Thursday, January 23, 2014
There are a lot of impressive people who teach courses in the "law and aging" spectrum, people I know by name, but have never actually met. I suspect I'm not alone in this regard. So, this post is the first of what I hope to offer as a series of "spotlights" on colleagues teaching "elder law" -- broadly defined -- at law schools across the U.S. and Canada. My goal is go beyond the law school profiles with these spotlights.
Shining the spotlight on Associate Professor Lisa Brodoff at the Seattle University School of Law is a great place to start.
Lisa Brodoff is the Director of Clinical Programs, which keeps her busy with Seattle's Administrative Law and Trusts and Estates Clinics, as well as teaching Elder Law. One of the first aspects of Lisa's career that struck me is that she was well ahead of the curve on same-sex marriage equality issues, having filed an Amicus brief in Washington State in 2005, arguing that without marriage protection, same-sex elder couples risked impoverishment, loss of the family home, and could all-too-easily encounter "uninformed and insensitive health care." Her argument, even if unpersuasive in the short run with a majority of the Washington Supreme Court (there were strong dissenting opinions from those who understood), certainly predicted the path for success in Windsor.
One of Professor Brodoff's latest projects has been working on Alzheimer's Disease and Dementia Mental Health Advance Directives. She has developed a first-of-its kind planning document, one that she originally proposed in a law review article for the Elder Law Journal in 2010. Links to her template, plus detailed instructions for use, are now available on Compassion and Choices' website. Students in her Trusts and Estates Clinic are already working with this format for advance directives for clinic clients.
Now we get to the really fun part of Lisa's background. She's a musician (electric bass!), singer and songwriter -- for a band called The Righteous Mothers. Absolutely fun music, great harmonies, well-crafted lyrics, often with a strong vein of humor, and a fair share of "law and aging" content. Just check out the YouTube video for their song "Old Fat Naked Women for Peace." I double-dog dare our readers to do so!
As my Elder Law Prof Blogging colleague Becky Morgan likes to say, "Elder Law Rocks!" -- and this time we can say so "musically."