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  • August 14, 2014

    August 14, 2014   Practice Building Ideas

    Practice Systems to Increase Profitability

    By Alisa Spirit of the Wind

    Meet Valerie Wade, Law Firm Administrator of the Pierro Law Group in New York. Valerie has been the Administrator for the firm for over 5 years, and in that time has worked to create systems to both build efficiency and profitability for the practice. I spoke with Valerie to gain an understanding of the value she has found in implementing the Office Management tools and to discover if she had any suggestions for other firms who want to increase efficiency, manage staff well and boost productivity. Employee management is an important issue in any law firm and Valerie has found the staffing resources in Office Management assist her in really streamlining and enhancing this area. For example, in the interview process it is imperative to understand the ability of the candidate to organize and... Read More


  • July 23, 2014

    A Fun Legal Education Conference? The 2014 Symposium Delivered

    By Alisa Spirit of the Wind

    This past week, ElderCounsel co-hosted the annual Planning for the Generations Symposium in Denver, CO with our sister organizations WealthCounsel and Advisors Forum. This year’s Symposium was especially robust with six full length precursors geared toward intensive learning on specific topics, over 30 breakout sessions along with many opportunities for participants to meet with vendors,  network and share insights. As an event that continues to grow, we were proud to have almost 400 attendees, and continue to receive rave reviews. But can such a powerful venue specifically focused on supporting attorneys in the elder law, special needs, estate planning and business law arenas also be fun? Was there fun to be had amidst all the great learning opportunities? Here are some of the... Read More


  • July 14, 2014

    July 14, 2014   Practice Building Ideas

    Opening the Conversation with Seniors about Aging & Care

    Most parents probably face some trepidation when preparing to have “the talk” with their preteen children. When those children are all grown up, it will most likely one day be their turn to have an equally uncomfortable “talk” with their aging parents.   “It can be difficult to start a conversation with a loved one about aging and the care they will need in the future,” according to CareConversations.org, a website devoted to just that topic. “If you are feeling overwhelmed or unsure of how to begin, remember that there are many different approaches you can take.”   The site offered these three possible ways to begin “the talk” with older parents, other relatives or just friends:   “Be specific. If you think y... Read More


  • July 3, 2014

    July 3, 2014   Practice Building Ideas

    My Symposium 2014 Checklist

    By Audrey Ehrhardt

    It’s no secret here at ElderCounsel that I love a checklist. Anything that gets me organized and ready to head out the door. I know to be my most effective (and prepared) I need at least a preliminary plan of attack in my hand or, more accurately, my smart phone task manager app.  So, of course, I have one for my upcoming trip to Symposium this year.    Our CEO, Valerie Peterson, knows my penchant for all things list-oriented and checked in with me yesterday about the status of what could potentially already be a mile long list. I let her know it was almost complete (after all I still have over a week to fine tune it) and it really isn’t that different from the checklist I used when I attended The Planning for the Generations Symposium as a practicing attorney.... Read More


  • July 1, 2014

    July 1, 2014   Practice Building Ideas

    Internet MD: How the internet can help your elderly clients

    As much as many older people may view the “InterWeb thingie” as something that’s leading to the downfall of society, they could really benefit by being on the Internet. Several studies are available that detail how social isolation in the elderly can be mitigated with internet connectivity.   “Retired people who use the Internet are about one-third less likely to suffer from depression, compared to those who do not go online,” according to a report on a study at a mental health website in England maintained by psychologist and author Jeremy Dean. “The new study also finds that the positive effects of the Internet were particularly strong for those who live alone.”   Another study, this one reported on the website of the National Institute... Read More


  • June 23, 2014

    June 23, 2014   Practice Building Ideas

    Systems to Increase the Bottom Line of Your Elder Law Practice

    By Alisa Spirit of the Wind

    Meet Nicole Wipp, an elder law attorney who is passionate not only about helping seniors and their families, but also about building an elder law practice that is robust and profitable.  As the Marketing Coordinator for ElderCounsel, I wanted to understand more about her background, her journey into elder law, and the tips she had for other elder law attorneys looking to grow their practices. Nicole originally practiced law as a litigator, and operated a successful litigation practice. The issue for her during this time was that she found litigation stressful and not particularly rewarding. As she notes, “Although I had achieved a level of success, I was miserable in this practice area.” A serial entrepreneur, Nicole also had experience in starting and operating other suc... Read More


  • June 17, 2014

    June 17, 2014   Practice Building Ideas

    Planning for Retirement – How Effective is the “Do-It-Yourself” Method?

    A recently large-scale study from Fidelity Investment, cited in a story in USA Today suggests that do-it-yourselfers adding a deck to the home pay more attention to detail than those handling retirement planning on their own. “About two-thirds of workers with 401(k)s are going it alone, managing their own investments,” the story said the study found.“ About half of those folks are unengaged, that is not taking an active role in managing their account, says a data analysis of 13 million participants in Fidelity Investments 401(k) plans across the country.” For the purposes of the Fidelity Investments study, an individual was considered not to be engaged in his or her own retirement planning if they have not made a fund change in the past two years, sought a... Read More


  • June 9, 2014

    June 9, 2014   Practice Building Ideas

    Most would greatly prefer 'aging in place'

    As our population grows older, the aging process often forces people to rely more and more upon the help of others. Instead of being self-reliant, a person may need to ask for help with, or even give up, certain activities. This can include giving up yard work that requires stooping, heavy lifting, or recreational activities such as long-distance running. One thing most people don’t want to give up, however, is something essential to the American character: independence. One article from the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies offers many pertinent facts related to this trend.  “Indeed, surveys show that most people want to live independently in their current homes and communities as they age—a preference popularly called ‘aging in place.’ In a 2010... Read More


  • May 12, 2014

    May 12, 2014   Practice Building Ideas

    Why May is a Great Month to Market Your Elder Law Services

    By Valerie Peterson

    As noted in our blog from earlier this month, May is Elder Law Month.  This is an opportune time for elder law attorneys across the country to recognize that special class of individuals in their communities in ways that can also generate business.  It’s Not Too Late!  Ideas for Marketing Your Services This Month   1.      Hold an open house at your office to honor seniors in your community.   Inviting clients and referral sources to an open house in your office accomplishes several goals.  It keeps you on the minds of your clients, and when you invite them to bring a friend, you now have a new potential client with very little cost to you.  And, you have credibility because an existing client made the introduction (an... Read More


  • April 22, 2014

    April 22, 2014   Practice Building Ideas

    Venturing out…how to start (and succeed) in building your own Elder Law practice

    By Alisa Spirit of the Wind

    Nancie Dorjath is not new to elder law, or even to helping seniors. She grew up in a part of Chicago where living in multi-generational homes and being raised by grandparents was commonplace, and where helping seniors in the neighborhood was a natural part of the day.   When Nancie graduated from law school, she began her career in estate planning, as she enjoyed listening to clients regarding their needs and then developing the appropriate documents to accomplish their goals. About 10 years ago she transitioned into practicing elder law, and has never looked back. The joy for her is in helping seniors and making a difference in their lives.  A little over 2 months ago, Nancie decided to strike out on her own. A large part of this decision was realizing that she could be eff... Read More