I was very pleased at the recent news that life is getting easier for attorneys who are the spouses of active duty military. Thanks to the hard work of the Military Spouses JD Network, or MSJDN, 31 states permit spouses of active duty military to practice law for a limited amount of time without being formally licensed in those states. According to recent news Pennsylvania and California are also considering rules that would open their states to the spouses of active duty military.

This is great news, long overdue and, frankly, a sign of positive regulatory change that recognizes the way Americans live and work today. I’ll give a quick hat tip to Carolyn Elefant who suggested (rightly, in my opinion) that regulators would be wise to consider expanding this rule beyond military spouses.

However, for those of you who have been following along here on the LAWCLERK blog, I’ve been writing on the regular (here, here, and here) about how tech and the internet are making it easier to access expertise that was difficult and expensive to procure.

Spouses of active duty military, such as members of MSJDN, are a textbook case of the kind of expertise that hiring lawyers can access through marketplaces like LAWCLERK. As was noted in the piece about Pennsylvania linked to above or on the MSJDN website attorney-spouses of active duty military face challenging regulatory restrictions. They may be physically stationed in State (or country) A for only a short period of time before quickly being transferred to State (or country) B. Problem is, the attorney spouse finished law school, took the bar, and became licensed in State C. Pre-internet these rapid transfers and deployments made it almost impossible for attorney spouses to make a living and develop their careers. Post-internet it’s easier but by no means a breeze. While licensing accommodations are indeed a regulatory way to solve this problem marketplaces like LAWCLERK can help too.

Using LAWCLERK an attorney can draft documents and briefs, perform legal research, and complete other freelance lawyer tasks from anywhere – including beyond the borders of the United States (a problem that regulatory reform isn’t solving in the short-term) – all without concern about licensing restrictions. This is because, as I’ve written here, freelance attorneys hired on the LAWCLERK platform are hired as paraprofessionals and not as lawyers. This means that any freelance attorney, anywhere can work for any hiring attorney anywhere. Further, recent LAWCLERK feature Build A Team gives hiring lawyers on the platform the ability to “favorite” and give preference to certain lawyers they’ve worked with before, such as military spouses, so that they can return to those attorneys again and again.

Regulatory reform to improve professional development opportunities for the practicing attorney military spouses is crucial. And thanks to MSJDN in 31 – hopefully 33 including Pennsylvania and California soon – that reform has already come. However, for that last 19 (and all the rest too) LAWCLERK provides a way right now for the military spouse to find work anytime from anywhere, regardless of which state, or even country, they happen to be in!

Dan Lear

Dan Lear


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