June 1, 2011

From the Top: The Future Is Now

By Bruce Alan Mann

The way the Senior Lawyers Division can  best  serve its  members and attract new members was the focus of our annual meeting in Toronto in August. Since then you have received an email asking you what committees of the SLD you would like to  participate in. If you haven’t done so already, please respond to that questionnaire. With 11 new committee chairs and 3 new committees, we hope to involve more members in our activities and provide a richer experience for our members than at any time in the past.

The Division serves two distinct purposes, and our publications and meetings must address both. Some of you are members because you practice elder law. Although other sections and divisions of the ABA may have committees that deal with elder law issues, the SLD is the only body that deals with the total range of issues—tax, business, litigation, family law, and so on—that an elder law practitioner faces.

Others are members of the SLD because of its focus on the issues that we all face or must plan to face as elder lawyers. No other body in the ABA focuses on the wide range of topics of interest to the senior lawyer as a person, such as investment strategies tailored to the needs of the senior lawyer, personal health issues, how to transition from full time practice to part time or retirement, travel that has been of interest to other senior lawyers, opportunities to consult or share your experience with younger lawyers or lawyers in other countries, and ways to serve society on a pro bono basis.

We recognize that many of you can not attend our meetings, but still want both the educational content and the camaraderie that the SLD is dedicated to providing. Distance learning and affinity group communication have become more accessible through improved communication technologies. To serve you, we are planning to greatly expand the content of our website to include more content as well as the ability to engage in threaded discussions of topics both of personal interest to senior lawyers and of professional interest to elder law practitioners. We are also planning to establish committee listservs to facilitate dialogue between members of individual committees, to expand the number of CLE-ready webinars, and to add “brown bag” conference calls that permit both the delivery of information and the exchange of viewpoints without the formality necessary for CLE credit.

This does not mean that we are abandoning our efforts to provide you with reasons to attend our in-person meetings. We are well underway in planning the SLD Mid- year Meeting, which will be held on April 20–21, 2012, at the new Four Seasons Hotel in Vancouver, Canada, one of the most beautiful cities in North America. In addition to a full schedule of sights to see and opportunities to meet with other SLD members, we are planning educational programs that will focus on the differences in approach to medical care, health care directives, guardianships, and other topics of special interest to senior lawyers.