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Editor’s Note: MSJDN asked its members to help us spotlight employers that are going above and beyond for military spouse attorneys. Each employer in this series was nominated for MSJDN’s Members’ Choice Award for doing just that, by members who told us in their own words about the awesomeness of their employers. MSJDN is thrilled to tell these employer stories as a way of expressing our gratitude for supporting military spouses as they build careers in the legal profession.

The MSJDN Members’ Choice Award recipient will be announced at MSJDN’s Annual Reception in Washington, D.C. on May 17.

Aiken Schenk is a Phoenix-based law firm offering a broad range of legal services, including employment law, healthcare law, commercial litigation and business disputes, personal injury, and bankruptcy law, among others.  The firm was formed 28 years ago and now has 14 attorneys.  Aiken Schenk is nationally recognized and prides itself on its active engagement in the Arizona legal community.

MSJDN member Natalie Virden nominated the firm for the 2018 MSJDN Members’ Choice Award because the firm has gone above and beyond to support her decision to move to be near her service member.

Ms. Virden practices labor and employment law at Aiken Schenk.  She had been working at the firm for approximately 18 months when she decided to move to be with her service member.  The firm took a chance and Ms. Virden (and on technology!) and kept her on board full-time.

Ms. Virden commented that keeping her on board could be seen as a huge risk for the firm because it is relatively small.  Additionally, Phoenix is not a military hub, and there were no military connections between service members or military spouses and the firm as far as Ms. Virden knew.  However, the firm agreed to her move, set her up with a home office, and supported her every step of the way.  Ms. Virden never imagined that the firm would be willing to do all they have done to support her, and is thrilled to be able to continue her career at Aiken Schenk.

It is firms like Aiken Schenk that give military spouse lawyers hope that they can have it all – work full time at their job of choice and be a military spouse.  MSJDN is pleased to recognize the well-deserved nomination of Aiken Schenk for the 2018 Members’ Choice Award!

Celebrate the recipient of the MSJDN Members’ Choice Award at the 2018 Annual Reception in Washington, D.C. on May 17th. Tickets and information available here.

The post Employer Spotlight: Aiken Schenk appeared first on Military Spouse JD Network.

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Editor’s Note: MSJDN asked its members to help us spotlight employers that are going above and beyond for military spouse attorneys. Each employer in this series was nominated for MSJDN’s Members’ Choice Award for doing just that, by members who told us in their own words about the awesomeness of their employers. MSJDN is thrilled to tell these employer stories as a way of expressing our gratitude for supporting military spouses as they build careers in the legal profession.

The MSJDN Members’ Choice Award recipient will be announced at MSJDN’s Annual Reception in Washington, D.C. on May 17.

By Mariya Volzhskaya

Littler Medelson P.C. is a national law firm specializing in Labor and Employment Law and serving clients around the world and through over 55 U.S. offices. Law firms of this size often do not have reputations for being flexible and supportive of alternative arrangements for attorney employment. However, MSJDN member Stephanie Halford has enjoyed being a member of Littler’s innovative CaseSmart team – a  nationally based program for flex time attorneys who specialize in litigation and work 100% from home with the full tech and resource support of this global firm.

This kind of support and flexibility is especially crucial for military spouse attorneys, with uncertain long-term locations and sudden PCS moves. Through the CaseSmart program, Littler provides an opportunity for experienced employment attorneys to maintain a fulfilling and exciting litigation career without the insane hours and location inflexibility typically seen in traditional “brick and mortar” firms. Stephanie says “Littler will support me in this program if we receive orders anywhere in the US. I just have to update my address and tax information.”  For many military spouse attorneys, that is an ideal arrangement.  Stephanie shared that she is currently aware of two other military spouses in the program, as well as one who recently departed for another job. Littler also employs other military spouse attorneys outside the CaseSmart program, including one spouse in the Knowledge Management Group.

Littler also shows its commitment to military spouses through regularly posting openings on the MSJDN job board.  In her nomination, Stephanie also stressed that in addition to military spouses, Littler also prides itself on supporting its attorney employees who are serving in the reserves.

Military spouse attorneys, as well as their families, are grateful for employers like Littler Mendelson that provide meaningful opportunities for career maintenance and development. MSJDN is pleased to recognize the well-deserved nomination of Littler Mendelson for the 2018 Members’ Choice Award!

