Tuesday, June 7, 2016

What Does Attorney Dalton Do?

Yippee our first blog post! The following blog post was from a paper Colleen, the newest member of our office, wrote about Attorney Dalton for her career class at UMass Amherst. Ever wonder what it's like to be Attorney Dalton, or an attorney in general? This post should answer many of your questions!

"As a history major, going to law school has always been something that seemed like it would be in my future. As much as I love history, I came in to UMass with that as a major simply because it was something that I liked and saw as a stepping stone to a career in law. I spent a lot of time in high school history classes studying American history, and I thought if I studied history as a prerequisite to law, it would make me the best lawyer possible for the type of law that I thought I wanted to pursue, constitutional.

From my time here at UMass, though, I have realized that law school is something that is not in my near future, but I have not ruled it out entirely. I have spent the last eight years, between high school and college, rigorously pushing myself academically, and I can honestly not fathom another three years of intense schooling right now. I still have an interest in law, but right now I am very much more interested in getting my feet on the ground with work experience and taking the chance to live on my own.

That being said, I am still interested in one day pursuing a degree in law, even if it is not in the area that I originally considered. For my informational interview, I spoke with a lawyer in the law office that I have periodically interned in over the past 3 years, and currently work for as a social media manager and office assistant. The office focuses on elder law, and I have been able to see a little bit about what that means from witnessing will signing and putting together files, but the informational interview gave me a better look into what that truly means. I spoke with Elaine Dalton, who is the head lawyers in the office, and she gave me some insight into what a typical day is like for her and other elder law attorneys. She said that 50-75% of her day is spent meeting with clients doing estate planning and probate, dealing with nursing home and medicare issues, and working with real estate. The rest of her day is spent returning phone calls and emails and generating written communication. She also said that although this is a rough guesstimate of where her time is spent, there is no typical day and that all clients are different. Elaine may spend most of her day in her office meeting with younger clients or may spend her day traveling to meet with clients who are unable to leave their house or nursing home. Drafting wills and working with medicare applications may sound boring, but because each day is so different, it can be very exciting and challenging.

When asked why she has been able to establish a successful practice and continue to grow it, Elaine said it was because she works to relate to her clients on a personal level and doesn't speak to them in "legalese." She assumes that her clients know nothing about the process they are about to go through, and she makes sure they understand everything to the fullest degree.

Elaine talked about how she stays relevant in her field. Elaine takes classes from the MCLE, or Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education, and does other work in order to stay up to date on the newest laws and ways to practice. She talks with other attorneys about the way they are doing their work and follows different law news outlets to see when laws change. I believe that this is important to be your best in any field and to see it working so well for her encourages me to keep up with my education once I am in the "real world."

Elaine did mention that law school is extremely challenging, and that she knows many people who did not pass the bar the first time they took it but also that I should not be discouraged if I ever choose to attend law school because she loves her job, practice, and being able to help people with what she is doing."

We hope you learned a little bit about Attorney Dalton and what she does! And make sure to follow our blog for more stories and updates!

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