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Answering the Call for Elder Law Education

Elder law is quickly becoming an appealing and rewarding area for lawyers looking to expand their practices. It’s growing so rapidly, in fact, that the availability of elder law resources often fails to keep pace.

An article in Bifocal, a journal of the American Bar Association, highlights findings of a national survey of elder law attorneys, pointing to the growth of the elder law field and how greatly this area of practice would benefit from improved attorney education.

Of the attorneys who responded to the survey, an overwhelming majority — 93 percent —  agreed that elder law is a growth field. This rapid growth is great news for new attorneys and attorneys looking to add a new area to their practice: 68 percent of the respondents report that there are “ample job opportunities” within the elder law community.

The survey also supported the notion that elder law is a satisfying area of practice, with  attorneys reporting a high level of satisfaction based on interpersonal interaction and the ability to truly make a deep and meaningful impact on the lives of their clients.

Elder law keeps attorneys on their toes in a way that is exciting, challenging, and satisfying.

Attorneys who include elder law in their practice see clients with many different types of needs; the wide variety of legal concerns the aging population faces make elder law a truly multi-disciplinary practice.

A call for elder law education in law school

The vast majority of attorneys polled reported having similar areas of focus within their practices, addressing such client concerns as end-of-life issues, Medicaid planning strategies and coverage, estate planning, and guardianship.

The growing client base to which these issues pertain increases the need for educational programs that can introduce attorneys to this highly satisfying and profitable field, and provide them with a solid foundation for success. Over 90 percent of the attorneys who participated in the survey agreed that law schools should offer elder law education.

Those surveyed indicated that practitioners of elder law would especially benefit from training in client interviewing and counseling, practice management, and dispute resolution in law school. Attorneys also described a need for expanded continuing legal education offerings, particularly due to the ever-changing nature of the laws and regulations under which elder law attorneys operate.

To improve educational opportunities for elder law attorneys, the Bifocal article suggests that law schools offer these elder law courses to J.D. students, integrate the issues facing the aging population in their general curriculum, and offer their students a concentration in elder law. It also suggests the expansion of elder law CLE offerings. Finally, these educational programs should all include training in interacting with clients — a skill that is crucial for success in an elder law practice.

ElderCounsel has been answering the call for more continuing legal education opportunities in elder law since 2008. Our attorney education courses not only teach the legal technical rules, but how to implement those rules, and how to attract and serve clients. With a unique blend of legal technical and practice-building courses, our goal is to get new elder law attorneys up to speed quickly with Immersion Courses offered in the areas of Elder Law, Special Needs Planning and Veterans Pension Planning.  

We offer over 50 hours of free CLE and on-demand education to our member attorneys, making content delivery flexible and the most high touch platform. ElderCounsel education is centered on premium education and practical strategies that elevate your practice. For more information about ElderCounsel’s courses, email info@eldercounsel.com.

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