Published in the August 2019 edition of the Long Island Press: Spotlight Long Island
As Cona Elder Law celebrated its 20th anniversary and was named the #1 Elder Law firm on Long Island for the 8th consecutive year, the firm and its attorneys continue to be leaders in the field, creating programs and initiatives responsive to their clients’ needs.
We recently interviewed Jennifer Cona, Cona Elder Law’s founder and managing partner, about the firm’s growth, success, and ability to stay on top after all these years.
Q: Please tell me a bit about the history of Cona Elder Law, including when it started, where it’s based and how many locations and employees you now have.
Jennifer Cona: I started a solo Elder Law practice in Manhattan 21 years ago. My practice grew quite quickly and I made many connections on Long Island. I therefore decided to move the practice to Nassau County in 1999. Since that time, I’ve grown the firm organically, nurturing talent and promoting from within whenever possible. We are now a team of 14 attorneys and a staff of 40 people in total. Our headquarters are in Melville and we recently opened a Nassau County office as well.
Q: What makes your law firm special in your opinion?
JC: Three things make up our secret sauce: 1) we take a holistic approach to the work that we do, helping our clients and families with much more than just their immediate legal needs; 2) we are passionate about what we do and we deliver our services with compassion because we’ve all been there ourselves as family caregivers; and 3) we are innovative. We listen to what our clients are saying, what challenges they are facing and we find creative solutions to help not just the client presently sitting at the conference table, but all of our clients – current and future.
Q: What is your firm’s mission?
JC: Cona Elder Law’s mission is to be the unrivaled Elder Law and Senior Health Care industry resource, distinguished by our multigenerational and holistic approach to Elder Law. Our goal is to inspire and empower people to embrace aging with support, resources and referrals. We provide thought leadership and deliver exceptional legal services to both families and the health care industry, finding innovative strategies and solutions to ensure our older adults receive quality care. We are dedicated to our clients, our community and our employees and to making New York a great place to live, work and age with grace.
Q: Please tell me a bit about your job, including your favorite part of what you do.
JC: My job is to be the captain of the ship. I set the course and make sure we stay on course. I keep my finger on the pulse of the senior care industry, which includes everything from housing issues to technological advances to drug trials and medical research to legislative and political issues on the state and federal level. What I like most about my job is educating our clients and the public about these issues in a way that cuts through the noise and lets people know what they really need to know in a way they can readily understand.
Q: What new initiative is your firm implementing that you can provide details on?
JC: Genser Cona Elder Law recognizes the vital importance of the role digital technology plays in our daily lives and how it can improve communication with added availability and accessibility at the touch of a button. We also understand that family members have busy individual schedules and are not always physically together. For example, adult children may need a copy of their parents’ Will, Trust or Advance Directives but they live out of state. Or if your child is away at college and needs medical assistance, you may need access to their Health Care Proxy. Therefore, we are launching a Document Vault through a client portal on our website – where families can securely store their important family documents for on-line access anywhere at any time.
Q: What is the biggest challenge your organization faces and how are you working to overcome that challenge?
JC: The biggest issue facing our workforce is the issue of elder caregiving. The combination of older adults living longer and workers retiring later combines to pack a powerful punch to businesses. Elder caregiving costs employers $33.6 billion annually in lost productivity. Two-thirds of working elder caregivers on Long Island have lost work time and wages due to providing care for an aging loved one. We have heard many stories from our clients who had to take a leave of absence, pass on a promotion or even quit their job to care for an aging family member. To address this issue we launched an Elder Care Employee Benefit called TAWC: Tools and Advice for Working Caregivers. TAWC gives employees the tools they need to navigate the elder care landscape while remaining present and productive at work. The TAWC benefit program helps employers by reducing absenteeism, downtime and turnover and promotes job security for employees.
Cona Elder Law is a full service law firm based in Melville, LI. Our firm concentrates in the areas of elder law, estate planning, estate administration and litigation, special needs planning and health care facility representation. We are proud to have been recognized for our innovative strategies, creative techniques and unparalleled negotiating skills unendingly driven toward our paramount objective - satisfying the needs of our clients.
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