Posts Tagged ‘elder’

The Estrin Report on Effective Client Communications

Monday, December 2nd, 2013

Chere Estrin’s newest “The Estrin Report” on effective client communication starts with a great quote from George Bernard Shaw, “”The single biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” Chere sets out and explains five important tips for improving communications with clients and more. Here are the bullet points on the five tips, but you should read the entire article:

1. Let clients speak for themselves.
2. Try to take a no-blame approach. Don’t be afraid to acknowledge mistakes.
3. Show respect.
4. Don’t volunteer others. Speak only for yourself.
5. Use every opportunity for learning, connection and insight.

Client communication is a fairly frequent subject on this blog, and in both The Empowered Paralegal: Effective, Efficient, and Professionaland The Empowered Paralegal: Working with the Elder Client.  The essence of client communication is understanding that it is not enough to see that merely that the client hears or reads the communication. We must take effective steps to see that the client understands that communication. This frequently means overcoming barriers to communication. There are some barriers that are always there. There are others that pertain to particular groups of clients or to individual clients, or are greater obstacles to understanding with some clients. Consider this except from The Empowered Paralegal: Working with the Elder Client on accommodating the diminished hearing and eyesight that so often accompanies aging:

When communicating with elder clients it is often necessary to adjust communications to accommodate diminished hearing or vision. In general, simply increasing volume is not a good answer because it increases the volume of the sounds a person can hear as well as those he or she
cannot. As stated above this is one problem with the use of hearing aids. If a client is having difficulty distinguishing speech or other desired sound from background or other undesired sound, simply increasing the volume of all sound will not help, and may make the problem worse. Finally, shouting and other means of raising volume can lead to confidentiality problems. It increases the chance that the conversation will be overheard by other persons. This is especially true when we must meet our client outside of the office—in their home, a hospital, nursing home, or other assisted living facility.

If the solution implemented to accommodate the loss of hearing is increased volume, then we must also adopt some means of maintaining confidentiality. Sound-proofing rooms is quite expensive but provides the additional benefit of screening out distractions. Certainly we should consider rugs (well secured so as not to create a tripping hazard) and wall décor that deaden sound. However, we can take simpler steps such as conducting conferences in rooms detached from waiting rooms and other high traffic locations. In addition, we can follow the
lead of therapists and use “white noise”machines outside of conference rooms.

Fortunately, simply raising the volume is not the only and often is not the best way to accommodate our clients’ diminished hearing. Gerontologists inform us that there are ways to communicate that compensate for much loss of hearing. Many of the techniques are helpful in ensuring understanding of our communications with any client. Those methods include:

• Face the person and maintain eye contact. This minimizes distractions and provides non-verbal clues as to what is being said as well as directing the sound at the listener.
• Sit somewhat close to and at eye level with the listener. Large, fancy conference tables are nice, but it may be better to sit next to the listener rather than across the table. Placing the client at the end of the long side of the table and sitting at the closest point on the short side allows closeness without the need to turn uncomfortably to the side to maintain eye contract. Watch the client’s body language for signs that you are too close for their comfort.
• Do not cover your mouth or face with your hands or objects such as papers while speaking. This muffles and deflects the sounds and creates an unnecessary distraction.
• Speak slowly and clearly but not in an exaggerated way.
• Minimize distractions, especially background noises. Again, sound proofing a room can be excessively expensive, but distractions can be minimized by holding conversations away from high-traffic areas, using “white noise” machines, and décor that deadens sound. Sometimes it is as simple as remembering to close the door. “White noise” machines can be purchased in sizes that fit in a briefcase and brought to out-of-office meetings with the client.
• Speak in a lower tone of voice. This is not as counter-intuitive as it may seem. We are not talking about lowering volume but tone of voice, thus conveying our words in frequencies within the listener’s ability to receive. Speak as you normally would in terms of cadence and modulation.
• Especially important information should be repeated often and in different ways. If the client fails to catch the point due to sound distortion, distraction, background noise or the like when it is stated one way, they may understand the same point when it stated a different way.
• Speak from a checklist or agenda so that points are made in a clear, systematic way. Provide the client with a written checklist of the topics covered and/or specific information conveyed such as items they must bring with them to the next meeting.

