Where Canasta and Counsel Collide: Can Elder Law Attorneys Bridge the Communication Gap?

In a world abuzz with tweets and check-ins, are elderly clients becoming lost in the noise? Proponents of legal technology and social media herald its growing use in law practice as a means of helping clients and counsel communicate more effectively. At least ostensibly, attorneys embracing the “Law 2.0″ ethos regard technology’s improved interactivity as valuable. With clients becoming increasingly web-savvy, many clients “like” this new approach to client engagement – but not all do.

My 98-year-old grandfather doesn’t have a Twitter account. He’s no worse for it – instead, he rather hone his legendary Canasta skills over confining his connection to others with 140 or fewer characters.

Like others in his retirement community, he routinely seeks legal services and advice. After meeting with a number of lawyers recently, he shared his true feelings about lawyers – things I cannot publicly repeat in good conscience. To him, yours is a profession where client questions are bothersome, where task completion trumps connection, and where client usability is of little, if any, concern. Many others share his opinion.

Despite enormous potential to deliver meaningful value to older clients, the legal technology community remains astonishingly unconcerned with the elderly. With the Baby Boomers primed to retire en masse and breadth of legal services they will require, it’s time to do better. We must first determine where communication gaps occur with elderly clients and how technology can help bridge the gap between attorney and elderly client. Let’s start now.