CLE Update

Volume: 35 Issue: 1

(Note: The pdf for the issue in which this article appears is available for download: BIFOCAL Vol. 35, Issue 1.)


National Aging & Law Institute--Register now!
The Institute will provide you with the multidisciplinary skills and knowledge to ensure you can meet your clients’ and communities’ needs holistically. This year’s Institute is a unique educational event that blends advanced substantive programming for attorneys both in private practice and in non-profit public interest practice, as well as for other non-attorney advocates in the aging network. Plan to join your peers to learn, network, and engage with leading experts in the field. With more than 25 high-quality, in-depth sessions, there is something for everyone.
Learn more at:


Elderlaw & Ethics: A Three-Part Webinar Series

Working with older clients can be a rewarding experience; it can also present some unique ethical challenges for attorneys. Trying to determine who the client actually is, whether the client has capacity to enter into an attorney-client relationship, and how to handle family members are just a few of the questions that we, as elderlaw attorneys, are faced with on a regular basis.

The Center for Elder Rights Advocacy, a partner in the National Legal Resource Center, is hosting a three-part webinar series on Elderlaw & Ethics. Prof. Kimberly O’Leary, Director of 60+Elderlaw Clinic at Thomas M. Cooley Law School, has developed methodical approaches to identifying and handling some of the most challenging ethical issues that elderlaw attorneys face.

In each of these webinars, you’ll receive resources to analyze the issues and the presenter will examine examples by using a step-by-step process.

  • Competency 11/14/2013
    This webinar will present steps for attorneys to follow to determine whether a new client has sufficient competency to engage in the attorney-client relationship and how to handle a situation where a question of competency arises during representation.
  • Confidentiality 12/12/2013
    This webinar will present steps for attorneys to follow to ensure they are keeping client’s privacy in an elderlaw practice. It will explore the traditional “who is the client?” issue that often arises in elderlaw as well as typical ways practitioners engage the assistance of third parties to help their clients.
  • Multi-representation 1/16/2014
    This webinar will present steps for attorneys to follow when asked to represent more than one client in an issue. It will explore representing couples as well as members of the same family. It will NOT discuss class action representation.

To register, please visit the Center’s website at:

The Affordable Care Act: What it Means for Seniors

Free webinar

The Affordable Care Act brings new opportunities and challenges for seniors, including the expansion of Medicaid in many states and enrollment in health insurance plans through marketplaces or exchanges beginning on January 1, 2014.  This presentation will provide a summary of these changes and their impact on seniors.  

The presentation may be most relevant to people in states that are choosing to expand access to Medicaid, but all may participate.

This webinar will cover:

  • What is expansion Medicaid and who is eligible
  • What are the healthcare exchanges and who is eligible
  • How are seniors impacted (or not impacted) by these programs, including a discussion of the transition from these programs when an individual turns 65 or obtains Medicare
  • Other changes under the ACA impacting Medicare


A Medicare Pitfall: What You and Your Clients Need to Know About Observation Status 

ABA Senior Lawyers Division Webinar                                   

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

There has been a dramatic rise in the use of the observation status for Medicare clients who are in the hospital, or at least they think they are. If they are designated as on observation status rather than actually admitted to the hospital, these clients face not only higher costs while they are in the hospital but risk no Medicare coverage for post-hospital rehabilitation in skilled nursing facilities. Often the first time they find out about this is when they receive the bills, which can total thousands of dollars.

Learn more at:

This program will help you understand what observation status is, why it is used, and how you can help your clients who find themselves in this situation. You will also learn about the various efforts to change this situation via both proposed federal legislation as well as a pending lawsuit filed by the Center for Medicare Advocacy, and how you can be involved in these efforts.


  • Hon. Louraine Arkfeld, Tempe Municipal Court
  • Hon. Ruth Kleinfeld, Office of Disability Adjudication and Review
  • Alice Bers, Esq., Center for Medicare Advocacy


Search Bifocal

Portions of the Bifocal archive are available for online search. Use a keyword or other characteristics to search: complete issue PDFs beginning with the Winter 2001 issue (Vol. 22, No. 2), or individual articles in html format beginning with the August 2012 issue (Vol. 33, No. 1).


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.

    Subscribe to Bifocal using the Subscription and Discussion Lists form available on the Commission's Contact Us page.



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.


Bifocal Archive

Older issues of Bifocal are archived here.