I suggest you literally put yourself in the place of the client. Sit in your conference room at different times of day and listen to the background noise. Do this not from the seat you normally take, but the seat or seats normally assigned to clients. Sit outside your conference room and listen for indications that conversations can be overheard. Conduct conversations with earplugs that
deaden, but do not eliminate sound. Ask the other person to try the techniques listed above in various ways and settings to see how they work from the perspective of the listener with diminished hearing capacity. Accommodating our clients’ diminished hearing capacity is generally not difficult if we make ourselves aware of it and implement reasonable steps in response to it. It helps not only the client but the entire legal team. Effective and efficient communication among the members of the team is essential in order for any
member of the team to be able to perform at his or her best.

(Excerpted from The Empowered Paralegal: Working with the Elder Client scheduled for publication by Carolina Academic Press in September, 2010. Internal footnotes omitted.)

 

 

The Supervising Attorney as Brother’s Keeper

Tuesday, October 30th, 2012

Yes, it’s been a while, but No I’ve not been back in the hospital. Thanks to all those who asked. I’ve been traveling to conferences and back to Maine and, thus, getting further and further behind in my regular work, so I’ve not been blogging in order to catch up. I’m just now getting to reading email and postings on other blogs from the last few weeks.

One topic that caught my eye was a pair of posts regarding misconduct by legal professionals. Normally when I spot a story regarding embezzlement by a paralegal I go on a bit of rant about the failure of the supervising attorney to supervise the paralegal. After all, the paralegals are not supposed to work independently. I felt somewhat vindicated in this position when I read the ABA Journal post on an attorney who was reprimanded for failing to supervise his own brother, even though he reported his brother’s embezzlement:

Peter J. Galasso, a New York lawyer, should have been his brother’s keeper, the New York Court of Appeals found Tuesday.

Anthony Galasso was the office manager at the firm that was then known as Galasso & Langione, and Peter Galasso told authorities that his brother embezzled millions of dollars from client funds, Newsday reports. Nevertheless, the state’s high court found that Peter Galasso did not properly supervise the work of his brother, who spent the money on Barbra Streisand tickets and a Mercedes-Benz, among other things.

So naturally I was ready to go on another tear when I saw this headline: “Paralegal pleads guilty to embezzling $311,000 from elderly client,” especially since it involved financial abuse an elder client – another area that easily rankles me (See Elder Clients and Elder Law category.)

But this one is a bit problematical. The paralegal was working at a law firm, but “Blood, 56, a paralegal at Hiscock & Barclay’s Buffalo offices … took on the task for the widow as a side job,” and began writing out checks from the widow’s accounts to herself. It’s not clear how this “side-job” came about. Certainly if the 77 year-old widow was a client of the firm and the side-job was known to the firm, a case could be made that there is still an obligation on the part of the firm to make sure its employee was not ripping off the client, but it is not a clear-cut case. The firm , “told The Buffalo News that the thefts from the heiress “occurred outside her employment” at the law firm. They also said she is “no longer employed by the firm.”

In the end, I have to agree with the widow: Trust, but verify,’ ” she said. She urged people who entrust others to keep track of their finances, even if they’re family members, to keep tabs on what’s going on. “Look at me,” she said. “I’m not a stupid bunny.” However, many elderly are not able to verify and do not have trusted family members to do it for them. So one can’t help but wonder whether the firm should have done more verifying in this case. I like to hear from anyone who knows more about the facts of this case and, of course, from any one who has a reasoned opinion on the issues it raises.

Elderly Legal Professionals Vulnerable as Other Elders

Thursday, April 14th, 2011

Regular readers of this blog are aware that my interest in Elder Law issues lead to The Empowered Paralegal: Working with the Elder Clientrather than the reverse. Of special importance to me is the unique role the legal team has in spotting elder abuse. Relating this particularly to paralegals I’ve noted their unique position to intervene especially when that abuse is caused by an attorney. Today’s post relates, however, to the vulnerability of the elderly that exists even when the elderly person is an attorney.

I have no information in that regard that a paralegal could have noticed or done anything to prevent the events on which this post focuses, but I include it today nevertheless primarily because it illustrates the point that members of the legal team are not exempt from the vulnerability that comes with aging:

Man Gets 46 Years in Elderly Ex-Lawyer’s Slaying, Expected to Testify Against Ex-Client Co-Defendant

Keith Allen said he held Carl Kuhn’s wrist until he could no longer feel the 82-year-old man’s pulse as a trusted ex-client, Terry Bratcher, allegedly held a pillow over the former Illinois criminal defense attorney’s face in his suburban Chicago home one day in 2009.

