National Legal Resource Center
The Commission’s role in the United States Department of Health and Human Services Administration on Aging’s National Legal Resource Center (NLRC) is to create, collect, and disseminate resources on issues in law and aging and to facilitate development of a collaborative partnership between the grantees in the NLRC. Nearly everything that the Commission does contributes to the goals of this project.
In the past year the Commission staff published 36 articles, checklists, fact sheets, book reviews, essays, or chapters in a wide array of publications including peer-reviewed journals, books, and a variety of ABA publications. The issues reflect the work we are doing in elder abuse, end of life health care, legal service delivery, guardianship, aging issues, and elder law. This work develops and spreads knowledge on critical issues and contributes to our work as part of the NLRC.
Training of legal and aging services professionals is a critical part of our work in the NLRC. In the past year, COLA staff presented 90 workshops, webinars, conference presentations, or briefings. The expansion of webinars and other technology-enhanced delivery systems has greatly enhanced our ability to participate in training. Thirty-seven of the 90 programs were done without leaving our desks—greatly reducing travel time and costs.
Email discussion lists have become an indispensable part of our professional lives and an important tool for disseminating resources for the NLRC. Elderbar serves as the discussion list of the NLRC. Elderbar membership grew 8.6% in the past year to 860 professionals in law and aging and carried 354 postings. Also as part of our NLRC commitment we work to expand awareness of alternative dispute resolution on issues involving older Americans and the Collaborate discussion list is a forum for this work. Collaborate currently has 281 members, an increase of over 14% in the past year. We also operate a separate discussion list with 79 members for ABA members and staff involved in aging issues called Elderlink and a closed list for members of the NLRC partnership with 20 members.
We maintain content on two websites that serve as portals for resources for the NLRC. The first is the COLA website, which received 99,673 page visits from 22,675 unique visitors in the past year. The NLRC website received 400,957 page views from 132,050 visitors in the past year. We submitted nearly 300 new or updated items to the NLRC website in the past year.
Bifocal serves as critical media for spreading awareness of resource in law and aging—the goal of our work as part of the NLRC. Bifocal continues to grow in circulation, with 1,425 current subscribers; the latest issue was opened nearly 7,000 times in the first two weeks after publication. The COLA website has a significant archive of past issues of Bifocal and we are currently scanning and readying for posting a historical archive of print issues stretching back as much as 30 years.
The NLRC is composed of five partners, the Center for Elder Right Advocacy, the National Consumer Law Center, the National Senior Citizens Law Center, The Center for Elder Social Gerontology, and the ABA Commission on Law and Aging. We facilitate collaboration by the partners by organizing and facilitating monthly partner calls, participating in an annual partners meeting, maintaining the NLRC website, and creating NLRC outreach materials. COLA staff meet regularly with AoA staff to coordinate activities and plan programs. This year COLA organized and hosted the annual partners meeting.
National Aging and Law Institute
David Godfrey of the Commission staff served as co-chair of the planning committee for the 2012 National Aging and Law Institute and Charlie Sabatino is serving as chair for 2013. The Commission has been involved in organizing national conferences on law and aging since the late 1980s, starting with the Joint Conference on Law and Aging, which transformed into the National Aging and Law Conference and then in 2011 merged with the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys Advanced Elder Law Institute to form the National Aging and Law Institute. NALI 2012 was held November 8-10th at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, DC. The Institute welcomed over 400 participants with five plenary sessions, 30 break-out session, and four pre- and post-conference intensive programs.
An Ongoing Success: National Legal Resource Center
The National Legal Resource Center provides in-depth substantive legal information and expertise, case consultation, technical support on legal service development and legal hotlines, and training on issues in law and aging to attorneys, advocates, and professionals in the fields of law and aging.
NLRC helps promote the creation of a nation-wide system of effective legal assistance and elder rights advocacy services that protect and enhance essential rights and benefits of older adults facing challenges to their independence and financial security, particularly older persons who are least able to advocate on their own behalf.
The audience targeted to receive support services through the NLRC includes a broad range of legal and elder rights advocates who play important roles in helping to achieve the NLRC’s goal.
The NLRC is a collaborative effort developed by the Administration on Aging. Its partners are:
- The American Bar Association Commission on Law and Aging,
- The Center for Elder Rights Advocacy,
- The Center for Social Gerontology,
- The National Consumer Law Center, and
- The National Senior Citizens Law Center.