Celebrate the recipient of the MSJDN Members’ Choice Award at the 2018 Annual Reception in Washington, D.C. on May 17th. Tickets and information available here.

The post Employer Spotlight: Littler Mendelson P.C. appeared first on Military Spouse JD Network.

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Editor’s Note: MSJDN asked its members to help us spotlight employers that are going above and beyond for military spouse attorneys. Each employer in this series was nominated for MSJDN’s Members’ Choice Award for doing just that, by members who told us in their own words about the awesomeness of their employers. MSJDN is thrilled to tell these employer stories as a way of expressing our gratitude for supporting military spouses as they build careers in the legal profession.

The MSJDN Members’ Choice Award recipient will be announced at MSJDN’s Annual Reception in Washington, D.C. on May 17.

By Tricia Petek

Hadley Law, PLC is a small boutique firm with an all-female staff located in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Military Spouse JD Network member Sarah Buitrago nominated the firm for the 2018 MSJDN Members’ Choice Award based upon her experience working at Hadley for the past year. Sarah describes an encouraging and flexible work environment that employs both military spouses and military veterans, while also assisting the military population of Virginia Beach with legal matters.

Although Managing Attorney Cherish L. Hadley-Njewel is not affiliated with the military, the firm has established a strong record of serving the military community. In addition to Sarah, the firm employs a military veteran and a military spouse. Another MSJDN member was recently hired for an intern position, and found out about the position through MSJDN, where the firm advertises its open positions before advertising to the general public.

During her interview Sarah shared her military spouse status and the gap in her resume after graduating from law school. These factors did not deter the firm from hiring Sarah; in fact, Ms. Hadley-Njewel welcomed Sarah to shadow her as she became familiar with her new position. Sarah has also been encouraged to learn new areas of the law, such as Veterans’ Benefits, which will enable to expand her practice to continue helping members of the military community.

Hadley Law has also been an extremely flexible working environment for military families that often face unpredictable schedules and long periods of separation from loved ones. Sarah has found that the law firm is supportive of employees taking time from work to spend with family and of working hours that are compatible for military families. These characteristics of the firm help explain why Sarah has found such a welcoming work environment and why she enthusiastically nominated her employer for the 2018 MSJDN Members’ Choice Award. Hadley Law, PLC is an excellent example of how businesses can hire, empower, and elevate the careers of military spouses.

Celebrate the recipient of the MSJDN Members’ Choice Award at the 2018 Annual Reception in Washington, D.C. on May 17th. Tickets and information available here.

The post Employer Spotlight: Hadley Law, PLC appeared first on Military Spouse JD Network.

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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 2018-2019 year, and all are welcome to meet the new board at the 2018 MSJDN Annual Reception on May 17, 2018 at 6pm in Washington D.C.!

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 currently has a military spouse law licensure application before the Tennessee Board of Law Examiners.

Immediate Past President: Libby Jamison

Libby Jamison has been an active member of MSJDN since 2012, including two years on the Board as Communications Director from 2013-2015. Libby works with the Department of Veterans Affairs as counsel at the Board of Veterans’ Appeals. In 2014, she was recognized by Jacksonville Area Legal Aid for Outstanding Pro Bono service and by the Jacksonville Junior League with their Community Service award; in 2015, she was named as the AFI Military Spouse of the Year for Naval Station Newport. Recently, she was appointed to the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Legal Assistance for Military Personnel and the San Diego County Bar Association’s Servicemembers Civil Relief Act committee. She is married to a Navy helicopter pilot; his career has taken them to California, Florida, Rhode Island, and Virginia. Libby is admitted to practice in California, Washington State, and before the Supreme Court of the United States.

President Elect: 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 Miami home with their four sons.

Governance Director/Secretary: Brooke Geiger Nattkemper

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.

