Bill Text: NJ AR111 | 2014-2015 | Regular Session | Introduced


Bill Title: Urges New Jersey Supreme Court to adopt rules temporarily admitting attorney spouses of military service members to New Jersey Bar.

Spectrum: Slight Partisan Bill (Democrat 5-2)

Status: (Introduced - Dead) 2014-05-08 - Introduced, Referred to Assembly Military and Veterans' Affairs Committee [AR111 Detail]

Download: New_Jersey-2014-AR111-Introduced.html

ASSEMBLY RESOLUTION No. 111

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

216th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED MAY 8, 2014

 


 

Sponsored by:

Assemblyman  JOHN F. MCKEON

District 27 (Essex and Morris)

Assemblywoman  NANCY J. PINKIN

District 18 (Middlesex)

 

Co-Sponsored by:

Assemblymen Andrzejczak, C.A.Brown and Conaway

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Urges New Jersey Supreme Court to adopt rules temporarily admitting attorney spouses of military service members to New Jersey Bar.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

  


An Assembly Resolution urging the Supreme Court of New Jersey to adopt rules concerning temporary admission of certain attorneys to the New Jersey Bar.

 

Whereas, Military service members and their families face unique challenges as a result of their geographic instability, with service members moving an average of every two to three years, often with tours overseas; and

Whereas, National security dictates that military families move based on the needs of the United States government, with service members facing criminal penalties if they fail to report to a duty station as ordered; and

Whereas, These mandatory moves create hardships for military spouses and families; and

Whereas, The Military Spouse J.D. Network is an international network of legal professionals whose spouses are service members dedicated to improving the lives of their military families; and

Whereas, The Network is comprised of more than 880 members who are spouses of active-duty and retired Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine, and Navy service members as well as Reserve and National Guard spouses, all of whom face a particular hardship resulting from their status as attorneys; and

Whereas, Attorneys must be licensed in each state in which they practice, forcing military spouse attorneys to choose to either apply for and take the bar exam, on average, every two to three years, or live and work separately from their service member spouse; and

Whereas, Half of the Network's members have lived apart from their spouses in order to maintain a legal career, with one in five members having moved three or more times, and 41% having taken two more bar exams; and

Whereas, Licensing can cost between $4,000 and $5,000 for preparation materials and fees for each bar exam and can take up to a year or longer for the application, character and fitness review, bar examination, and processing; and

Whereas, Because of the time and expense involved, admission in another state may not be an option, especially since military spouse attorneys may have children for whom they care for alone, particularly when the service member spouse is deployed overseas; and

Whereas, New Jersey's legal community, employers, and citizens should recognize the sacrifices of military service members and their families by easing the licensing restrictions for qualified individuals, by encouraging employers to hire military spouses, by educating the public about the challenges facing military families, and by establishing a support network for military spouses; and

Whereas, Modification of rules for admission to the New Jersey Bar for military spouses would provide relief to military families by enabling military spouse attorneys to seek employment when their spouse has been stationed in New Jersey; and

Whereas, A beneficial rule change would provide for admission of a military spouse attorney who:

       Is admitted in another state and is in good standing in all jurisdictions in which the attorney is admitted.

       Has experience practicing in another state or is employed by or associated with a local attorney.

       Possesses the moral character and fitness required of all New Jersey applicants for admission.

       Is located in New Jersey due to military orders; and

Whereas, The New Jersey Supreme Court has made accommodations for other attorneys to practice in this State without taking the bar exam, including accommodations for in-house counsel, law professors, and pro hac vice advocates; and

Whereas, The Military Spouse J.D. Network previously submitted a rule proposal to the Chief Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court requesting a change to New Jersey Bar admission rules to permit admission without examination of qualified attorneys who are spouses of active-duty service members; and

Whereas, The Court established a Military Spouse Attorney Bar Admission Subcommittee to review the rule proposal and make recommendations; and

Whereas, The subcommittee considered the proposed rule change and the need for modification to admission rules to accommodate military spouse attorneys; however, after deliberation the subcommittee rejected any modification to admission rules; and

Whereas, The subcommittee stated numerous reasons for rejecting modification of the rules, including but not limited to the concern that providing for temporary admission of military spouses would open the door to reciprocity, which New Jersey does not permit; and

Whereas, To date, six states have adopted rules that provide for admission of military spouse attorneys, three of which either do not permit reciprocity for bar admission or do so only on a limited basis; and

Whereas, This State should recognize the commitment and sacrifice of military service members and their families; now, therefore,

 

     Be It Resolved by the General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

1.       The Supreme Court of New Jersey is respectfully requested to adopt court rules which provide for temporary admission of military spouse attorneys to the New Jersey Bar when a military spouse attorney:

       Is admitted in another state and is in good standing in all jurisdictions in which the attorney is admitted;

       Has experience practicing in another state or is employed by or associated with a local attorney;

       Possesses the moral character and fitness required of all New Jersey applicants for admission; and

       Is located in New Jersey due to military orders.

