Two Licenses Down, 48 To Go: Barriers to Milspouse Employment

The very first post to was basically this poster πŸ™‹πŸ½β€β™€οΈ lamenting the difficulties of continuing my career as a military spouse.

And now, here I stand (or rather, STOOD, because it happened this morning) taking my second attorney’s oath. This time in the State of Nebraska.That sentence makes it sound like it was easy. It wasn’t.

But it was a lot easier (and 50 percent less expensive) than it would have been in the past. That’s because this past March, the Supreme Court of the State of Nebraska approved an amendment to Neb. Ct. R. 3-119, that created a new class of law license applicants by motion — military spouse attorneys.

According to MSJDN, of which I’m a member, “This move by the [Nebraska] Supreme Court recognizes the unique mobility requirements of military families by granting a license to practice law to spouses of uniformed service members while on orders to the state.” Nebraska is the 21st jurisdiction to take military spouses into consideration in this way and other states are in the process of adopting similar rules. This is thanks, primarily, to reciprocity (in some instances), coupled with efforts of milspouses world-wide and organizations like MSJDN.

Nevertheless, barriers to licensing and, subsequently, employment persist.

In some cases, rule changes are made, but come with considerable restraints – like a requirement that milspouse attorneys be supervised when appearing in court. In the vast majority of cases, though, professional licenses still must be applied for after every single PCS (permanent change of station), which means lots of time spent on applications, tons of fees, and additional work to prepare for bar exams. This remains true no matter the military spouse’s education, skills, experience or how many exams may have been passed previously. And, of course, the resume gaps and multiple address changes necessitated by military life present yet another challenge. It should also be noted that milspouses who work in fields that may not require a license or certification also face similar issues.

The fact that milspouses continue to face so many barriers to employment and career continuation/advancement is baffling.

We should not be faulted or punished simply because we fell in love with servicemen (or women) who have chosen to selflessly sacrifice their lives for our country.

No, we didn’t choose this life, per se, nor did we “know what we were getting into to.” We just knew we’d finally found, in our spouse, the half of our heart we never knew was missing. We shouldn’t have to suffer because of it.

Anywho, as two different friends told both my husband and I in two entirely separate conversations, “Two licenses down, only 48 more to go.” Oh, wait…πŸ˜’

Here’s hoping for continued change.



Are you a military spouse? What barriers to employment have you faced and what are some tips and tricks you’ve learned to secure employment across moves?

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