Uprooting your life is never an easy task. Yet, military spouses and their families continually make the sacrifice far too frequently. Things get even more sticky when these men and women are lawyers.
With each state’s unique licensing requirements, practicing law in multiple states is quite the feat. Luckily, many states have made the process simpler for those married to active service men and women.
To date, according to the Military Spouse J.D. Network (MSJDN), 20 jurisdictions, including our very own Illinois, have already made accommodations for the military spouses. 18 more are currently working on formulating their own licensing rules.
This September, Kansas, was the most recent state to adopt a licensing rule for military spouses.
Rule 712A gives these lawyers an exemption from taking the Kansas Bar Exam to temporarily practice law in the state. To meet this exception, however, these men and women must meet a number of requirements.
Military spouses must have an active license to practice in at least one U.S. jurisdiction and reside in Kansas as a spouse of a member of the United States Military currently stationed in Kansas. He or she must meet all of the requirements laid out for attorneys in Kansas Supreme Court Rules 706 and 707 and pay a fee to practice. In addition, he or she must never have been suspended, disbarred, or subject to any disciplinary investigation either.
These military spouses must also be employed as an attorney in Kansas by or with another actively practicing Kansas lawyer in good standing. This Kansas lawyer will ultimately be responsible for the clients of the military spouse attorney.
The license remains effective as long as the person resides in Kansas, remains married to the military service member stationed in the state, and continues to be employed as an attorney.
Following in the footsteps of Kansas, North Dakota will be the next state to create a military spouse rule.
Effective October 1, 2016, Rule 3.3 of the North Dakota Admission to Practice Rules, gives the men and women married to military personnel a temporary license to practice in the state without having to take the North Dakota bar exam.
According to the rule, military spouses can apply for a certification that grants the lawyers permission to practice in the state. To apply, these men and women must submit an affidavit stating where the lawyer received his/her J.D., where he/she is admitted to practice, proof of good standing and notice of any disciplinary action, and whether he/she is familiar with the North Dakota Rules of Professional Conduct.
The military spouses must also submit a copy of the certification of legal relationship between the lawyer and service member, as well as, a copy of the service member’s military orders reflecting a permanent change of station to a military installation in North Dakota. Likewise, these men and women must also submit a fee.
Once certified, these military spouses practicing law in North Dakota must complete at least 45 hours of approved coursework in Continuing Legal Education during each three-year period they are certified, filing a report just as all other North Dakota attorneys do.
Stay tuned as more states continue to make accommodations for these men and women. Who knows, maybe your state will be next.