Treasurer: Kelley Scrocca

Colleen “Kelley” is licensed to practice in 6 states (and took the bar in ALL of them).  She graduated from the University of Minnesota Law School and then went on to get her LLM in Estate Planning from the University of Miami.  She started practicing law for a boutique firm in Philadelphia where she specialized in small estates and estate administration. She then moved to a big firm in Wilmington, Delaware, where she worked with high net-worth clients, provided document drafting and review to large banks and trust companies specifically to take advantage of Delaware’s favorable trust laws, and worked on a myriad of other estate and tax related projects. A few years later she met her military husband.  She quit her law job and moved with him to Korea.  Since then she has moved 5 times, travelled to 16 countries, and had 3 kids.  Currently, she is living at Ft. Bragg preparing for a new assignment in Germany.  Kelley is active in community chorus and loves hiking, geocaching, and reading.

Treasurer Elect: Kirsten Jones

Kristen Jones is a graduate of Dartmouth College and George Mason University Law School. She has practiced as an Associate Attorney with the Moller Law Group in Woodland Park, Colorado, as well as Field Counsel for the Law Offices of Skrabo & Atkins in Greenwood Village, Colorado. Formerly, she’s served as a Assistant Attorney General for the Wyoming Office of the Attorney General and as a Judicial Law Clerk for Fairfax Circuit Court, Virginia. In the summer of 2018, she is moving with her Airman, two sons, and dog from Charlottesville to Dayton and thanking her lucky MSJDN stars for Ohio’s new licensing rule.

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: Allison Chersicla

Allison Chersicla is passionate about using her law degree in the public service.  She started her legal career on active duty in the United States Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps at Fort Benning, Georgia and Fort Bliss, Texas.  She served in various roles including: administrative law attorney, special assistant US attorney, chief of legal client services, claims attorney and field screening officer.  Allison hails from New York and is a graduate of SUNY Buffalo Law School and Fordham University, where she met her husband, an active duty Army Infantry officer.  She is honored to serve her fellow military spouse attorneys as MSJDN’s Community and Events Director and looks forward to fostering community amongst the members and building on the tremendous foundation that MSJDN has established.

Homefront to Hired Director: Alex Spisak

Alex is an attorney at a large DC law firm where his practice involves mass complex tort litigation with a focus on product liability. He works with a team of attorneys serving as national counsel for a fortune 100 company in the defense of its nationwide litigation docket. Alex maintains an active pro bono practice, representing clients seeking asylum in the United States and volunteering at the Washington DC Landlord-Tenant Resource Center.

Membership Director: Dawn Gile

Dawn Gile has been a member of MSJDN since 2012 and has served on the Justice for Military Families committee, the pro bono initiative of the Military Spouse JD Foundation. She has been in private practice for approximately ten years and is presently an attorney 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 girls. 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 the past, she has also served 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.

Pro Bono Director: Tricia Petek

Tricia Petek is a native of Montana and a graduate of the Alexander Blewett III School of Law at the University of Montana. She began volunteering with MSJDN and Justice for Military Families in June 2015 as an Intake Coordinator, and became the program’s Lead Intake Coordinator in March 2016. Tricia is licensed in Kansas, Missouri, and Montana, and previously practiced Family Law in Kansas and Missouri. Tricia’s spouse is an Air Force officer and they have two young children. Her family is currently stationed in Germany, where Tricia also volunteers with a spouses’ organization and the parent-teacher association at her son’s school.

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: Leslie Walter

Leslie Walter is a Texas-licensed attorney who advised in the area of Homeland Security compliance before spending more than four years in the Air Force JAG Corps. She currently works as a civilian Senior Program Manager for the Air Force while continuing her JAG commitment in the Air Force Reserve. Her husband, Bryan, is an Air Force instructor pilot at Pensacola Naval Air Station. They have one daughter, Cora.

_____________________

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!

The post New MSJDN Leadership Announced for 2018-2019 appeared first on Military Spouse JD Network.

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MSJDN is excited to announce that the 2018 Professional Excellence Award will be presented to military spouse attorney Cheryl Mason at the Annual Reception on May 17th.

Cheryl, known to her colleagues as Cheri, is an experienced attorney and leader, the spouse of an Air Force veteran, the daughter of a World War II Navy veteran, and as of 2017, the Senate-confirmed Chairman of the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (BVA) within the Department of Veterans Affairs. Cheri has met the challenges faced by military spouse attorneys, excelled at every level of the profession, and now leads approximately 1,000 employees and the administrative tribunal that adjudicates veterans’ benefits. She is the first woman to serve as the BVA Chairman, and the first military spouse as well.

