submarine Officer stationed in Washington, D.C. Karl has been involved with MSJDN since 2015 and is committed to educating the legal profession about the unique and desirable skills military spouse attorneys possess. Most recently, Karl served as the State Director for Utah for MSJDN’s State Licensing Committee, overseeing the efforts to enact a military spouse attorney licensing rule in the Beehive State. He is also a member of the International Association of Privacy Professionals and the Federal Communications Bar Association.
At Large Director: Lyndsay Lujan
Lyndsay Lujan is currently a labor attorney for the Army Office of The Judge Advocate General. From August of 2017 to April of 2019 she was the program manager for the Army JAG Corps’ Military Spouse Attorney Hiring Program and one of the assistant chiefs for the Army Legal Career Program. Prior to joining the Office of The Judge Advocate General, Lyndsay was a domestic violence prosecutor and served as an assistant commonwealth’s attorney for Albemarle County and the City of Chesapeake in Virginia. Lyndsay received her JD from William & Mary Law School and her BA in political science from the University of California, San Diego. Lyndsay is married to an Army active-duty Judge Advocate and his career has taken them to Virginia, Texas, Washington, D.C., and Washington state.
Development Director: Josie Beets
Josie is a licensed attorney, a nonprofit executive, a wife and a mom. She has presented on military spouse employment issues to the Department of Defense, the White House, the American Bar Association, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. She currently serves as Senior Director for SAFE Project, fulfilling their mission to contribute in a tangible way to overcoming the addiction epidemic, and previously served as the Senior Advisor to the President’s Management Council. Josie served as the 2016-2017 MSJDN President and has been involved with MSJDN since 2011. She was the founder of MSJDN’s pro bono program, Justice for Military Families, the first national military program to serve not just the servicemember but the families as well. Her karaoke go-to song is “Fancy” by Reba McEntire, with “We Belong” by Pat Benatar in a close second.
MSJDN proudly welcomes this new Board of Directors to lead our many efforts into the next year. If you are a member interested in volunteering, please visit the committees page for more information and then reach out to the committee leader to get started. Our successes are only possible thanks to volunteer power!
Homefront Rising is an annual non-partisan conference that encourages and trains military spouses to speak up and get involved in the political process through advocacy and public service. This year, the Military Spouse J.D. Network partnered with Veterans Campaign for Homefront Rising 2019, a Women’s Leadership Symposium designed specifically for military spouse and veteran women interested in public service careers. On May 10th, military spouses and veterans from across the country will gather in D.C. for a day of civic leadership training.
MSJDN is thrilled to announce the Title Partner for Homefront Rising 2019 – the National Military Family Association. The Association has been the voice of military families for 50 years, standing behind service members, their spouses, and their children. In 1969, the Association was founded by a handful of military wives who wanted to make sure their widowed friends were properly cared for. Two short years later, the Survivor Benefit Plan became law, and the Association has been hard at work ever since. A small, but determined, group of spouses around a kitchen table expanded into a strong force of military families representing all ranks and services. There’s no better example of Homefront Rising than the story of the military spouse advocates behind NMFA!
NMFA works on a wide range of issues related to military families, including barriers faced by military children in the classroom. In 2017, NMFA was approached by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, who has been working for years to highlight the importance of high and consistent academic standards in our country’s public schools. While this is an issue that affects students across the United States, it has a disproportionate impact on mobile populations – like military families – who move frequently. With this in mind, NMFA partnered with the Gates Foundation to raise awareness of how the education of military-connected kids can be affected when states have different academic standards. The Education Revolution initiative educates those who want to speak up and become effective advocates for military children’s education.
NMFA traveled to Virginia, Texas, and Florida to meet with local military families and education leaders and discuss issues and challenges. They held two family retreats and one full-day training event focused on helping families understand the tools and resources available to support military parents and children on education-related issues. They surveyed military families about the experiences with public schools and created a brochure to share with policymakers at all levels. NMFA also created a free Education Revolution kit containing resources for parents, teachers, administrators, and state/local school officials.
