As the elderly segment of our population grows, all parts of our legal system must respond to the challenge of assuring the adoption of laws, policies and practices that recognize the unique needs of the aged and enhance healthy, stable, respectful and contented aging both for seniors and those who care for them. Touro’s Aging and Longevity Law Institute intends to be a leader in this venture, providing training and resources for lawyers, judges, legislatures and both public and private agencies who all must strive to improve the potential for a productive, safe and dignified long life.
I am delighted to be part of the Institute’s creation. I have taught an Elderlaw Clinic for law students at Touro since 1993 and every day we see the struggles that seniors and their families endure as they attempt to traverse minefields in their search for appropriate public and private benefits and services. Our system of laws owes them better and the Institute aims to be at the forefront of innovative thinking on legal issues affecting aging, fostering creative and compassionate solutions to the needs of all people as they age. We need lawyers, judges and legislators whose respect for the elderly translates to wise policies and practices, informed by cutting edge research on the realities of today’s older population. Advances in medicine, psychology and technology have expanded our understanding of the aging process and offer great promise for more robust and richer experiences in later life. But these advances must be matched by laws, court procedures and programs that take this new knowledge into account and are implemented by lawyers and officials with sensitivity to the distinct circumstances of the elderly. Educating those in the legal system and those who provide services to them and their families must be interdisciplinary, so I am thrilled that we are partnering with Touro’s Schools of Medicine, Pharmacy, Health Sciences, Social Work and Pharmacy to develop our programs.
The Institute will be a center for the exchange of research, ideas and thoughtful discussion on the legal consequences and challenges of aging and longevity. Training the next generation of lawyers to confront these challenges and be perceptive and thoughtful advocates for older clients is urgently needed and is a pivotal goal of the Institute. Touro Law’s Concentration in Aging and Longevity Law in the J.D. program offers the courses and experiential learning enabling our graduates to start their careers with the substantive knowledge, law practice skills and attitudes to assist older clients with competence, compassion and creativity.
The Institute has been inspired by Bob Abrams’ forethought and creative energy; I am honored to begin this venture with him. A tireless advocate for the rights of the elderly, his leadership in the field of elderlaw will enhance all the Institute’s activities and bring wisdom to all our efforts.
Associate Professor of Law
Director, Aging and Longevity Institute