Writing and the practice of elder law: Part 1

The practice of elder law does not require much writing compared to, say, appellate practice or criminal defense. Because it is primarily transactional, elder law presents few opportunities to write motions or briefs. Rather, what an elder law attorney writes are cover letters, the occasional journal article or CLE outline, and perhaps blog posts or articles for online publication and marketing. He also, of course, drafts legal documents—an activity related to writing but not the same.

As a professed lover of writing and editing, I have had to come to terms with this. I might have been an appellate lawyer—would have been, in fact, if I’d had the opportunity earlier in my career. Instead, my day-to-day practice depends not on writing but on talking and form-filling. Writing is an incidental and unpaid activity. I expect some elder law attorneys will protest this characterization, but when compared with most other areas of practice, I think they would have to admit that elder law requires little writing. The next Paul Clement is not going to practice elder law.

To say that elder law requires little writing, though, is not to say that an elder law attorney cannot write much. She can. But she won’t be forced to; she will have to seek it out. And if she does, she will find abundant opportunities to improve her practice, help her clients, and contribute to her profession.

This series will continue in Part 2: The kinds of writing in elder law.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *