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California Lawyers Association

CA Advances Military Spouse Attorney Licensing

California has joined 36 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands in adopting a new attorney licensing rule aimed at making it easier for military spouses to practice law without taking the California Bar Exam.

The new rule approved by the California Supreme Court creates a new special admissions category specific to military spouse attorneys, who are forced to move frequently when the military transfers their station assignments.

“We’re excited to have it. It’s a step forward,” said Elizabeth Jamison of the Military Spouse JD Network, who led the effort for the new rule. Beginning in March, military spouses may register to practice law in California as long as they meet the rule’s requirements, including being sponsored and supervised by a California attorney. Jamison is concerned that the supervision requirement might be onerous for some.

“If folks are willing to serve as a supervising attorney – or maybe they’re looking to hire and would like to include a military spouse – they can reach out to us,” she said.

San Diego has one of the highest concentrations of people who could benefit from the new law and at least one person has already applied for registration, she said.  

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