According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the legal industry is expected to grow 6% over the next decade. Becoming an attorney can be a rewarding career if you are willing to put in the time it takes to achieve your goals.
Becoming an attorney typically requires a bachelor’s degree and an additional three years of higher education to obtain a Juris Doctor and requires you to be licensed to practice. You can have a focus in many areas, such as criminal, corporate, marital and environmental law. If you are considering a legal career but have not finished school, consider employment in a legal setting as a legal assistant or paralegal as you work toward your goal.
Lawyers may decide to progress their career and become judges. Most judges obtain their positions through appointment or election, so it is critical to build the right connections. If becoming a judge is the right career choice for you, use your military networks to help build the political support you will need. You can also view the CareerOneStop Professional Association Finder tool and The Federal Judicial Center to find a professional association that can provide you with the information and connections you might need to advance your career.
Finding a job
The Military Spouse Employment Partnership, a targeted recruitment and employment solution for spouses and partner companies, connects military spouses to available job openings and may be a great starting point for finding employment as a lawyer. Some MSEP partners that employ legal professionals include ManPower Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Wells Fargo.
While relocation is certainly a challenge to practicing law, you can maintain a legal career on the move. The Military Spouse JD Network is an international network of legal professionals who advocate for licensing accommodations for military spouses between states, provide education about the challenges facing military families, encourage the hiring of military spouses and provide a support network. Visit their website and join the organization. In doing so, you can help eliminate unnecessary obstacles preventing spouses from obtaining rewarding and portable careers in law.
States with reciprocity
Due in large part to the efforts of the MSJDN, 34 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands have military spouse attorney licensing accommodations and efforts are underway in 11 other states. Visit MSJDN to see if your state is included in these accommodations. The accommodations allow military spouses who have passed the bar in one of these states and have relocated due to their service member’s military orders to practice law in these states.
For additional information on what individual states are doing to accommodate licensure portability, visit the Military State Policy Source website. Here you can find information about key issues that affect service members and military families, and efforts being made to address those issues on a state level. You can also visit the Military Spouse Interstate License Recognition Options for up-to-date legislation and licensure information for your specific state.
If you move due to a PCS, your service branch can now help reimburse licensure and certification costs up to $1,000. Each service has its own procedures for reimbursement, so be sure you know what your branch requires.
Having a strong and healthy network is an important part of any career and can be particularly crucial for military spouses in the legal profession.
- Join MSJDN. Members represent all ranks, all branches of the military and many different career fields. Connect with other legal professionals and hear their success stories. You can also share your own.
- Get involved in your community. Join your local Chamber of Commerce and network with other business professionals and entrepreneurs in your town.
- Attend seminars and professional events. Seminars, conferences and professional events are a great way to stay current on the trends of your industry and interact with other professionals who share similar ideas and passions.
To explore additional information related to starting your career as a lawyer, check out the Research Occupations tool on MySECO. If you need additional information on obtaining the proper license or certification as part of your portfolio to practice in your state, visit the Advantages of Licensure article in the Education, Training and Licensing lifecycle stage of MySECO. You can also speak with a SECO career coach by calling Military OneSource at 800-342-9647 to discuss any questions or concerns you may have. For additional guidance, use the Live Chat feature on the MySECO website.