From the Chair

Volume: 34 Issue: 2


About the Author: David M. English is Commission Chair, 2012–2013, and is the William Franklin Fratcher Endowed Professor of Law at the University of Missouri-Columbia.

In this, its 32nd year, the Commission has continued to leverage the cumulative expertise of its staff and members in its pursuit of the COLA mission: to serve as a collaborative, interdisciplinary leader of the Association’s work to strengthen and secure the legal rights, dignity, autonomy, quality of life, and quality of care of aging persons.

This issue of BIFOCAL will serve as the first Year in Review—providing a snapshot of where the Commission’s work stands today. We note that some significant projects, such as the joint Alzheimer’s Association–ABA Medicare Advocacy Program, are wrapping up and others, such as the contract from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Office of Financial Protection for Older Americans to develop guides for lay fiduciaries, are in full swing.

Given the pace required to achieve what we have in the past year, it’s easy to forget to step back and appreciate the breadth and depth of the Commission’s work. In the past 12 months, the professional staff and commissioners engaged in substantive grant-funded projects; presented at CLE programs; gave presentations at both national professional association meetings and at local/regional meetings; and served in an advisory capacity to federal governmental agencies. Additionally, staff responded to issue background requests from the media and policy-makers on a range of law and aging issues on a regular basis. This issue of BIFOCAL provides in greater detail the many accomplishments of 2012.

I’m proud of our successes and accomplishments and look forward to continuing success in helping to shape an effective response of the legal profession in meeting the law-related needs of older individuals. I encourage you to get involved: through participating on one of our excellent discussion lists, through interacting with us through our social media accounts, or by contacting us to discuss a donation or a potential opportunity to partner with us on a project.


David M. English



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About Bifocal

Bifocal, the Commission on Law and Aging's bi-monthly journal, provides timely, valuable legal resources pertaining to older persons, generated through the joint efforts of public and private bar groups and the aging network.



The Commission distributes Bifocal for free six times a year to elder bar section and committee members, legal services providers, elder law and other private practitioners, judges, court staff, elder advocates, policymakers, law schools, elder law clinics, law libraries, and other professionals in the law and aging network.

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Bifocal invites the submission of news about your elder bar section’s activities, as well as brief articles of interest to elder law and other professionals in the aging advocacy network.

    Share news about your entity’s initiatives towards the delivery of direct legal assistance to older persons in your particular area; pro bono and reduced fee programs; community legal education programs; multi-disciplinary partnerships; and new resources that are helpful to professionals and consumers.

    Also welcome are substantive law articles on legal issues of interest to state area agencies on aging, bar association entities, private attorneys, legal services projects, law schools, and others in the law and aging network.

    Bifocal is published bi-monthly. Email the Commission for manuscript guidelines and deadline information for upcoming issues.


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