NASHVILLE – On June 1, the Supreme Court of Tennessee along with service members from Fort Campbell celebrated the Revised Military Spouse Rule (Rule 7).
In December 2015, the Supreme Court of Tennessee made changed to its rules regulating lawyers and now allows military spouses licensed to practice law in other states to temporarily practice law in Tennessee. The rule took effect Jan. 1, 2016.
Kentucky pass a similar ruling, which also took effect Jan. 1, 2016.
For most military Families the day they receive orders to a new location is a day filled with a range of emotions. Excitement to start a new adventure is often followed by the question for some spouses of “what am I going to do next?” This is especially true for spouses who practice law.
“With the implementation of the military spouse attorney rule, we want to help soften the already heavy burden that these military families carry. We want to eliminate the need for you to choose among three undesirable options,” said Chief Justice Jeffrey S. Bivins of the Tennessee Supreme Court. “Not only does this rule help military Families, but the state of Tennessee receives the benefits of the excellent legal minds our military spouses. These attorneys are now able to properly utilize their many areas of expertise this providing a valuable service to the citizens of our state.”
Bivins is touting Tennessee’s rule as a model rule for other states.
Typically lawyers go to law school and then take a bar examination in the state they wish to practice law in.
The bar examination is an extensive test, requiring potential lawyers to spent a great deal of time studying specifically for this exam. The thought of having to retake this exam every three to four years is a challenge for most.
Before the new law was passed spouses who practice law had three options. One, stay in the state in which they are currently licensed and continue practicing law. Two, start studying for the new state’s bar exam, or three give up practicing law all together.
Tennessee is the 24th state to pass similar laws that allow the spouses of active duty service members the ability to practice law in the state in which they reside because of their spouses’ military obligations.
Josie Beets, immediate past president of Military Spouse J.D. Network, said her organization has identified more than 1,200 military spouse attorneys in the U.S. and around the world with about 12 spouses living in Tennessee.
“So far, four people have been admitted under this new rule, which has been in effect for about 18 months.” Beets said.
This new Tennessee rule of allowing military spouse attorneys to practice their profession while being able to support their loved ones as they defend our nation is just one of the initiatives that the Army strongly supports.
For more information about career opportunities for spouses of services members visit militaryonesouce.mil.