IF YOU need an electrical job done you don’t get a plumber, you choose someone who knows what they are doing because they do it every day.
Similarly, generalist solicitors who do conveyancing, personal injury claims and criminal law, are not the experts in elder law.
Lawyers for seniors, or elder lawyers, are trained by life and years of practice, to offer specialised advice covering the range of legal issues that affect families in their senior years.
Clients of a certain age tend to be “old school” in terms of values. Trust is vital.
While cost is, of course, always important, elder law clients tend to look for professionals –lawyer, doctor, accountant – as longer-term trusted advisors.
They are less transactional, less focused on changing from supplier to supplier, and more focused on developing a relationship of trust, integrity, and familiarity. The key is expertise, with empathy.
This is not a time for mediocre decisions, or advice and the internet is not a panacea for knowledge on all the issues that elder clients may encounter.
Specialist advice, mindful not only of the law but also of client needs, is essential.
Elder lawyers need to be focused on the same old school values of their clients and offer them the reliability and comfort of knowing that every phone call is not being billed, every event is not recorded on a time sheet, and that a global, rather than transactional approach is taken to inquiries.
In short, don’t choose a generalist to do specialist work.
Elder clients are not files, not numbers, they are people, who should be treated with the dignity and respect accorded those who have built this country and are simply embarking on another part of their life journey.