Now, NMFA is bringing their expertise to educate Homefront Rising attendees through an Education Revolution workshop on May 10th. Through an interactive session led by Joyce Raezer, long-time advocate and champion of military families, military spouse and veteran attendees will learn how to comprehensively assess an issue, identify barriers to success, and affect change through the lens of military kids’ education. Advocacy is at the heart of political engagement and attendees will leave equipped with the tools to be better parents, educators, advocates, and public officials.
Save your seat for Homefront Rising 2019!
When: May 10th at 9:00 am
Where: Jones Day, 51 Louisiana Ave NW, Washington, D.C.
Why: Because military spouse voices matter!
Attendees have the option to attend May 10th, as well as a full Veterans Campaign Introductory Campaign Training Workshop on May 11-12th.
On March 7, 2019, the Arkansas Supreme Court published and adopted Rule XVII of the Rules Governing Admission to the Bar of Arkansas, “Military Spouse Temporary Admission,” effective immediately. Rule XVII creates a mechanism for the admission of military spouse attorneys while their spouse is stationed in the state. This important move by the Supreme Court recognizes the unique mobility requirements of military families by granting a pathway to employment for attorney spouses of uniformed service members while on orders to the state.
To be eligible for admission under Rule XVII, a military spouse applicant must reside in Arkansas with their active duty service member on orders. The rule grants military spouse attorneys admission for two years upon motion, and does not prohibit successive applications. In order to apply, military spouse attorneys must demonstrate presence in Arkansas, familiarize themselves with the Arkansas Rules of Professional Conduct, apply by motion, and pay the fee set by the Board of Law Examiners. The full text of the rule can be found here.
MSJDN applauds the progress demonstrated by Arkansas, which becomes the 36th jurisdiction to enact a military spouse attorney licensing accommodation. MSJDN also thanks our State Licensing Director Lorren Patton, and Arkansas Veterans Coalition’s Ret. USAF Col. Don Berry for his unwavering advocacy on behalf of military families, including this rule change effort. “With adoption of Rule XVII, Arkansas sends a clear message of support to our nation’s military and their families,” said MSJDN President Katherine Goyette.
Questions about MSJDN’s licensing advocacy efforts? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
On March 7, 2019, the Utah Supreme Court adopted Rule 14-805, “Admission for spouse of active military stationed in Utah”. Rule 14-805 creates a mechanism for the admission of military spouse attorneys, including the issuance of a temporary certificate to practice while a military spouse law licensure application is pending. This outstanding move by the Supreme Court recognizes the unique mobility requirements of military families by granting a pathway to employment for attorney spouses of uniformed service members while on orders to the state.
To be eligible for admission under Rule 14-805, a military spouse applicant must reside in Utah with their active duty service member on orders. For military spouse applicants with less than two years of active practice when admitted must obtain a mentor and complete a New Lawyer Training Program. For military spouse applicants with less than two years of active practice who has not presented an MBE score above 134 or UBE score above 269 must be affiliated at all times with an active member of the Utah Bar in good standing, who has agreed to supervise the military spouse attorney and assume full responsibility for all matters handled by the military spouse attorney. The full text of the rule can be found here.
MSJDN applauds the progress demonstrated by Utah, which becomes the 36th jurisdiction to enact a military spouse attorney licensing accommodation. MSJDN also thanks Ray Quinney & Nebeker shareholder Paul C. Burke for his tireless advocacy on behalf of this effort, including raising crucial public awareness through publication in the Salt Lake Tribune, and his firm’s support over the past 4 years. “With adoption of Rule 14-805, Utah sends a clear message of support to our nation’s military and their families,” said MSJDN President Katherine Goyette.
Questions about MSJDN’s licensing advocacy efforts? Email email@example.com.