That was enough to support the 22-year-old Allen’s first-degree murder plea earlier this year, for which he was sentenced Monday to 46 years in prison, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Allen is expected to cooperate and potentially testify in the state’s case against Bratcher, 44, who is awaiting trial. Authorities say he and Bratcher went to Kuhn’s home near Barlett to steal firearms from his gun collection, but suffocated him to death when he refused to give them the code for his locked safe.

Earlier coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “Ex-Client Charged With Killing Lawyer; Death At First Thought Natural”

Fair warning to students in my fall class, “Law and Aging:” you will benefit from reading all posts in the “Elder Clients and Elder Law” category!

When the client marries at age 85 and in ill health…

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

A number of posts here lately have dealt indications that our elderly clients are being abused and the paralegal’s role in being aware of those indications. The most recent post noted that on occasion the issue arises out of conduct of the attorney with regard to the client. As if to emphasize my point, there’s this from Legal Profession Blog today:

A story posted today at SFGate.com describes a recent California disciplinary action:

A veteran Pacifica attorney is facing disbarment for allegedly duping an 85-year-old client into giving her $339,000, entering into a sham marriage with him and ignoring his will by having him cremated after his death.

Linda Lowney “took advantage of a lonely, sick old man” and thwarted his intent to transfer his estate to his nieces, Judge Pat McElroy of the State Bar Court said Friday.

She ordered the immediate suspension of Lowney, who has practiced law since 1978 and had no disciplinary actions on her record. The disbarment could be appealed to the state Supreme Court, but Lowney’s attorney, Jonathan Arons, said Tuesday he had little hope that such an appeal would succeed, despite his disagreement with the ruling.

“I think they (the court) misunderstood the relationship,” Arons said. “This was a marriage.”

The attorney was 54 when she married a man who was “85 and in poor health.”

According to SFGate:

Lowney also sued for a share of Tollefsen’s estate. A state appeals court ruled against her in 2009, suggested “financial abuse of elders” was involved and referred the case to the State Bar.

While I have no knowledge other than this, I suspect a paralegal was a witness in these matters!

h/t ABAJournal.com who notes:

Back in 2002, Linda Lowney drafted a will for her client, Thor Tollefsen, that provided for his estate to go to his sister and two nieces in Norway.

But by 2005 the 54-year-old California attorney had become involved with Tollefsen, 85. He gave her $339,000, with his nieces’ consent, and the two got married in January 2006, using a confidential license, reports the San Francisco Chronicle.

The Paralegal as Watchdog

Tuesday, March 8th, 2011

A recent post dealt with the paralegal’s unique position to assist in preventing elder abuse. As I point out in Working with the Elder Client nursing homes, family, and other caregivers are not the only source of abuse. Guardians are often implicated. Although not directly on point an ABAJournal.com post today reminds me that at times even lawyers can be involved in the mistreatment and mishandling of client funds amounting to abuse:

A former Winston & Strawn partner has reached an agreement that could pave the way for a guilty plea in connection with his work for a celebrity money manager.

Prosecutors told a Manhattan federal judge on Monday that the former partner, Jonathan Bristol, has reached an agreement in principle to resolve charges he laundered more than $20 million stolen from celebrity clients by convicted money manager Kenneth Starr, according to the New York Post, the New York Law Journal and the Am Law Daily. The money was allegedly laundered through attorney trust accounts.

I am not by any means suggesting that paralegals become a law office Nancy Drew or Hardy Boy. (A lot of my youth was spent with those books.) Indeed, even the term “watchdog” in the title to this post may be too strong. However, it is incumbent upon the professional paralegal to see can be seen and sometimes notice what is not there to be seen, make an appropriate record and when necessary “do the right thing.” Here’s an example from a previous post.

The Courage to Stop Elder Abuse

Sunday, March 6th, 2011

I do not normally reprint posts from other blogs in their entirety, but this one from ABAJournal.com is important and I don’t think they’ll mind:

Actor Mickey Rooney Says He Lacked Courage to Stop Financial Abuse

Actor Mickey Rooney told a congressional committee on Wednesday that for years he suffered in silence because he didn’t have the courage to seek legal help to stop a family member who was taking his money.

“If elder abuse happened to me, Mickey Rooney, it can happen to anyone,” the 90-year-old Rooney told the Senate Special Committee on Aging. Reuters, Bloomberg and the Associated Press have stories.