 

2.       The Supreme Court of New Jersey is respectfully requested to adopt court rules which also provide that when the military orders relied upon by the military spouse for admission end, the individual must take the bar exam in order to continue practicing in this State.

 

3.       Copies of this resolution, as filed with the Secretary of State, shall be transmitted by the Clerk of the General Assembly to the Chief Justice and the Associate Justices of the Supreme Court of the State of New Jersey.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This resolution respectfully requests that the New Jersey Supreme Court adopt a rule permitting attorneys whose spouses are active-duty service members stationed in New Jersey to temporarily be admitted to the New Jersey Bar without requiring passage of the New Jersey Bar Exam. 

     Military service members and their families face unique challenges as a result of their geographic instability, with service members moving, on average, every two to three years, often with tours overseas.

     The Military Spouse J.D. Network is an international network of legal professionals dedicated to improving the lives of their military families and which advocates on behalf of legal professionals whose spouses are service members.  The Network is comprised of more than 880 members who are spouses of active-duty and retired Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine, and Navy service members as well as Reserve and National Guard spouses, all of whom face a particular hardship resulting from their status as attorneys. 

     Attorneys must be licensed in each state in which they practice forcing spouses of service members to either choose to apply for and take the bar exam an average of every two to three years, or live and work separately from their service member husband or wife. 

     Half of the Network's members have lived apart from their spouses in order to maintain a legal career, with one in five members having moved three or more times, and 41% having taken two more bar exams. 

     Licensing can cost between $4,000 and $5,000 for preparation materials and fees for each bar exam, and can take up to a year or longer for the application, character and fitness review, bar examination, and processing.  Because of the time and expense involved, admission in another state may not be not an option, especially since military spouse attorneys may have children for whom they care for alone, particularly when the service member spouse is deployed overseas.

     New Jersey's legal community, employers, and citizens should recognize the sacrifices of military service members and their families by easing the licensing restrictions for qualified individuals, by encouraging employers to hire spouses of military service members, by educating the public about the challenges facing military families, and by establishing a support network for military spouses. 

     Modification of the rules for admission to the New Jersey Bar for military spouses would enable military spouse attorneys to seek employment when their spouse has been stationed in New Jersey.  This resolution urges the New Jersey Supreme Court to adopt rules that would provide for admission of a military spouse attorney who:

       Is admitted in another state and is in good standing in all jurisdictions in which they are admitted.

       Has experience practicing in another state or is employed by or associated with a local attorney.

       Possesses the moral character and fitness required of all New Jersey applicants for admission.

       Is located in New Jersey due to military orders.

     The resolution urges the New Jersey Supreme Court to also adopt rules that provide that when the military orders relied upon for temporary admission end, the military spouse attorney must take the bar exam in order to continue practicing in this State.  It should be noted that the New Jersey Supreme Court has made accommodations for other attorneys to practice in this State without taking the bar exam, including accommodations for in-house counsel, law professors, and pro hac vice advocates. 

     The Military Spouse J.D. Network previously submitted a rule proposal to the Chief Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court requesting a change to New Jersey Bar admission rules to permit admission without examination of qualified attorneys who are spouses of active-duty service members. 

     The court established a Military Spouse Attorney Bar Admission Subcommittee to review the rule proposal and make recommendations.  After consideration of the rule and the need for modification to accommodate military spouse attorneys, the subcommittee rejected any modification to the admission rules. The subcommittee stated numerous reasons for rejecting the proposed rules, including but not limited to the concern that providing for temporary admission of military spouses would open the door to reciprocity, which New Jersey does not permit. 

     To date, six states have adopted rules that provide for admission of military spouse attorneys, three of which either do not permit reciprocity for bar admission or do so only on a limited basis.

     This State should recognize the commitment and sacrifice of military service members and their families.  It is the belief of the sponsor that passage of this resolution will help to raise awareness by New Jersey's citizens, its legal community, and employers of the impact of military service on service members and their families, the need to educate the public about the challenges facing military families, and the importance of providing a support network for military service members and their families.

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