Elder law practice is an attractive area of law for many attorneys looking to get out of other areas of family law, or those who are passionate about helping people. There’s no question that this practice area can be one of the most personally and financially rewarding for lawyers.
Nearly 15 percent of the American population is comprised of adults ages 65 and over, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration. Approximately one in seven people is an elder, with that population projected to reach 98 million by 2060. That means there will be plenty of opportunity in elder law for years to come.
Despite this huge potential clientele, many new or transitioning elder law attorneys still struggle to attract clients. It’s important to understand the best ways to attract and retain elder law clients if you want to reap the benefits of this profession.
Speak their language
Being relatable is one of the key elements to attracting and keeping clients. That means speaking the same language as the clients that are in need of your services. If you start talking over their heads in the initial client meeting about Medicaid, wills and trusts or other issues, for example, you’re going to quickly lose their attention.
It’s important to hone your skills when it comes to presenting complex legal issues in a straightforward manner that’s easy for clients to understand. Never talk over your clients’ heads with legal jargon. It’s also important to remember that as an elder law attorney you won’t just be dealing with clients, but also with their family members and other representatives. With that in mind, it’s crucial to find a way to communicate effectively with everyone involved.
Communicating with clients in a way that shows you’re both knowledgeable and sincere will help you gain their trust and confidence. You will also need to communicate that you have a breadth of knowledge and won’t simply apply a one-size-fits-all solution to their unique estate-planning needs.
Referrals, referrals, referrals
Estate planning and other elder care issues are sensitive, and if you handle them with care you’ll quickly earn your clients’ trust and confidence. Build relationships with these clients and set yourself apart with a high level of service. The more you do, the more referrals you’ll get from happy clients who have their own network of friends and acquaintances who are are likely in need of your services.
While there are a number of additional tactics that play a key role in marketing and growing your elder law practice, none of those is a substitute for the power of positive word of mouth.
Your professional network is another key piece of the referral system. By being the best at what you do and making a name for yourself in your community you’ll quickly begin attracting clients through referrals from other professionals, including other attorneys, CPAs, or insurance agents. Elder law attorneys are still at an advantage because it’s not a saturated market and lots of professionals in other areas come into contact with people that need these services.
In our Symposium session, “Where are All of the Elder Law Clients,” we examine the unique opportunities this practice area provides and how to set yourself apart to build your professional and client network to increase referrals.