Looking Back, A Thank You to The Montgomery Bar Association’s Elder Law Committee

Looking back, I owe a debt of gratitude to the Montgomery Bar Association for helping me get my start over 20 years ago in the specialized field of elder law. When I graduated law school and passed the bar exam, my father, who was a long-time Montgomery County estate planning attorney, advised me to join this bar association. At the time I had no idea how doing so would focus my career. 

Back then, the specialized practice of elder law was just beginning and the Montgomery Bar Association’s Elder Law Committee had just been created. I promptly joined this new committee and soon after was hired by one of Montgomery County’s more prominent elder law attorneys to consult on Medicaid planning cases. Being involved in the elder law committee made this initial connection for me and helped me gain experience in what was at the time an otherwise virtually impenetrable niche practice. At the time, there were no Pennsylvania elder law treatises or books setting forth the rules relating to Pennsylvania Medicaid long-term care benefits. 

Starting as a Montgomery County Attorney

Once I became active in the bar association, my practice focused exclusively on estate planning and elder law matters, and although I had, and continue to have, an extensive estate planning practice, I eventually became known for Medicaid planning in Montgomery County and surrounding counties. I was appointed chair of the Montgomery Bar Association’s Elder Law Committee and held that position for 14 years before moving on to serve as president of the Pennsylvania Association of Elder Law Attorneys. 

Teaching Elder Law and Estate Planning 

Nowadays I teach many classes online rather than in-person, but back when I started, in-person teaching of continuing legal education was how a young lawyer could become known as a subject matter expert. The first continuing education hour I ever taught was at the Montgomery County Bar Association about 20 years ago, and at the time I could hardly be considered an expert. I still remember that first Medicaid planning seminar. The room was full, and I was so nervous that I was thankful when most of the time for our session had been consumed by the co-presenters on the panel who spoke before me! Well, years have gone by and thankfully all that has changed. I really enjoy teaching and these days an hour goes by quickly. 

 With the Montgomery Bar Association as a start, I have since taught hundreds of hours locally and across the state on topics such as: Medicaid Planning for Married Couples for the Montgomery County Estate Planning Council of PA , Use and Abuse of Power of Attorney Documents at an annual conference of hosted by Montgomery County’s Elder Justice Roundtable and Montgomery County Community College; and have presented a “Frequently Asked Questions” elder law session at the Senior Adult Activities Center of Montgomery County in Ambler, Pennsylvania. 

Publications in Elder Law 

The Montgomery Bar Association has also presented me with opportunities to write on the topic of elder law. Over the years, this too has helped improve my knowledge and establish my elder law practice. Notably, The Montgomery County Elder Law Handbook has been published several times, and each year following its initial publication I have been able to update topics and serve as co-editor. This publication is intended for Montgomery County seniors and as a resource to those who support Montgomery County Seniors in some capacity. The Montgomery County Elder Law Handbook is distributed in hardcopy format to libraries across the county. 

Continuing collaboration with the Montgomery Bar Association   

Each fall I return to the Montgomery Bar Association and co-present a panel discussion on Medicaid planning with the lawyers who represent the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services. This year’s event is October 18th: Current Issues with Medicaid Long-Term Care Benefits sponsored by the Montgomery Bar Association’s Elder Law Committee. I’m looking forward to going back to the place that gave me a start and teaching this annual Medicaid update one more time!

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