August 19, 2021
This is “awards season” in the legal industry. By any standard, it has been a good one for Cona Elder Law. Just this week, we were notified that I have been honored by Best Lawyers© for the third consecutive year, that the Long Island Business News Reader Rankings have awarded our firm First Place for Best Elder Care Law Firm and Best Trusts and Estates Law Firm, and that we were a Finalist for Best Overall Law Firm. All this comes on the heels of our COO Julie Wyetzner being named one of the Top 50 Women in business by LIBN.
In previous years, this week may have tempted me to sit back and feel pretty good about our firm. This, however, was not like any other year. It began without any of us using Zoom on a daily basis and concluded with a set of new operating norms we couldn’t have imagined the last time they handed out these awards.
For that reason, and many others, I want to recognize each and every person at Cona Elder Law for the unique blend of adaptability, sacrifice, persistence, and innovation they brought to our mission to empower the best lives of our clients.
The American novelist James Lane Allen famously wrote, “Adversity does not build character, it reveals it.” Month after month, the character that was revealed in each of our team members was both inspiring and humbling. I’ve always believed that our firm is exceptional because our people are exceptional. Throughout this trying year, I was reminded of that truth more times than I can count.
I also want to thank our amazing clients. Change and technology can present a unique set of challenges in the older adult community. Regardless, clients old and new trusted us to act in their best interests as they worked through evolving communications and processes until we achieved the outcomes that best protected them. Likewise, we grew to appreciate those clients who referred us, lawyers who did the same, and an amazing coterie of Long Island organizations who partnered with us to educate the community through webinars, online panel discussions, and other virtual learning techniques.
As a practical matter, we faced every obstacle put in our path and worked our way around them. The tangible results were striking. At the close of our last fiscal year, we protected $67M in client assets and $45M dollars saved with Medicaid applications. We helped 82 clients receive 24/7 live in home health aides, protected 407 houses from Medicaid liens, and completed hundreds of fully executed Wills and Powers of Attorney, 78 of them virtually.
Said another way, we earned these awards. I’ve never been more proud of the firm that bears my name and the people who live its values. This was a remarkable year and I got to share it with remarkable people. In the end, that was the award I will cherish most.
Jennifer B. Cona, Esq.
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Senior Partner Melissa Negrin-Wiener Honored as Power 25 in Law