A Personal Note From Susana
Continuing Legal Education
I have always advised that if the attorney you consult has not been to a continuing legal education program within six months of meeting you—run don’t walk from that office!
Even though it appears that the law is engraved in stone like the tablets of Moses, that is not the case. The law is ever changing. Or at least the ways in which laws are interpreted change more often than we think. This is most definitely the case with estate and long-term care planning. It at once a fascination and sometimes a frustration!
Keeping up is important. This is why I try to take the time I need to “learn” on a regular basis. Sometimes this means going to continuing legal education sessions that run for some days. More typically it includes monthly meetings with the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, Massachusetts and with the Massachusetts Forum of Estate Planners.
September was a busy month. First, I travelled to Chicago to meet with a group of Certified Elder Law Attorneys who like me qualified to carry the “CELA” designation from the National Elder Law Foundation. As part of that designation continuing education meetings occur in various locales throughout the year. These are not “vacation” seminars. We work! My favorite talk there was one on AI and the law. It was helpful to learn when to consider using AI in a law practice. The word on that is “judicially” and not entirely. I learned that AI is a series of “tokens” that are generated from a question. It is much like starting with the letter A and then AI would “generate” B, C, and D. The B, C, and D are generated rapidly and drawn from many internet resources. I wouldn’t write a brief with it, but I am looking forward to using AI in other capacities to help assist the efficiency of my practice.
My Second meeting with the Forum of Estate Planners here in MA had several interesting topics. But the most interesting of all was to trade notes on practice issues and problems that we all have. Among other things, it was suggested that we all get back on the “lecture circuit” to meet with the public and educate about the need for Estate Planning for everyone. The substantive materials were in discussions of rather arcane clauses in trusts, so I won’t relate these. I’m just anxious to apply what I learned to my documents!
My next adventure in Continuing legal education is to learn all about the new tax law in MA. HOT OFF THE PRESS, THE ESTATE TAX EXCLUSION WILL NOW BE $2M. INSTEAD OF $1M. Good news for all of us in Taxachusetts. More to come later!
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