The Military Spouse JD Network is a volunteer-run organization dedicated to supporting military spouses in the legal profession. An active Board of Directors oversees the myriad of MSJDN’s programs and initiatives that are then put into action by committee leadership. These volunteers work tirelessly on advancing the organization’s goals, meeting member needs, and improving the lives of military families. MSJDN is very pleased to introduce its new leadership for the 2020-2021 year!
President: Dawn Gile
Dawn Gile is a licensed attorney with an active litigation practice, in addition to being an Army wife and mom of two girls. A member of MSJDN since 2012, Dawn previously served on the Board as MSJDN’s membership director, in addition to having served as an intake coordinator for the Justice for Military Families committee, the pro bono initiative of the MSJDN Foundation. Dawn is presently a partner with MacDonald Law Group, LLC, where her practice focuses on the defense of corporations, insurance companies, and individuals in matters involving complex civil litigation. She also serves as the secretary of the Vigilant Torch Association, an organization dedicated to supporting current and former members of the special operations community as well as their families. She has long devoted her time to serving the families of her husband’s military unit, including having twice served as its family support network leader. In July 2020, Dawn will begin her term as the alumni trustee on the Board of Trustees for Rockford University, after serving over a decade as a director for its alumni association. A graduate of Loyola University Chicago School of Law and Rockford University, Dawn is admitted to practice law in Illinois, Maryland, and the District of Columbia. She enjoys spending time with her family at their home in Maryland and volunteering in her community.
President-Elect: Kristen Jones
Kristen Jones is a graduate of Dartmouth College and George Mason University Law School. She has taken two bars and has practiced law in four states. She now lives in her forever home of Cheyenne, Wyoming, and serves as an Assistant Attorney General for the Equality State. Kristen is mom to two young boys and is married to an Airman stationed at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio. She is passionate about sustainability.
Immediate Past 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 spouse, Karen practiced law with several small firms in and around Chicago. Presently, Karen serves as an Associate Counsel at the Board of Veterans’ Appeals in Washington, D.C. Karen has been involved with MSDJN since 2011 and is committed to its mission of improving the lives of military spouses in the legal profession. Prior to joining MSJDN higher leadership, Karen served as the State Licensing Director for the MSJDN Board, managing the MSJDN licensing initiative nationwide. She is also a past board member with the National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations (NCWBA), serving as Co-Chair of the Awards Committee (2017-2018). Karen and her family are avid fans of the Chicago Cubs.
Treasurer: 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 making the best of a geo-bachelor situation and, when they’re both in Nashville, love exploring all of Nashville’s local restaurants and breweries.
Treasurer-Elect: AnnElyse Scarlett Gains
AnnElyse Scarlett Gains is a partner in the Washington, DC office of Kirkland & Ellis LLP. She earned her law degree from the University of Illinois, College of Law and her undergraduate degree from Indiana University. After law school, AnnElyse was a law clerk to the Honorable Peter J. Walsh (ret.) for the Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware and has worked since then at Kirkland in both their New York and Washington DC offices. Her practice focuses on corporate restructurings, liability management transactions, recapitalizations, and other special situation transactions in acquisitions, out-of-court restructurings, and Chapter 11 cases. AnnElyse also advises boards of directors, board committees, and senior management of financially troubled companies on a range of issues, including fiduciary duties and corporate governance. While at Kirkland, AnnElyse has been the recipient of multiple pro bono service awards for her work representing veterans with claims for trauma-related disabilities, including an appeal to the Board of Veterans Affairs. Originally from a suburb of Chicago, AnnElyse currently resides in Washington, DC with her son while her husband, an active duty Major in the US Army, is stationed overseas.
Governance Director/Secretary: S. Claire Gibson
Claire has been a licensed attorney since 2011 and a member of MSJDN since 2013. A New York City native, Claire earned her bachelor’s degree from Columbia University and her juris doctor degree from Brooklyn Law School. She is the principal attorney at The Gibson Law Practice PLLC, a New York City intellectual property boutique providing domestic and international trademark and copyright portfolio management. With her active duty Marine husband currently stationed at Camp Lejeune, Claire splits her time on the East Coast between New York and coastal North Carolina. She serves as a mentor in MSJDN’s Mentoring Program and on the summit planning committee for the National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations.
