Comparison of Elder Law Firms Based on the Size of the Firm

Couple doing research on estate planning firmsQ. My husband and I are looking for an estate planning attorney for us who is also a Medicaid planning lawyer that can help my mom and dad. We realized that some elder care planning attorneys in Fairfax, where we live, are one-person shops, while some Medicaid planning firms are large and do a bit of everything. There are also midsize firms that specialize in Medicaid Asset Protection and estate planning, and other related matters. What is the best type of firm if we want experts in just the areas we are looking for, and where we can get personalized attention and excellent service for years to come? Should I search for a small, medium, or large Elder Law firm when looking for an Elder Law attorney near me?

A. When choosing an Elder Law firm and estate planning firm in Fairfax, size certainly matters! If you want legal services from a general practice law firm that does a little bit of elder care but has many other practice areas and resources under one roof, then a bigger firm will generally be better. On the other hand, if you want an estate planning attorney and Elder Law expert who limits their practice to a specialized area, such as Elder Law or estate planning, you are probably better off consulting with a small- or medium-sized firm.

When you are searching for a Medicaid planning firm that specializes in all facets of elder care, Elder Law, and estate planning, you should consider qualities such as certifications (such as CELA and CAP), top ratings from peers in the field, years of expertise, personalized attention, prompt service, and excellent reviews and testimonials from clients and peers. Once you consider those elements, then it’s time to decide what size firm is the best when seeking a highly specialized Elder Law firm in Fairfax, Virginia, or Fredericksburg, Virginia, or Rockville Maryland, or the District of Columbia.

Here’s what you need to know to choose the right size practice for your needs, and why we believe a medium-sized law firm, such as the Farr Law Firm, is optimal for all of your Elder Law and estate planning needs:

Why You Should Consider Mid-Size Elder Law Firms for Elder Law and Estate Planning

Once adults reach their later years, they begin to have legal needs that are unique to their stage in life. Specialized Elder Law attorneys and estate planning lawyers handle these needs. For their needs, seniors may prefer the intimacy of a small firm or the broad resources and reputation of a large firm. A medium-size firm has the best of both worlds: smaller and local, but with the broader resources of a large firm.

  • Midsize Elder Law firms provide the personalized client service of a small firm along with the staff and financial resources of a much larger firm. This closer client-lawyer relationship fosters a deeper understanding of the client’s goals and enables these specialized elder care attorneys to provide customized strategies and solutions.
  • The midsize law firm’s narrow focus allows for excellent service and leads to exceptional results for clients. By concentrating their efforts on areas of law related to estates and elders, such as Elder Law, estate planning, Medicaid asset protection, probate and trust administration, special needs planning, guardianship and conservatorship, etc., a midsize Elder Law firm can stay updated on the latest developments, precedents, and nuances specific to these specialized practice areas. This specialized knowledge allows these elder law experts to provide tailored and targeted legal advice to clients facing legal issues within their areas of expertise.
  • Midsize Elder Law firms are small enough that we get to know clients personally, yet large enough that if one attorney or paralegal isn’t available, another knows the case well enough to cover the client’s needs.
  • Contrast this with a small Elder Law firm — with perhaps only one attorney, or one attorney and and one paralegal. While this type of small firm may feel more intimate at first, there is a potentially significant downside — if the attorney or the paralegal retires or gets sick (or worse), it may be very difficult for the firm to continue your case or for you to get the thorough and comprehensive services that you need. And when you need follow-up services in the future, the firm may not be there to provide them.
  • With the right number of attorneys and paralegals and client service staff, midsize Elder Law firms such as the Farr Law Firm (which — as of April 2024 — has four attorneys, eight specialized paralegals, and two client service representatives) are able to cultivate a close-knit and intimate working environment. This size firm still creates a very personalized and collaborative atmosphere with clients, where clients can establish direct relationships with several members of their legal team and receive highly specialized and individualized attention. But this type of midsize firm has the depth of team members to assist you that the small firm lacks.
  • Older adults are likely to have a number of varied legal needs, including issues regarding Medicare, Medicaid, long-term health care options, financial planning, creating a power of attorney, and living wills/advance directives, to name a few. A midsize Elder Law practice, such as the Farr Law Firm, focuses primarily on the needs of these people who are at a particular stage in their lives.
  • For Elder Law clients who are in poor health, attorneys might need to make house calls, often even visiting a hospital or nursing home. Some Elder Law clients may even need their trusted family members, such as their adult children, to interact with their attorneys because they are too ill to do so themselves. Midsize elder law firms can provide such personalized out-of-office attention when needed because it has enough stuff to not worry about leaving the office empty to go make a house call or visit a hospital or nursing home to have a client sign documents.
  • With midsize firms such as the Farr Law Firm, response times are generally quicker because midsize firms have enough client service representatives to answer the phones and deal with client concerns, often even dealing with emergencies during the evening or on the weekend. Numerous studies and reports have shown that one of the things clients want most from their attorneys is communication — to know that their Elder Law firm is going to respond to them in a timely fashion. Midsize firms have the bandwidth to do so, whereas smaller firms may not, and with larger firms, individual clients may get lost in the shuffle.
  • With a midsize Elder Law firm, if one attorney or paralegal retires or gets sick or leaves, other knowledgeable and capable attorneys will take over for them. Because the firm is not too large, you would have likely already met the attorney or paralegal you will be working with, should this occur.