Cheri previously served as the Principal Deputy Vice Chairman at BVA. She started her career at BVA in 1990, while her husband was still on active duty. After working there for four years, her husband received orders to report to Germany. Like so many military spouses who came before and after her, she put her professional career on hold and moved her family overseas. Wanting to work, but unable to find employment as an attorney, she accepted a position as an office manager. Upon returning to the U.S. several years later, Cheri was able to return to work at BVA, building an exemplary career serving veterans and their families, aided by her own experiences as a military spouse.

At BVA, Cheri worked her way up from Counsel, to Judge, to Chief Judge,to Principal Deputy Vice Chairman. As she rose up through the ranks, she built bridges with VSOs and MSOs, collaborating with a broad base of stakeholders on efforts to modernize and streamline the appeals process. While Cheri has a long career at BVA, her service as a mobile military spouse means she has a variety of experiences that makes her well-rounded. Her career began in private practice in Omaha, Nebraska.  She later served as an attorney ensuring the Americans with Disabilities Act was implemented and followed. She also served at the Federal Labor Relations Authority.  As her career path demonstrates, she is deeply passionate about serving veterans and those facing challenges in their lives.

At the 2016 annual MSJDN professional development conference, Cheri shared her career journey with fellow military spouse attorneys in attendance. She highlighted that although she accepted a position as an office manager while in Germany that was several steps down on the pay scale, she was later able to emphasize the management and organizational skills used in that position to enhance her resume as she pursued leadership roles in the workplace.

MSJDN was thrilled to recognize BVA at the 2017 Annual Reception as a nominee for the Member’s Choice Award.  With Cheri showcasing the stellar capabilities of military spouse attorneys, BVA has hired numerous military spouses over the years, and continues to do so in both attorney and non-attorney roles.  Cheri champions remote work policies allowing BVA attorneys to move with a spouse who receives PCS orders outside of the National Capital Region, while still maintaining a meaningful legal career.  The teleworking and remote work opportunities, available to all attorneys at the Board, are particularly appealing to attorneys married to service members, often faced with starting over again with each PCS.

Cheri has overcome tremendous challenges, including ups and downs on the career ladder and tours overseas, to reach this professional pinnacle; her success gives career-minded military spouses hope. Hope that being married to a servicemember does not mean the end to our careers. Hope that military families can balance a two-career household and a life of service. Hope that the sacrifices being made by military families are not going unnoticed.

Cheri’s professional successes shows that military spouses are intelligent, capable leaders with valuable skills in the workplace.  MSJDN is honored to include her in our ranks and it is with great pleasure that we recognize the path she has blazed for military spouse attorneys with the 2018 Professional Excellence Award.

Please join us on May 17th for the presentation and a celebration of all military spouses in the legal profession. Tickets and more information are available on the event page.

The post Cheryl Mason to Receive 2018 MSJDN Professional Excellence Award appeared first on Military Spouse JD Network.

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Editor’s Note: MSJDN asked its members to help us spotlight employers that are going above and beyond for military spouse attorneys. Each employer in this series was nominated for MSJDN’s Members’ Choice Award for doing just that, by members who told us in their own words about the awesomeness of their employers. MSJDN is thrilled to tell these employer stories as a way of expressing our gratitude for supporting military spouses as they build careers in the legal profession.

The MSJDN Members’ Choice Award recipient will be announced at MSJDN’s Annual Reception in Washington, D.C. on May 17.

By Sanya Sarich Kerksiek

Finding legal employment upon PCS-ing to Fort Riley, Kansas, felt like a daunting challenge to MSJDN-er Brooke Nattkemper. But upon being hired by the law firm of Arthur-Green LLP, located in the nearby rural town of Manhattan, she knew she had found a “truly unique and incredible firm.”

Arthur-Green is a long-established business law firm in Manhattan, Kansas. It was founded in 1950 and its practice areas include business and corporate law, estate planning, real estate law, and general litigation. Over the years, Arthur-Green has hired several military spouse attorneys and legal assistants, and currently employs two military spouse attorneys.

