What is a typical week like here? While the clients and matters may vary, there are certain themes that carry throughout each week.
I might be spending a few hours drafting a client’s special needs trust, and then reviewing some documents I drafted yesterday for a different client. Most days find me writing letters to clients summarizing the things we talked about in our meeting and laying out my recommendations for moving forward. Especially this month, I’m working on probate or guardianship accountings that need to be filed with the Court, and emailing clients for more information on certain transactions. Sometimes I am out of the office meeting with a client at their home or health care facility.
Given the nature of my practice and that some of my clients are elderly or sick, appointments are sometimes canceled on short notice if someone has been admitted to the hospital or isn’t feeling well enough to meet. This doesn’t throw my day off, as there is always work that can slide right into that spot. Often someone else has called needing a last minute appointment due to impending travel (and they need to make wills) or sudden surgery scheduled (and they want to update their health care proxy) and I can use that time for them.
As the person in charge of business development for my practice, as well, I sometimes spend the morning at a networking meeting, connecting with others who could help my clients. This might mean talking with a financial advisor who specializes in working with families with children who have special needs, learning about a new assisted living home or attending a talk from a panel of Alzheimer’s experts. An afternoon might find me at a continuing education class on disability benefits or changes in the probate process, or watching a webinar on trust drafting techniques.
I volunteer time at a couple of organizations that serve seniors and families of kids with special needs, so I am sometimes on site having short consultations with people, or maybe brainstorming over the phone with someone from the organization about how to help one of their clients.
My practice also involves helping people at the beginning and end of life. I love getting emails from clients that they need to update their documents because a new baby has joined their family, and I inevitably cry when I get off the phone with a client’s family member who called to say that their parent or spouse has died. I pause and remember the work we did together, work that hopefully relieved some of the burden from their family and made it so they will need me less now, and can spend their time somewhere other than my office. I look for their obituary online, where I always learn a little something about their life or family that I didn’t know before, and I think about my other clients who have gone before them.
Whatever it is that I’m doing in my practice, I know that it is a privilege to be trusted by my clients, not only with their legal matters but with their stories and secrets and messy family stuff we all have. And it is a privilege to be the owner of my practice, able to choose the people I want to work with and the work I want to do.