Concerns About Larger Firms and Personalized Service

Most larger Elder Law firms and estate planning firms do not just specialize in these areas of law. Rather, they typically provide a mix of traditional general practice legal services, including some trusts and estates and some Elder Law services, but they also have a broader focus on many additional areas of law. These firms may be knowledgeable about more areas of the law. However, a midsize Elder Law and estate planning firm has a narrower, more specialized focus. Here are some of the other concerns:

  • At a larger law firm, the sheer volume may inhibit devotion to any one client. There might not be as much of an emphasis on personal relationships. In the field of Elder Law, these types of relationships are important.
  • At a large firm, clients may not have access to the senior attorneys. They may meet the attorneys once and never see work directly with them again.
  • At a large firm, the fees may be higher compared to midsize and smaller firms because of more overhead.
  • At a large firm, there is always a more formal and bureaucratic organizational structure, which may result in larger firms not being willing to test new or cutting-edge strategies that could be a great benefit to you for your specific needs.

Why Smaller Firms May Not Make Sense for the Long Term

Smaller firms typically specialize in one specific practice area, such as Elder Law or estate planning. Clients enjoy the ease of developing relationships with the attorney and one or two other staff members there.

  • In a small Elder Law firm that relies on one person, what happens if they retire, close shop, or get sick or die?
  • Elder Law and estate planning require long-term client-attorney relationships, and this may not be possible if you count on a one-person business. Our firm has had countless clients come to us throughout the years because the attorney they used to work with retired or passed away.

When you are ready to choose the best-sized law Elder Law and estate planning firm, you should consider your legal needs, the importance to you of responsiveness and personal attention, and the firm’s reputation and experience. No matter what the firm size, the quality of legal services depends on the attorneys, paralegals, and staff, and at the Farr Law Firm, they are all top-notch!

Count on the Farr Law Firm for All of Your Elder Law and Estate Planning Needs

The Farr Law Firm is a midsize Elder Law and estate planning law firm that helps protect seniors and their families by preserving dignity, quality of life, and financial security. Our track record of successfully handling complex legal matters, such as Medicaid planning and asset protection, builds trust and credibility among our clients and peers. Clients seeking high-quality legal services in Elder Law, estate planning, and elder care gravitate toward the Farr Law Firm due to our reputation for excellence. Our principal attorney, Evan H. Farr, CELA, CAP is one of about 525 Certified Elder Law Attorneys in the country, one of about 100 members of the NAELA Council of Advanced Practitioners, a four-time best-selling author, and creator of the Living Trust Plus® Asset Protection Trust and the Academy of Living Trust Plus® Attorneys. He is one of the top Elder Law attorneys in Virginia, one of the top elder care lawyers in Maryland, one of the top estate planning attorneys in Washington, DC, a renowned living trust attorney in Fredericksburg, Virginia, and one of the foremost legal authorities in the country in the field of Medicaid Asset Protection and related Trusts. If you have not done Long-Term Care Planning, Estate Planning, or Incapacity Planning (or had your planning documents reviewed in the past several years), or if you have a loved one who is nearing the need for long-term care or already receiving long-term care, call the Farr Law Firm to make an appointment for a consultation.

Northern Virginia Estate Planning Attorney: 703-691-1888
Medicaid Attorney Fredericksburg: 540-479-1435
Estate Planning Attorney Maryland: 301-519-8041
Elder Law Attorney Near Me (in DC): 202-587-2797

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About Evan H Farr, CELA, CAP

Evan H. Farr is a 4-time Best-Selling author in the field of Elder Law and Estate Planning. In addition to being one of approximately 500 Certified Elder Law Attorneys in the Country, Evan is one of approximately 100 members of the Council of Advanced Practitioners of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and is a Charter Member of the Academy of Special Needs Planners.