Today is Military Spouse Appreciation Day. Traditionally celebrated on the Friday before Mother’s Day in the United States, it also falls in the middle of National Military Appreciation Month. As an active duty military spouse, it is my distinct honor to share some thoughts and reflections as we at Goodman Allen Donnelly pause to mark this special occasion.
As I have often remarked, I have been a military spouse for almost as long as I have been an attorney; I was first licensed to practice law in 2009 and married my service member husband in 2010. Both roles have been defining, challenging, and deeply rewarding.
You might notice that I said “first licensed” to practice law above. That is because, as is the case with many military spouse attorneys and professionals, I have been licensed several times over while moving around the country in support of my husband’s military career. Many might view that as a burden, and in some ways—certainly from a financial and time perspective—it has been. Taking multiple licensing exams and obtaining (and maintaining) multiple professional licenses comes at a cost to many military spouse professionals, and it is one of the reasons I was so pleased to see President Biden highlight the Joining Forces initiative and his administration’s efforts to ease these burdens and ameliorate barriers to military spouse employment in his Proclamation on Military Spouse Appreciation Day this year.
For me, however, my journey as a military spouse attorney has been a true blessing. In addition to allowing me to meet so many incredible military spouses and to form the sorts of lasting friendships mentioned in the President’s Proclamation, it has ultimately led me to find my professional “home” at Goodman Allen Donnelly. As has been true since I landed at the firm in 2016, I am proud to work for a firm that supports military service members and military spouses in many ways. For example, a third of the firm’s total employees, including a third of the attorneys, are military-connected in some way. Several are themselves military veterans. Several others are married to active duty or recently retired service members. Still others are children, grandchildren, parents, or siblings of service members or veterans. The firm also has an entire team of exceptional attorneys and staff dedicated entirely to serving veterans and their families. If one is looking for a firm that “walks the walk” of supporting our military families, look no further than Goodman Allen Donnelly.
But for my journey as a military spouse, I might never have found myself in Hampton Roads, which my husband, children, and I have been thrilled to call home for the past seven years. Equally important, I might never have landed at Goodman Allen Donnelly where I get the privilege every day of working with the best team of lawyers, paraprofessionals, and support staff and of defending Virginia’s healthcare providers and the invaluable work they do.
So, while not easy, mine is a journey for which I am appreciative each day. And today, as our Nation takes a moment to pause in appreciation of all military spouses, I too pause in appreciation and recognition of my fellow military spouses—my colleagues, friends, and those around the world supporting our military members. We are a strong, determined, and resilient group—all qualities that make us better friends, spouses, parents, and employees, among countless other roles. I know that I speak for the firm when I say: thank you, military spouses. Today and every day.