“My money was taken and misused. When I asked for information, I was told that I couldn’t have any of my own information,” Rooney said. “I was literally left powerless.”

Rooney didn’t identify the family member, but he has obtained a restraining order against his stepson, Christopher Aber, based on claims that Aber withheld food and medicine and took control of Rooney’s finances, according to the stories. Aber’s lawyer says the harassment allegations are false. A court has transferred control of Rooney’s affairs to a Los Angeles lawyer.

Rooney said Congress should pass legislation to strengthen enforcement in cases of elder abuse.

Bloomberg notes that securities regulators in 22 states are also trying to fight elder abuse by expanding a program that teaches medical professionals how to spot victims of investment fraud. The program is financed with corporate fines.

While program s teaching medical professionals how to spot victims of investment fraud are a great idea, I contend in Working with the Elder Client that the legal team is in the best position to protect elders from abuse: the medical team sees physical conditions, but knows little about the elder’s financial dealings; banks see financial transactions, but not physical conditions, etc. The legal team is most likely to have the access that can lead to awareness of elder abuse. As noted below, many clients are unable or unwilling to risk the repercussions of talking about abuse by caregivers upon whom they are dependent. It is not just a lack of courage.

It is not possible to deal in depth with this serious problem and the issues it raises for legal professionals in a blog post, here is an excerpt fromAs Working with the Elder Client that some of you may find helpful:

It is important that the legal professional know the legal definitions of elder abuse, mistreatment, and neglect set forth in statutes covering the jurisdictions in which they practice. It is equally important that the legal professional understand their legal obligations under those statutes and how those obligation relate to their ethical obligations. Finally, it is essential that the legal professional recognize the signs of abuse and neglect. Keep in mind that your elder client may be unable or unwilling to speak frankly about abuse they are experiencing, especially in the presence of a family member or other person who has assisted them in getting to your office.

Undue Influence

 

Undue influence is the most subtle type of mistreatment, and therefore the most difficult to detect. Since the elder person is unduly influence through fear, dependence, diminished capacity and other factors, the victim is unlikely to both willing and capable of reporting the abuse. Many will not even be consciously aware of the undue influence. This topic has been discussed in detail in previous chapters,[1] so here I will only list some of the signs that may indicate undue influence is being exercised over a client. These signs include:

  • The helper speaks for the client
  • The client repeatedly asks the helper to answer a question for him or her
  • The client consistently looks to the helper before answering a question
  • The client stops or changes an answer after the helper looks at, touches, or makes a movement towards the client
  • The helper frequently corrects the client’s answers
  • The helper refuses or is reluctant to allow the client to speak privately with the attorney or paralegal
  • The client appears confused or influenced by medication or alcohol.

None of these signs is definitive. Many elderly clients are confused; need help remembering, and the like. However, a legal professional should proceed with caution when these signs appear.

… it is my general practice to insist upon meeting separately with the client in any situation where there may be a conflict between my client and the person with the client. I apply this policy to parent/child and husband/wife situations as well as elder client situations. However, I do tend to emphasize it more in cases involving elderly clients, especially when a child is bringing in a parent to prepare a will, create a trust, or transfer property.

Generally, the logistics of this can be delicate as once the two are in the room it can be difficult and embarrassing for the client to ask that the agent leave. I handled this by taking the responsibility. I explain that it is my rule to ask the other person to leave at the very beginning of the meeting before there is any substantive discussion. I explain to both the client and the other person that I do this as a matter of policy so I can document the file for the benefit of all concerned, not because of anything related to their particular circumstances. The important thing from my perspective is (1) not to insult either the agent or the client by suggesting that the agent may be taking advantage of the client or that the client is not capable of independent thought, and (2) make it clear that I am the person responsible for this request, not the client. If an abusive relationship does exist, we do not want the abuser to blame the abused for this challenge to their dominance over the abused.

Once the other person is out of the room I look for changes in demeanor on the part of my client, ask questions intended only to determine competency, and inquire about the client’s relationship with the other person. Generally, the actual answers to the questions are not important. I am more interested in the client’s reactions, demeanor, and the way they respond.