Communications Director: Rebecca Bartlett
Rebecca Bartlett has been a member of MSJDN since 2014. She has served as a prosecutor in Washington state and has owned her own solo practice dedicated to serving military veterans and immigrants. She is presently in-house counsel with the U.S. Center for SafeSport, a non-profit organization focused on ending all forms of abuse in sport through prevention, education, and accountability. She is the proud spouse of a Navy pilot, with whom she has two girls. She and her family currently reside in Pensacola, Florida. Rebecca also volunteers her time by representing military veterans seeking disability compensation through The Veterans Consortium Pro Bono Program and serving as a member of the Junior League of New Orleans. Rebecca is admitted to practice law in Washington State, Florida, Alabama, and is currently in the admission process in Colorado.
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 states of Texas and Colorado. Michelle works as a civilian JAG attorney for the Army and as counsel for a software company. 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.
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 2021. 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.
State Licensing Director: Nicolle Vasquez Del Favero
Nicolle originally hails from Miami, and is a proud Florida Gator. A graduate of Northeastern University School of Law, Nicolle began her career in Hawaii as a Skadden Fellow advocating for domestic violence victims affiliated with the military. Today, Nicolle works as a civilian attorney with the Office of the General Counsel for the Department of the Navy. Nicolle has been a member of MSJDN since 2017, serving on the pro bono committee and as the co-director for Virginia’s State Licensing Committee. Nicolle also volunteers her time as the co-chair of the Wills For Heroes program with the Virginia State Bar Young Lawyers Conference, as the board secretary for the Military Spouse Advocacy Network, and as a founding board member for Project Makeover, Inc. Currently, Nicolle resides in Norfolk, Virginia with her husband, a Marine Corps reservist, and their two rescue pups, Casper and Josie Belle.
Homefront to Hired Director: Mariya Volzhskaya
Mariya is an Employment and Labor attorney with the Army JAG where her work involves EEO and labor issues in the civilian labor force at an Army installation. She graduated from Georgia State University in 2005 and Tulane University Law School in 2012. Mariya began her legal career as a civil litigator in Chicago and moved on to launch her own education and family advocacy practice after a PCS to Rota, Spain. Now in Washington, DC, Mariya is enjoying the return to full-time employment in a new to her area of law. From the beginning of her legal career, MSJDN has been a rich source 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 weaving, cooking, and ballroom dancing.
Pro Bono Director: Megan Kelley
Megan is an alumni of the University of Georgia and Florida Coastal School of Law in Jacksonville. She is currently licensed to practice law in Florida (since 2014) and Georgia (since 2016). Megan is a former prosecutor and journalist for Ms. JD. She presently resides in Columbus, Georgia with her two bullmastiffs. In her spare time, Megan enjoys volunteering, working with animals, and spending time outdoors.
Federal Government Hiring 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.
At Large Director: Sarah Lee Ahn
Sarah is excited to be joining the MSJDN Board after years of being a fan out on the bleachers. A southern California native, Sarah started her legal practice as a public defender for L.A. County. Then the real adventure started when she married her husband, Eddie, and the Army. After the Army sent them crisscrossing the country multiple times, her husband is now with the Army National Guard as an Active Guard Reservist (AGR) which has allowed their family including daughter, twin boys, and min-beagle to remain in D.C. for the past five years. Sarah is currently the Senior Counsel for the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) under DHS in their administrative law, general law division. Before CISA, she was with the Office of General Counsel (OGC) at DHS HQ and also with the Army JAG Corps as a civilian attorney, working in procurement and fiscal law matters. Sarah feels quite fortunate to have been able to sustain a legal career despite multiple moves but also understand the stress of having to look for a job year after year. According to Sarah, MSJDN has been more than a professional network–it’s been an emotional and social lifeline when you literally do not know any else who “gets it.” MSJDN “gets it,” and they help you get where you want to go!