The firm has a supportive, positive atmosphere; Ms. Nattkemper describes the firm as a place where the attorneys “love the work they do, love the people they work with, and love the place they go to work every day.” She attributes that positive atmosphere in part to its culture of mentoring, encouraging, and investing in all of its attorneys. Arthur-Green has supported Brooke through her transition back into the profession after a short break, as well as through other challenges that are standard for military spouses and parents. The firm welcomes military spouses and makes them “part of the family.”

MSJDN is pleased to recognize Arthur-Green’s well-deserved nomination for the 2018 Members’ Choice Award!

Celebrate the recipient of the MSJDN Members’ Choice Award at the 2018 Annual Reception in Washington, D.C. on May 17th. Tickets and information available here.

The post Employer Spotlight: Arthur-Green LLP appeared first on Military Spouse JD Network.

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Editor’s Note: MSJDN asked its members to help us spotlight employers that are going above and beyond for military spouse attorneys. Each employer in this series was nominated for MSJDN’s Members’ Choice Award for doing just that, by members who told us in their own words about the awesomeness of their employers. MSJDN is thrilled to tell these employer stories as a way of expressing our gratitude for supporting military spouses as they build careers in the legal profession.

The MSJDN Members’ Choice Award recipient will be announced at MSJDN’s Annual Reception in Washington, D.C. on May 17.

By Katherine Lee Goyette, Associate Attorney, Fendley & Etson, Attorneys at Law, Clarksville, Tennessee

Fendley & Etson is a family run law firm based in Clarksville, Tennessee. In close proximity to U.S. Army installation Fort Campbell, Fendley & Etson serves a large community of active duty, veterans, and their dependents. The firm handles a wide variety of legal matters, including personal injury, bankruptcy, criminal defense, social security disability, consumer law, family law and estate planning.

Founding partner Mart Fendley has been a board-certified civil trial lawyer since 1994, when certification as a specialist first became available to Tennessee attorneys. He is AV preeminent rated by Martindale-Hubbell’s peer review rating system, the highest available rating. He is joined by attorneys Jacob Fendley, Elizabeth Fendley, Joshua Etson, T. Blaine Dixon and Katherine Lee Goyette.

Fendley & Etson is a proud employer of an Operation Iraqi Freedom USMC veteran and five military spouses. Military Spouse J.D. Network President-Elect Katherine Lee Goyette is especially grateful to Fendley & Etson’s willingness to hire her as a military spouse attorney, especially in a local community that has historically provided a very unwelcoming atmosphere to military spouse attorneys. The Montgomery County Bar Association submitted comment to the Supreme Court of Tennessee on July 27, 2015, with concern that military spouse attorneys stationed at Fort Campbell, KY would “detrimentally effect the high standards of the legal community within our state” if such attorneys were allowed to practice law in Tennessee without supervision. Despite the Montgomery County Bar “…urge[ing] rejection of the proposed rule” providing for licensure of military spouse attorneys, the rule was adopted by the Supreme Court of Tennessee on December 22, 2015.

By employing both military spouse paralegals and military spouse attorneys, Fendley & Etson is hoping to change the local legal community’s perspective on military spouse employment. The firm has more than 45 years of combined experience, including extensive trial experience. As a family-run law firm that supports the military community, Fendley & Etson remains dedicated to serving Clarksville, Fort Campbell, and surrounding areas with the most effective representation it can provide for its clients.

Celebrate the recipient of the MSJDN Members’ Choice Award at the 2018 Annual Reception in Washington, D.C. on May 17th. Tickets and information available here.

The post Employer Spotlight: Fendley & Etson appeared first on Military Spouse JD Network.

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Editor’s Note: MSJDN asked its members to help us spotlight employers that are going above and beyond for military spouse attorneys. Each employer in this series was nominated for MSJDN’s Members’ Choice Award for doing just that, by members who told us in their own words about the awesomeness of their employers. MSJDN is thrilled to tell these employer stories as a way of expressing our gratitude for supporting military spouses as they build careers in the legal profession.

The MSJDN Members’ Choice Award recipient will be announced at MSJDN’s Annual Reception in Washington, D.C. on May 17.

By Johanna Thibault

As military spouse attorneys moving from one assignment to another, the first place to look for a job at our new duty station is often the Judge Advocate General’s office. This is particularly the case when stationed in a remote location. While this might seem an obvious place to inquire, it is not always the easiest place to find an attorney position. According to Johanna Heeley, the Office of the Staff Judge Advocate (OSJA) at US Army Garrison Fort Belvoir is different. The Fort Belvoir OSJA shows its support for military spouses in the workforce through several initiatives to hire and encourage the continued professional development of military spouses.

