Hiring an attorney is oftentimes a difficult decision. In my opinion, elder law is a highly specialized area of law that requires expertise and experience to practice successfully. However, if you enter a Google search for an elder law attorney, you will discover a whole host of practitioners who advertise that they practice in the area of elder law. So, how do you know which one to pick?
When evaluating an elder law attorney, I would ask the following questions:
- How much of your practice is devoted to elder law? At Pearson Bollman Law, over 50% of our practice is devoted to Medicaid and VA pension planning.
- How many Medicaid applications does your law firm file? At Pearson Bollman Law, we file on average about 4 Medicaid applications per month. We are very familiar with the crisis planning techniques used to qualify individuals for Medicaid. Additionally, we are well experienced with the Medicaid application process.
- What is your success rate? At Pearson Bollman Law, we began tracking our success rate in September 2011. In the latter half of 2011, we filed 8 applications and all of them were approved. In 2012, we filed 42 applications and all of them were approved. In 2013, we filed 30 applications and all but one was approved. As of May 2014, we have filed 10 applications this year and all of them were approved.
- Are you a member of NAELA? NAELA is the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys. NAELA is a professional association of attorneys who are dedicated to improving the quality of legal services provided to seniors and individuals with special needs. The attorneys at Pearson Bollman Law are members of NAELA.
- Are you a member of Eldercounsel? The area of elder law is highly specialized. In order to practice successfully, the attorney you hire needs continued legal education in the areas of Medicaid and VA pension planning. Eldercounsel is Pearson Bollman Law’s source for continuing legal education and document preparation in the area of elder law.
- Are you a member of the elder law section of the Iowa Bar Association? Although federal law outlines the Medicaid program, Medicaid benefits are administered at the state level. Therefore, it is important for an elder law attorney to be connected with other state practitioners in order to share and better understand current issues in the field. For this reason, the attorneys at Pearson Bollman Law are active members of the elder law section of the Iowa Bar Association.
The answers to the above questions will assist you in determining whether a particular attorney has the necessary qualifications to represent you competently for your elder law needs.