All of the law office staff should be given a clear understanding of to whom they can speak regarding the client. If the agency is established for one member of the family, it does not extend to other members of the family or members of the agent’s family. For example, if a son is the agent, the staff should speak only to the son and not to the son’s wife. This is not an unusual situation. The son brings the parent into the office for the legal services, but depends on the daughter-in-law to carry on the dialogue with the law office because the son works during the day and the daughter-in-law does not. If it is necessary, formally establish the daughter-in-law as an agent, but do not begin “stretching” the agency beyond that which is formally established.

I am pleased to announce

Sunday, September 19th, 2010

that Carolina Academic Press is pleased to announce (and not just because they thought I’d never get it done):

The latest in Bob Mongue’s “Empowered Paralegal” series is now available. This one focuses on elder law issues.

Here are the details:
The Empowered Paralegal: Working with the Elder Client
$38.00 • 328 pp • paper • ISBN: 978-1-59460-795-0

You can read more about it and view the table of contents here:
http://www.cap-press.com/isbn/9781594607950

I’ll be adding some more info to the books page here soon. It is, of course, available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Borders, and other outlets.

Estrin Report: The Empowered Paralegal: Working with the Elder Client Book Review

Wednesday, August 11th, 2010

The following is from the Estrin Report. Chere Estrin is also Editor-in-Chief of KNOW, The Magazine for Paralegals and SUE, For Women in Litigation; and Chairperson of the Board, The Organization of Legal Professionals (OLP).*

The Empowered Paralegal: Working with the Elder Client Book Review

I don’t know what it was that I expected when I picked up a copy of Robert Mongue’s latest book, “The Empowered Paralegal: Working with the Elder Client” but that wasn’t as important as the fact that I just couldn’t put it down.

This is a book for everyone. While it is written specifically for paralegals, just substitute any position and you have a book that teaches you how to deal, motivate and learn from the older generations. This publication is not only for paralegals, it can be read by lawyers, administrators, legal secretaries – practically anyone who works in any capacity in a law firm environment. Why? Because for the first time that I can remember, someone is teaching how to handle the characteristics, traits, mental capacity and appropriateness of actions to age of clients and colleagues.

Mongue’s book does not cover the ho and the hum of regular “how-to” paralegal books. In fact, what he covers should be taught in every school regardless of specialty, profession or even age. Here, Mongue deals with our feelings about aging and the myths, stereotypes, cultural prejudices and extrapolations to the general population based upon personal experience. He draws you in as he explains behavior and the aging process and teaches you how to react as a result. As it turns out, much of what we think about the elderly is wrong, wrong, wrong.

With the millions of Baby Boomers about to set siege in the swamplands of Florida; the sunbelt of the Southwest and the hot, hot, hot but dry desert weather in Palm Springs, many firms and paralegals recognize that acting as counsel and paralegals for the senior generation will be much different than how the younger set thinks, acts and reacts. For the first time, Mongue tells you why so that you are better equipped for a smoother meeting, deposition, will writing, client meeting or other important event in your client’s space.

Mongue goes into great detail describing the professionalism and protocol you need in order to get the best possible information, client relationship, witness testimony and cooperation from an aging society. It’s simply fascinating. One chapter is devoted to death, dying and the end of life planning while another explains simply how to understand the differences in cultures such as generalities and diversity; Moslems, Jews, Catholics, Christians, Native Americans, Latinos/Hispanics, African Americans and others in what they want as they wind up the last quarter of their lives.

The book gives great tips on how to best communicate with someone in their later years. It teaches you how to talk to a senior citizen; how to best safe-proof their homes for optimum safety as the body changes and much more.

For any paralegal working with elderly clients, this book is a must-read. Even if you are working with graying baby boomers who are your colleagues, this book will clarify much of the “how-to’s” and answer the why’s: Why is the boomer thinking that way; why is last to embrace certain things but so much further ahead in accepting other concepts? Why doesn’t she understand me? The publication is artful in describing chronological, sociological, biological and psychological aging in a style that immediately captivates the reader. The book is so good, that you can substitute any part of the paralegal’s role throughout the book with another position entirely and still learn a brand new skill.

The chapter on Estate Planning and the Perils of Intestacy is excellent. The book covers “how-to” of estate planning such as a) explaining basic concepts b) writing forms c) the estate d) clarifying confusing basic estate plans e) basic estate planning.