The Fort Belvoir OSJA hires military spouse attorneys in proportionately significant numbers. According to Heeley, “out of OSJA Fort Belvoir’s nine civilian attorneys, five are military spouse attorneys working in disciplines from legal assistance to employment law.” This high percentage of military spouses demonstrates the OSJA’s ability to recognize the unique skill set of military spouse attorneys and embrace them as part of the team at the OSJA.

In addition to hiring, OSJA Fort Belvoir also supports military spouse attorney career development through training and promotion. “OSJA Fort Belvoir recognizes the challenges that military life can present and promotes work life balance accordingly,” says Heeley.

The Army has long recognized that employing qualified military spouses is good policy. Programs supporting professional military spouses foster force readiness and retention. In addition to the Department of Defense’s Military Spouse Preference program, which confers a hiring advantage to those attorney spouses determined to be among the best qualified for competitively announced positions, the Army JAG Corps has instituted a procedure to consider eligible spouses for non-competitive attorney appointments. A database of eligible attorney spouses is maintained by the Office of The Judge Advocate General (OTJAG) for referral to hiring officials. Through the database and the hard work of OTJAG employees like Lyndsey Lujan (also a military spouse attorney), the Department of the Army has offered positions to numerous military spouse attorneys since 2013.  OTJAG was award the 2015 MSJDN Homefront to Hired Award in recognition of this meaningful support for career-minded military spouses.

MSJDN is pleased to recognize the continuing support from the Army legal community and the well-deserved nomination of the Fort Belvoir Judge Advocate for the 2018 Members’ Choice Award!

Celebrate the recipient of the MSJDN Members’ Choice Award at the 2018 Annual Reception in Washington, D.C. on May 17th. Tickets and information available here.

The post Employer Spotlight: Fort Belvoir Office of the Staff Judge Advocate appeared first on Military Spouse JD Network.

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Editor’s Note: MSJDN asked its members to help us spotlight employers that are going above and beyond for military spouse attorneys. Each employer in this series was nominated for MSJDN’s Members’ Choice Award for doing just that, by members who told us in their own words about the awesomeness of their employers. MSJDN is thrilled to tell these employer stories as a way of expressing our gratitude for supporting military spouses as they build careers in the legal profession.

The MSJDN Members’ Choice Award recipient will be announced at MSJDN’s Annual Reception in Washington, D.C. on May 17.

Hilton has a long legacy of supporting the military, dating back to Conrad Hilton, the company founder and a U.S. Army Veteran who served in the first World War.  That legacy continues today.  In August 2013, Hilton launched Operation: Opportunity, with a commitment to hire 10,000 veterans and military spouses over five years.  Through partnerships with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes program, the Joining Forces initiative led by Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden, and the National Association of State Workforce Agencies, they accomplished that goal two years ahead of schedule, and committed to hiring an additional 20,000 from the military community by the end of 2020.  Part of this operation includes a dedicated military spouse program, offering work-from-home positions that can relocate with employees.

In light of this legacy, it’s no surprise that Hilton was nominated for recognition by MSJDN member Karl Gerner.  Karl connected with Hilton through the Hiring Our Heroes Corporate Fellowship Program, which provides transitioning service members with management training and hands-on experience in the civilian workforce, expanding corporate America’s understanding of the veteran job market and preparing those individuals for smooth transitions into meaningful civilian careers.  In the D.C. area, the program has been expanded to include military spouses.  While on the job search in conjunction with a PCS last year, Karl enrolled in the program.  In just two weeks after relocating to the National Capital Region, he started working in-house in the Hilton legal department.

In support of his nomination of Hilton for the Members’ Choice Award, Karl wrote, “The experience and network I built made the experience amazing, and now I’m in talks to go in house with them in a permanent position! Some of the most senior people in the company, all the way up to the general counsel, supported taking on a military spouse through an unusual and unknown channel and have made a huge impact on my practice and life.”

