CLE Institute Agenda D.C. Bar Aging and the Law Institute 2020

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CLE Institute - Aging and the Law


9:15 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.

  • Welcoming Remarks and Administrative Announcements
    Susan M. Hoffman, Immediate Past D.C. Bar President, Crowell & Moring LLP

Plenary Session 1

Our Aging Legal Profession: Working with the Benefits and the Challenges

 9:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.  (1.5 CLE Credit Hours, including 1.0 Ethics Credit Hour)

Description: By 2030, 1 out of every 5 individuals will be age 65 or older and, like the general populace, our profession is skewing toward an older demographic.  Attorneys who have “been to the rodeo before” often bring keen judgment and a wealth of experience to their employers and clients, but as a group they may also confront increased risks of cognitive and physical conditions – challenges which their employers and colleagues must also navigate skillfully.

Our multi-disciplinary panel will address demographic trends in the profession and the medical, neurological, physical, emotional, and organizational implications of these trends.  Our expert faculty will discuss the related issues of professionalism, HR management, ethical considerations, and the legal implications of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and other related laws for employers and firms.  Those who attend will learn about:

  • Population trends in the profession and how to identify the medical, physical, psychological, and social complications that aging attorneys sometimes confront
  • Common professionalism and ethics pitfalls that aging attorneys may confront, and how employers and firms can address these issues in a manner that complies with applicable laws
  • Effective interventions, treatments, and other resources available to support aging attorneys experiencing problems, and avoid or mitigate ethical challenges and liability exposure.

This informative session is a must for legal employers, HR professionals, law firm management, professional liability attorneys, health care attorneys, employment attorneys, and anybody who is, or is concerned about, an aging attorney.

Faculty: Aisha Cassis, District of Columbia Court of Appeals Board on Professional Responsibility; Dr. Jonathan DeRight, Ph.D., ABPP-CN; Thomas E. Gilbertsen, Dueffert Gilbertsen PLLC (Moderator); Linda M. Jackson, Arent Fox LLP; Denise Perme, D.C. Bar Lawyer Assistance Program

Morning Concurrent Sessions

(Choose one of the following three sessions)

Session A:  Estate Planning Basics

11:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. (1.0 CLE Credit Hour)

Description: During this informative session, our engaging and knowledgeable presenter will focus on the basics of estate planning.  Topics will include applicable tax systems, core documents involved in estate planning, options for avoiding probate, and common planning regarding the D.C. estate tax.  Those who attend this session will also learn about the current challenges presented by the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Faculty: Kerri Castellini, Price Benowitz LLP

Session B: Ethics Issues When Dealing with Clients with Diminished Capacity

11:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. (1.0 CLE Ethics Credit Hour)

Description:  In this session, our multi-disciplinary panel – which includes an elder law attorney, legal ethicist, and clinical psychologist – will introduce the legal, ethical, and clinical issues that arise when clients present with actual or suspected diminished capacity.   They will discuss an attorney’s role in assessing capacity; the ethical framework that guides the attorney; how and when to involve a clinician; the clinician’s role; and how to work with surrogate decisionmakers.

Faculty: Jennifer A. Crumlish, Psychologist, Ph.D.; Leah J. Myers, Legal Counsel for the Elderly; Saul J. Singer, D.C. Bar Legal Ethics Counsel

Session C: Housing in the Age of COVID-19

11:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. (1.0 CLE Credit Hour)

Description: Our knowledgeable panelists will update those who attend on the work of the AARP Legal Counsel for the Elderly and the District of Columbia Office of the Attorney General in the housing arena.  The panelists will also discuss the challenges that seniors are facing within the COVID-19 landscape. Other topics will include preparing for an eviction and foreclosure surge caused by COVID-19; protecting seniors from COVID-related scams; harnessing anti-discrimination laws to keep seniors housed; and sharing financial resources for seniors to avoid eviction or foreclosure.  While this session will be of particular interest to guardians, conservators, court employees, and social workers, anyone who advocates for seniors will benefit by attending.

Faculty: Jennifer Berger, Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia; Deborah Cuevas Hill, Legal Counsel for the Elderly; Michelle D. Thomas, Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia

Plenary Session 2

Financial Capacity and Undue Influence in Civil Cases Involving Older Adults

12:45 p.m. – 2:15 p.m. (1.5 CLE Credit Hours)

Description: In our aging society, attorneys and the courts increasingly call upon forensic and neuropsychologists and other clinicians to serve as clinician experts in probate and other court proceedings involving the decisional capacity and volition of older adults.  This thought-provoking session will provide attendees with practical information concerning the conceptual outlook and assessment tools psychologist experts use in this important area of civil practice.  Our expert presenter will begin by discussing legal issues of financial capacity and vulnerability to undue influence and exploitation in older adults, and the clinical roles that psychologists can take in these cases.  He then will discuss clinical assessment of “financial” capacities and undue influence, and the use of such clinical evidence by attorneys, courts, and juries in the adjudication of legal cases.  A short question/answer session for attendees will conclude the session.  This session will help those who attend:

  • Understand the roles that a forensic psychologist may carry out in probate and other court proceedings involving the financial capacity and decisional volition of older adults
  • Learn about the conceptual background and the clinical assessment of financial capacity in conservatorship proceedings
  • Learn about the conceptual background and the clinical assessment of testamentary, contractual and donative capacities, in probate and other court proceedings.
  • Learn about the conceptual background and clinical assessment of undue influence in probate and other court proceedings.

Faculty: Daniel Marson, Ph.D., J.D.

Afternoon Concurrent Sessions

(Choose one of the following three sessions)

Session D: Approaches to Aging in Place

2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. (1.0 CLE Credit Hour)

Description: This informative session will focus on the legal resources available to help older clients age in place. Our experienced faculty will discuss the D.C. Elderly and Individuals with Physical Disabilities (EPD) Waiver Program and other means of accessing long-term care services and support in the District of Columbia.

Faculty: Mary Ann Parker, Legal Counsel for the Elderly; Heather Stowe, D.C. Department of Aging and Community Living; Catherine Yourougou, Legal Counsel for the Elderly

Session E: Practices for Managing the Money of Clients and Others

2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. (1.0 CLE Credit Hour)

Description:  Our expert panel will discuss best practices and common pitfalls to watch out for when an attorney or fiduciary needs to step in to handle the funds of someone else.  Those who attend will learn about the Money Management Program, representative payees, and conservatorships.  

Faculty: Christine Kenny, IONA Senior Services; Louis Jenkins, D.C. Auditor Master; Diana Varela, U.S. Social Security Administration

Session F:    Adjusting Your Practice and Working with Older Clients During the Public Health Emergency

2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. (1.0 CLE Credit Hour)

Description: This informative session will cover best practices for adjusting your practice for new challenges and communication barriers in working with older adults during a public health emergency.

Faculty: Robin Fradkin, Esq.; Jilma Lasso, Lasso & Lasso; Neha Patel, D.C. Department on Disability Services

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