With eight years of experience practicing elder law, Stephanie is no stranger to the field. She has established herself as a solo practitioner, Stephanie A. Buffa, Esq. Attorney at Law, in the state of New York and now utilizes an ElderCounsel membership to better help the clients she serves.
We recently sat down with Stephanie to discuss her journey to becoming an elder law attorney. Listen to her story now, or continue reading, to see how ElderCounsel membership has benefited her elder law practice and professional development.
Unlike many attorneys who find themselves curious about elder law after years of practicing in a similar field, Stephanie knew right away that this was what she wanted to do. Prior to attending law school, her family was introduced to elder law after her grandmother was in a car accident and needed crisis Medicaid planning.
Stephanie watched how the aftermath of the accident unfolded for her grandmother. She saw the emotional impact one unexpected event had on the people she loved and knew this was her calling. After graduating, she started practicing elder law and now supports members of her community through similar legal and emotional crises.
Before joining ElderCounsel, Stephanie was running her practice by herself and was solely responsible for updating and drafting documents for her clients. She recalled joining ElderCounsel as, “a hard leap to make,” because she was uncertain if it was the right choice for her practice. She continued to ask herself, “Is it worth it? Is the expense worth it? Am I really going to use it?” and put the decision off for a couple of years.
Eventually, Stephaine realized how much time she was spending updating her own documents to meet state and federal regulations and how that time could have been going towards supporting her clients’ needs. She took a more serious look at an ElderCounsel membership and ultimately found the software to be exactly what she needed to run her practice more efficiently. In the words of Stephanie, “I decided to take the dive in and get myself to a place where I had my documents up to date all of the time.”
After joining ElderCounsel in February of 2022, Stephanie was looking forward to attending the Elder Law Immersion and Practice-Building Camp in April to learn more about ElderDocx® software and the resources available through her membership. While she had initially hoped to attend in-person, Stephanie attended the camp virtually via Zoom. The Zoom option ended up being a great fit for her lifestyle as she was able to take full advantage of the Immersion Camp while also being home with her four children.
While many people may look at the Immersion Camps as an event exclusively for attorneys new to elder law, that is not the case. Stephanie enjoyed having the opportunity to explore the aspects of elder law she had been doing for so long that they became second nature and learn about completely new concepts in the field. Thinking back on the camp, Stephanie also appreciated learning about more than legal-technical rules and said, “I loved how they taught us to use some of the other parts of ElderCounsel.” This included discussing other educational opportunities, reviewing the ElderCounsel resources available online to enhance a law practice, and sharing how to utilize the Member Directory.
Finding a sense of community among ElderCounsel members has been one of Stephanie’s favorite parts of becoming a member herself. “I do find that a lot of attorneys that practice in the elder law area are always looking to help each other,” said Stephanie, “and it’s no different with the members of ElderCounsel.” Since joining, she has developed strong professional relationships with other attorneys practicing in New York who help her find new ways to help her clients.
As Stephanie continues her journey with ElderCounsel, she will have even more opportunities to connect with her colleagues, attend educational events, and utilize her experiences to help her clients and practice grow. Contact us today to learn more about Eldercounsel memberships and how we will support your professional development and law firm's goals.