Hilton’s commitment to hiring and retaining military spouses is commendable. It requires vision and creativity to find solutions to the curveballs that military life throws when it comes to employment.  Our community is grateful for employers like Hilton that provide meaningful opportunities for military spouses to maintain their careers. MSJDN is pleased to recognize the well-deserved nomination of Hilton for the 2018 Members’ Choice Award!

Celebrate the recipient of the MSJDN Members’ Choice Award at the 2018 Annual Reception in Washington, D.C. on May 17th. Tickets and information available here.

The post Employer Spotlight: Hilton Hotels and Resorts appeared first on Military Spouse JD Network.

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Military spouse attorneys often have to place their own careers on hold as they move around the globe to accompany their service member on their military assignments. Too often, dreams of a career in the legal profession are sacrificed when spouses find themselves in locations that offer few job opportunities for attorneys, or overlooked by hiring managers because of resumé gaps as the result of frequent relocations. To help remedy the drastic un- and under-employment experienced by these professionals, the Military Spouse JD Network (MSJDN) established the Homefront to Hired initiative to connect military spouse attorneys with supportive employers.

Each year at the Annual Reception, MSJDN recognizes an entity making a meaningful difference in the workplace for military spouse attorneys and their families by presenting the Homefront to Hired Award to a dedicated hiring partner.  This year, MSJDN is proud to announce that the 2018 Homefront to Hired awardee is Suzie Scanlon.  Suzie is the co-founder and Managing Director of Bliss Lawyers, a legal recruitment alternative focused on full-time and part-time lawyer secondments.  She is also the Managing Partner of SRD Legal Group, a female-owned, entrepreneurially-focused, legal services firm.

Suzie has been an active force for military spouse attorneys since connecting with the Homefront to Hired team in early 2017.  While the initial partnership focused on recruiting MSJDN members for placement through Bliss Lawyers, Suzie recognized the roadblocks faced by military spouse attorneys and went above and beyond to create additional employment opportunities through SRD Legal Group as well.

Beyond the hiring of military spouse attorneys, Suzie has also been an outspoken advocate for our community, bringing awareness to other employers and authoring an article for the Huffington Post encouraging the hiring of military spouse attorneys and the removal of regulatory obstacles to employment for military families.  She traveled from New York to attend the November 2017 Military Legal Networking event in D.C. hosted by Hiring Our Heroes, the American Bar Association, and Nestle. Suzie has demonstrated her commitment to military spouse attorneys over the past year and continues to work with Homefront to Hired to support MSJDN members.

“Working with military spouse attorneys has a triple bottom line,” remarked Suzie Scanlon.  “Our clients receive the benefit of working with a team of reliable and motivated attorneys who provide a sophisticated, cost-effective deliverable while improving the lives of military families.  With the support of The Blackstone Group, we have been successfully piloting programs where military spouse lawyers are being trained to work on teams leveraging SRD’s virtual platform, resulting in meaningful and portable professional opportunities for this high performing group of lawyers.”    

“Creating opportunities for military spouse attorneys to help support Blackstone’s legal department was an obvious choice given the firm’s broader efforts to support our country’s veterans,” commented Evan Clandorf, Vice President of Legal & Compliance at The Blackstone Group.  Blackstone’s Veterans Hiring Initiative has already reached its initial goal of hiring 50,000 veterans, caregivers and spouses across the portfolio and the firm doubled down with a new goal of hiring 50,000 more veterans.

Past Homefront to Hired awardees, including the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, Prudential, and the U.S. Army Office of The Judge Advocate, have established ties to the military community and understand intimately the sacrifices entailed by military service. Suzie is unique among MSJDN’s hiring partners in that she did not serve and does not come from a military family. Yet she immediately grasped the challenges faced by military spouse attorneys and committed herself to take action to reduce the financial and emotional strain on military families caused by disruption of a spouse’s career. MSJDN is honored to have such a dedicated civilian partner in the Homefront to Hired program.

For these reasons, MSJDN is thrilled to recognize the efforts of Suzie Scanlon to enrich and benefit the military community by providing meaningful employment opportunities for military spouses in the legal profession.  Please join us for the Annual Reception on May 17th in Washington, D.C. for the presentation of the Homefront to Hired Award and other 2018 MSJDN honors.

The post Suzie Scanlon to be Recognized with 2018 Homefront to Hired Award appeared first on Military Spouse JD Network.

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