The rich voice and highly expressive tone of the book plus the sharing of some of Mongue’s personal stories makes this book a great learning tool for paralegals of any level and any specialty. I highly recommend it to experienced paralegals, students, attorneys, legal assistants and anyone, anywhere who simply wants to be able to get their message across to those who have crossed over into eligibility for the early blue plate special at Tony’s Trattoria down the street.

Ranking: ***** 5 stars out of 5 stars
Publisher: Carolina Academic Press, Durham, North Carolina
Pages: 328 pages

*In the interest of full disclosure, I am on the OLP Advisory Board

Why the Elder Client?

Tuesday, August 10th, 2010

Well, my new book is off to the printer. Over the next couple of days I’m hopeful I’ll have some reviews to pass on. One question that arises is why I chose the elder client as the topic for this book. Here’s the story behind that decision:

The Empowered Paralegal: Working with the Elder Client

Preface

My first “real job” was working as a janitor in a hospital in western Massachusetts. Being new to the staff I often found my self assigned the wing of the hospital that cared for elderly patients. This was a wing in which no one on the staff wanted to work. The patients were generally senile and generally dying. They were all, of course, “old” and no one was anxious to be around old, senile or dying people.
Many of these patients were tied to their beds. Many had little or no sense of where they were. Some would repeat phrases or individual words endlessly. Often the repeated word was, “Nurse.” Almost all had constant needs – the need to be cleaned, the need to roll over, the need to be acknowledged.

As I moved from room to room mopping and dusting, morning after morning, two things came to mind. First, these people, being elderly and approaching the ends of their lives even if they were not –at that moment – dying, had a good number of commonalities. Second, however, each of them was different. Each had their own particular instance of whatever disease or ailment brought them to the hospital even if many of the other patients had the same disease or ailment. More importantly, each had his or her own personality and, if not suffering from constant dementia, their own approach or perspective on their current state, their future, and their approaching death.

One of the advantages of being a janitor is that, unless there is a specific need, you are largely invisible. Being unnoticed, you can observe not only the patients but their families and the medical staff. Here to, I found commonalities. But among families, I saw remarkable differences not only in personalities and temperaments, but in their approach to the current status, the future and the approach to the end of life of their loved ones. The broadest, most superficial commonalities arose from the mere fact that those loved ones were elderly and in the hospital. Other commonalities appeared to arise from cultural, religious, educational, and economic factors.

Our area did not have a lot of diversity. However, there was enough to see that common elements of the perspective of second generation Italian-Americans from the northern-New England “Yankees” of my mother’s family and the French/German influence on my father’s family. The Protestant perspective was not much different from the Catholic, although the differences were perceptible. There were common factors in the approaches of the poor, distinguishable from those of the middle class, which were equally distinguishable from the rich (although the truly rich seldom found it necessary to die in the public hospital.) Perspectives changed with the level of education. Combining these factors with differences in attitudes that existed between generations within each family resulted is a multitude of individual emotional and intellectual reactions to illness, aging, disability, dementia and death.

Yet, it appeared to me that medical service providers had only one approach that they applied to all of the patients and, if they paid any heed to the families at all, to those who loved and, except for the duration of their hospitalization, provided care for them. Caught up in the science of medicine – the machines, the charts, the new techniques, perhaps combined with a need to depersonalize the patients in order to remain objective, the approach was often one of intellectual superiority, of knowing better than the patient or their families what the patient wanted or needed, of knowing better than the patient or their families when, how, and where it was better for the patient to grow old or die. Patients appeared to be just patients, not necessarily people in the sense of individual persons.

Thus the only perspective that mattered was that of the medical providers. It is not that they did not care, often deeply, for their patients. It appeared simply that they believed there was only one way to care for the patients, regardless of the individual perspective and personality of the patient – their way. I was in high-school at the time, convinced that I was going to become a doctor myself, so my focus was on the medical profession. It was not until a decade later as I began the practice of law that I realized the legal profession was often afflicted with the same narrowness.

In my last year of high school Elizabeth Kubler-Ross published On Death and Dying beginning the long process of changing the medical profession’s perception of the “right” way to care for the dying patients. Since then great progress has been made not only in the medical profession’s approach to death and dying, but in the approach to aging and the elderly with new research assisting in the understanding of the elderly in terms of medicine, sociology, law and many other aspects of society. It is my hope in this book to digest and present much of that knowledge for the paralegal – the person in the law office most involved in interacting with the client – so that the paralegal will be empowered to best meet the needs of the elderly client and to manage that client as part of the legal team.