BY MIRIAM AYOUB, LISA KREMER, AND MEREDITH GRIGG
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Q. What is the most valuable benefit members get from joining your Section that they can’t get anywhere else?
Our members get legislative and case law updates; an active list serve of helpful, experienced practitioners; twice-yearly CLEs on timely topics; and Section legislative advocacy related to important elder law topics and issues.
Q. What is a recent Section accomplishment or current project that you are excited about?
Our Section recently made a formal comment in opposition to ESHB 1197, a bill proposed but not passed in the last legislative session that would have amended Washington’s health care informed consent law by adding to the list of individuals who could provide health care consent for a patient. It was the consensus of the Section’s Executive Committee that the bill, if approved, would not benefit our vulnerable population, but instead would increase the potential for exploitation, undue influence, confusion, ambiguity, and liability. Our Section also worked together early in the pandemic to share COVID-19-era court and legal practice procedures to reduce health risks and comply with state law.
Q. What opportunities does your Section provide for members who are looking for a mentor or for somebody to mentor?
In the past, our Section held in-person networking events with mentoring opportunities such as “speed mentoring,” where mentees were assigned to a mentor. We are looking forward to getting our mentorship programs up and running again as state orders allow in-person gatherings. In the meantime, our active list serve is a valuable tool for new attorneys looking to connect with a mentor.
In addition, the Elder Law Section supports and implements the annual Elder Law Summer Internship, which provides a law student from one of the three Washington law schools the opportunity to serve very low-income seniors on a pro bono basis. This internship was created to honor Peter Greenfield, who devoted his professional life to the service of seniors and critical legal and policy issues in the elder law field. The selected student works at Northwest Justice Project’s Seattle branch with a supervising attorney, handling a multitude of legal and administrative issues impacting low-income seniors.
Q. What advice do you have for building a successful practice in the area of law related to your Section and how does membership in your Section help do that?
Elder Law offers attorneys the chance to engage high-level legal theory with practical legal assistance and planning that protects elders, honors relationships, and preserves human dignity. It is truly an amazing and fulfilling practice area. In addition, the need for attorneys in this area is great, as the number of elderly individuals continues to grow. Our Section supports its members and members support one another. Not only are there incredibly talented and knowledgeable elder law attorneys in our Section, but our Section’s members are known for collaborating with and assisting one another.
Q. In addition to membership in your Section, what are the best ways to stay up on the developing law in this practice area?
We recommend attending one of the Section’s biannual Elder Law CLEs or connecting with national organizations like Justice in Aging or the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys.
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The Section membership year is Jan. 1 – Dec. 31. For more information and to join the Criminal Law Section, or any other Section, visit https://wsba.org/legal-community/sections/sections.