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Best Practice

Vol. 13, Nos. 1&2

On Delivery of Legal Assistance to Older Persons

December 2004

Contents Click here to download December 2004 Best Practice Notes

(December 2004 Best Practice Notes is in PDF format and may take a moment load.)
  • The Essential Role of the State Legal Services Developer: Blueprint for a Model Job Description

  • Part One: Critical Role of the Legal Developer in Providing State Leadership on Legal Assistance and Elder Rights
    Part Two: Blueprint for a Job Description for a Model State Legal Services/ Assistance Developer
  • Mini White House Conference Recommendations Support the Need for Strong Legal Developer in Every State
  • Mark Your Calendar: Guardianship/Caregiver Mediation Training, 10/17-19


This issue of Best Practice Notes is dedicated to the group of individuals whose job it is to develop and enhance legal/elder rights advocacy in the States--Legal Services Developers. The main article is in two parts. Part One describes the key role of developers in ensuring strong, effective legal assistance/elder rights advocacy in the States. Part Two provides a Job Description for a Model State Legal Developer.

A Message from NALSD Chair, Bill Graham

The Center for Social Gerontology focuses in this issue of Best Practice Notes on the critical role of the State Legal Services Developer. Never has the role been more critical and the need so great. The face of elder law is changing. The problems our senior citizens face today are more complex and the knowledge and skill needed to address those problems are also ever-changing. These are times when our elders are confronted not only with landlord tenant and public benefit issues, but increasingly complex prescription drug programs. They are also victims of consumer fraud and scams, and targets for financial exploitation. In addition, a growing number of older Americans have limited English proficiency. States are beginning to document the unmet need for legal services of seniors who are socially or economically needy. Given the breadth of these demographic and landscape changes, the need for state leadership on legal assistance is critical. The developer plays a crucial role in training, service coordination, resource development, targeting, and quality assurance. A central tenet of the Older Americans Act is to ensure access to benefits and services for our most vulnerable elders. The legal services developer plays a key role in addressing these problems. From locating and advocating for resources critical to legal providers, to helping a senior find an attorney with the proper expertise, to advocating for changes in the law, the developer is indeed critical to championing the rights of our elder population and to ensuring that the promise of the Older Americans Act is fulfilled. Thanks to Penny Hommel and Ellie Crosby Lanier for this in-depth piece on the role of the Legal Services Developer.

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The Center for Social Gerontology, Inc.
A National Support Center in Law and Aging
2307 Shelby Avenue  Ann Arbor, MI  48103
Tel: (734) 665-1126  Fax: (734) 665-2071