Elder Law Programs

A Message from Director Barry Kozak

Barry Kozak

Welcome to The John Marshall Law School's Elder Law Programs. Elder law attorneys find it rewarding to advocate for a generally underserved portion of the population, and some graduates use their own backgrounds to find a specific niche – one attorney who speaks Polish became an instant success when he opened his elder law practice in a Polish-speaking neighborhood of Chicago, an openly gay attorney developed a lucrative practice by attracting aging gay and lesbian clients, another attorney whose father was a veteran wound up specializing in securing long-term care benefits for her father's friends who were disabled during service, and still another attorney used her special position of trust at her local church as the means to attract and assist aging congregants. But not all graduates start their own practices – many find associate positions at elder law, estate planning, or litigation law firms; some find positions at state or local government public guardian or public advocacy agencies; and some find public policy positions at non-profit, religious, and think tank organizations. The great news for you is that the practice of elder law is in its infancy, and you can use John Marshall's JD Certificate in Elder Law to blaze your own career path.

Our cutting-edge curriculum will help you develop a successful, rewarding career advocating for aging and elder clients, beginning with our two foundational courses. Financial Aspects and Planning will prepare you to counsel individuals who still have the mental capacity to properly plan for their futures, while Preserving Independence and Dignity of the Elderly will prepare you to protect the decisions of adults whose diminished capacities may leave them vulnerable to abuse. Advanced elder law classes are devoted to specific elder law issues, including the attorney's role in court-appointed guardianship; navigating federal and state bureaucracies in order to obtain Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and veterans benefits; legal writing and drafting skills in elder law legal documents; ethical issues unique to the practice of elder law, counseling clients amidst family dynamics, and establishing your own profitable law firm; and separate classes that harmonize the professional synergies and differences between elder law attorneys and social workers, psychologists, or bioethicists. These specific elder law classes, plus a general income tax course and a mandatory clinical offering, will provide the necessary skills to be an immediately effective and profitable elder law attorney.

Elder law attorneys must have compassion for people in their later stages of life and must want to advocate for all of their goals, wishes, and protection; however, there is no specific background or undergraduate degree that makes one elder law attorney better than any other. The best elder law attorneys are competent attorneys who practice law, but who also work well with other elder care professionals, including psychologists, social workers, geriatric nurses, occupational therapists, and care givers.

Please feel free to contact me about how specializing your JD in elder law at The John Marshall Law School will benefit you.

Barry Kozak
Director, Elder Law Programs