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  • November 3, 2014

    November 3, 2014   Practice Building Ideas

    I Want a Profitable Maintenance Plan in My Firm

    By Audrey Ehrhardt

    Successful law practices know that offering a maintenance plan to clients allows you to simultaneously accomplish three goals. First, you create a legal service that enables you to stay consistently involved with your clients and you can monitor the plan you’ve created to make sure it is implemented correctly. Second, you increase your firm’s profitability because a well-crafted maintenance plan creates a recurring stream of annual income in your practice. Third, with your client’s consent, the maintenance plan is an excellent tool to use in building successful relationships with third parties and decision markers involved with your clients. But can you successfully add the maintenance to your elder law practice? Let’s rephrase the question: how can you not? T... Read More


  • October 29, 2014

    October 29, 2014   Practice Building Ideas

    Practice Development Member Success Story: Katie May

    By Alisa Spirit of the Wind

    We are proud to bring another interview to our ElderCounsel and Office Management members from our blog series designed to share best practices, tips and tools members are using to build their elder law practices. This month I had the pleasure of interviewing Katie May, J.D., an elder law attorney with Huck Bouma, P.., one of the largest firms in the west Chicago region.  Katie spoke about the strategies and tools she uses in building a thriving law practice. One tool that she finds particularly effective in building interest in their practice, in terms of attracting new clients and in building referral sources is a "quiz". She uses her "quiz" with community groups such as healthcare professionals and financial planners along with a lighthearted PowerPoint present... Read More


  • October 16, 2014

    October 16, 2014   Practice Building Ideas

    Sorry, I am Waiting for a Crisis in my Law Practice

    By Audrey Ehrhardt

    The support office management gives a law practice usually goes unnoticed. For most of us, the development of an efficient office is too mundane to focus on in our busy legal careers. It’s also outside our comfort zone; we were trained to be lawyers, not business owners. We justify our decision to ignore the consistent development needed in our firms by making statements like “it’s working well enough right now” or “I can handle any crisis that comes my way” or “I will focus on office administration when I have time.” It’s the last statement that’s the killer.Busy lawyers never have time.We all have more to do on any given day than any other normal professional and certainly more import... Read More


  • October 1, 2014

    October 1, 2014   Practice Building Ideas

    Is Anyone Saving for Retirement?

    A recent survey by the Florida-based consumer financial services company Bankrate found that more than a third of Americans have not yet begun saving toward retirement. Alarmingly, this even included some people nearing the age at which thoughts of retirement ought to be front and center.   As reported by The Christian Science Monitor, the Bankrate survey found that 36 percent of adult haven’t saved anything for the day when they can “put down tools,” as a British expression puts it. The article explains that it isn’t just younger adults that are postponing savings. Many people who are nearing retirement age similarly have no retirement fund including 14% of Americans 65 and older and over 25% of Americans between ages 50 and 64.   “What concerns me... Read More


  • September 22, 2014

    September 22, 2014   Practice Building Ideas,   Medicaid Planning

    Hiring a Medicaid Paralegal: Creating Profits and Value for Your Elder Law Practice

    By Alisa Spirit of the Wind

    Following on the series of interviewing ElderCounsel and Office Management members to provide an opportunity for them to share success stories and tools that have worked particularly well for them, and offer tips for colleagues, this month I had the pleasure of interviewing Michael Luizzi with the Pierro Law Group in upstate New York. I spoke with Mike about his role as Medicaid and Long Term Care Paralegal at the Pierro Law Group and his journey to become a dedicated paralegal in this arena. We also discussed the benefits an elder law practice can realize through hiring a paralegal dedicated to this area of work and how attorneys can find qualified candidates for this position.   Mike’s Story Mike began in the Medicaid field by working as a Welfare Examiner in a local Departmen... Read More


  • September 18, 2014

    September 18, 2014   Practice Building Ideas

    Strategies for a Successful Retirement

    The early bird may well get the worm, but the person who begins saving for retirement early is almost assured of a comfortable nest egg.   “People who save enough money for a secure retirement often start saving at an early age and save consistently throughout their career,” according to a story in U.S. News and World Report by Emily Brandon. “It also helps to avoid taxes and fees whenever possible.”   The article goes on to offer 10 strategies that helped people succeed at saving for retirement. They include:Beginning to save for retirement in your 20s and 30s allows you to start generating valuable compound interest that will accumulate over decades.Set up a direct deposit from your paycheck to a 401(k), IRA, or taxable investment account, and learn to l... Read More


  • 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