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Elder Law Attorneys

History

Over the centuries, societies have built up systems of law that have been studied and drawn upon by later governments. The earliest known law is the Code of Hammurabi, developed about 1800 B.C. by the ruler of the Sumerians. Another early set of laws was the law of Moses, also known as the Ten Commandments. Every set of laws, no matter when it was introduced, has been accompanied by the need for someone to explain those laws and help others live under them. 

Much modern European law was organized and refined by legal experts assembled by Napoleon; their body of law was known as the Napoleonic Code. English colonists coming to America brought English common law, which influenced the development of much of American law. As the population in the country grew and the number of businesses increased, those who knew the law were in high demand. The two main kinds of law are civil and criminal, but many other specialty areas are also prevalent today. When our country was young, most lawyers were general law practitioners; they knew and worked with all the laws for their clients. Today, as laws have grown more complex, an increasing number of lawyers specialize and limit their practices to certain areas, such as tax law, corporate law, and intellectual property law.

In the 20th century, the number of Americans over the age of 65 increased dramatically. One significant reason for this increase was medical and technological advances that extended life spans. As the older population became larger, its members began to experience problems and have concerns that affected all of society, including financing the post-retirement years, the increased need for nursing homes and medical/geriatric care, the legal and ethical issues regarding the care of individuals with diminished capabilities, and the frequent difficulty of getting the appropriate public benefits. Senior citizens who may never have seen an attorney in their lives can find themselves in need of legal advice and advocacy. Out of necessity, elder law has developed to meet their needs. In addition, one of the largest generations in our country's history—the "baby boomers" who were born between 1945 and 1965—are becoming a part of this older generation. As this large generation ages, the demand for elder law attorneys should increase.