January 2015 started with the good news that six military spouse attorneys were nominated for the 2015 Armed Forces Insurance Military Spouse of the Year. The recognition continued as MSJDN’s pro bono program, Justice for Military Families, was nominated for the ABA’s Louis M. Brown Award for Legal Access, in its first year of existence. Rounding out a busy first month was the inaugural MSJDN webinar, kicking off a robust program that continues to educate MSJDNers on topics from business formation to resume writing and much more.
In March, MSJDN member and Fordham law student Angelica Kang was honored as a Woman of Inspiration by Ms. JD at their annual conference in San Francisco. Angelica’s passion for the public interest is a shining example of the military spouse attorney values of service and excellence.
Another recognition went to a military spouse attorney during the ABA’s Annual Meeting in Chicago. One of the most prestigious awards from the ABA – the Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Award – was bestowed upon a MSJDN nominee: LTG Flora Darpino, a military spouse and The Judge Advocate General of the Army.
After a long winter, military spouse attorneys were warmed by the news that the U.S. Virgin Islands had adopted a military spouse attorney licensing rule. The USVI rule was followed later in the year by changes in Indiana, Maryland, Kentucky, and Tennessee, bringing the number of jurisdictions with similar accommodations to 17! We also celebrated the 1st military spouse attorneys sworn in under the New York, Oklahoma, Virginia, and Arizona rules.
In May, MSJDN celebrated its 4th anniversary at the Annual Reception in DC. During that event, the Army’s Office of The Judge Advocate General was presented with the 2015 Homefront to Hired Award, while Squire Patton Boggs was named as the 2015 Members’ Choice Award recipient. Orrick partner Christina Sarchio was honored as well with the 2015 Professional Excellence Award. But that wasn’t the only MSJDN event in DC that month: Homefront Rising also returned for a full day seminar educating military spouses on running for office.
May also saw the launch of the new and improved MSJDN website, featuring a jobs board, directory, calendar, member forums, and many other resources for military spouse attorneys. The Homefront to Hired team was also excited to announce a partnership with Prudential Financial Inc. to support the hiring of military spouse attorneys, setting an example for other companies to follow to support military families in the workplace.
This wasn’t the only hiring action going on for MSJDNers, as many members took part in the first ever Veterans’ Legal Career Fair, a historic event that welcomed military spouses to attend. MSJDN members also added to their resumes as 12 military spouse attorneys were admitted to the Supreme Court of the United States on the first Monday in October.
On the other side of the country in October, military spouse attorneys gathered from all corners of the U.S. for MSJDN’s annual career development conference. Making the Right Moves was held in Seattle to rave reviews from attendees who heard from experts on working remotely, building virtual practices, and leveraging technology to ease the burden of military life on a legal career. Military spouse attorney Lizanne Carlson was presented with the 2015 Exceptional Service Award during the conference luncheon in celebration of her service to others.
The year closed out with the Annual Military Spouse Attorney Survey collecting critical information from military spouse law students and attorneys to better inform MSJDN licensing and employment initiatives.
Each year has brought extraordinary growth and success for MSJDN and the members we serve, thanks wholly to the dedicated volunteers who give freely of their time and resources to change the rules and the way military spouse attorneys embrace their lives and the law. 2016 will mark MSJDN’s 5th anniversary and we can’t wait to see what the year has in store for military spouse attorneys!