ABA, Military Spouse JD Network Commend Conference Of Chief Justices For Urging States To Adjust Bar Rules For Military Spouse Lawyers
WASHINGTON, Aug. 01, 2012 — The Military Spouse JD Network (MSJDN) and the American Bar Association applaud the Conference of Chief Justices for adopting policy that calls on states to remove burdensome rules for bar admission of lawyers who are dependents of military service members.
Lawyers are granted licenses to practice law according to rules established by the highest appellate court in each state. Military spouse lawyers face frequent moves and are required to gain admission to the bar whenever they transfer to a new jurisdiction. First lady Michelle Obama and second lady Jill Biden raised awareness about this employment issue following the release of a joint Department of the Treasury and Department of Defense report that recommended flexible licensing rules. Obama and Biden lead the Joining Forces initiative, which works closely with the MSJDN and mobilizes “society to give service members and their families the opportunities and support they have earned.”
The resolution, approved July 30 by the Conference of Chief Justices, encourages states to allow military spouse lawyers to practice as they move from state to state, so long as they are in good standing in another jurisdiction and maintain legal competency and education standards.
Together with a team of nationwide lawyer volunteers, the MSJDN has educated bar associations across the country about the need for changes to practice rules for military spouse lawyers. “Here we have leaders of our courts, the jurists in each state who ultimately determine the rules governing the practice of law. We are ecstatic that they are urging each of their state bars to put forth the very rule changes we proposed,” said Mary Reding, president of the MSJDN.
The American Bar Association, the national voice of the legal profession, endorsed policy earlier this year urging bar admission authorities “to adopt rules, regulations and procedures that accommodate the unique needs of military spouse attorneys who move frequently in support of the nation’s defense.” ABA President Wm. T. (Bill) Robinson III said of the conference’s decision, “Military service is not just a commitment by an individual; it is a commitment by an entire family. Now each state can work to ensure that military transfers are not a barrier to practice for highly skilled lawyers.”
The Military Spouse JD Network is an international network of legal professionals improving the lives of military families.
With nearly 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is the largest voluntary professional membership organization in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law.
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