Journey into Life Care Planning - Emily Monarch

How do attorneys find their way to Life Care Planning? For Emily Monarch, founder of Elder Law Solutions, a Life Care Planning Law Firm outside of Louisville, Kentucky, the path began with a position at a big law firm. “I started out practicing labor and employment law, but soon realized that it wasn't for me,” Emily remembers. “When my son was born, I decided to become a stay-at-home mom and delay practicing law until my kids got older.”

Seven years later, after a particularly long winter, Emily had a change of heart. “We had more than a dozen snow days that year and the kids were stuck in the house,” Emily laughs. “I thought, if I don't use my brain again, I'm going to lose my mind.”

She started interviewing for positions, but quickly realized that the gap in her work history would make it difficult to find a position in a traditional law firm. As she began researching options for a solo practice, she discovered elder law. “At the time, I thought that elder law was only about preserving the older client’s assets for the next generation,” Emily says. “I knew there had to be a better way to help families caring for elderly loved ones. I realized that there needed to be somebody like a wedding planner, but for old age. That’s what I wanted to do.”

Emily soon discovered that she wasn’t alone in thinking this way. She came across the Life Care Planning Association’s website and considered signing up for a Life Care Planning workshop in St. Louis. “I wasn’t sure that I wanted to do it without having any knowledge of elder law or having an existing firm,” recalls Emily. “Plus, I wanted to be able to do it part-time because my kids were still very young.”

A conversation with an attorney at another Life Care Planning Law Firm helped her decide to move forward. “Marsha Goodman, an attorney from a Life Care Planning Firm in Phoenix, was kind enough to talk to me. She encouraged me to attend the workshop and then decide.” 
After attending the workshop, Emily was ready to commit. A month later, she had incorporated her firm. By January 2015, she had hired her first elder care coordinator.

For Emily, launching her own Life Care Planning Law Firm has enabled her to design a family-friendly work schedule that strikes that elusive work-life balance. “I started out working two half days and one full day each week,” Emily notes. “I've had to be very, very conscious to build a firm that works with my life, but that was always my goal. I wanted to help others care for their family members while caring for my own family.”

Flexible, non-traditional schedules are the norm at Emily’s firm. “I have hired all caregivers on purpose, which has been amazing because they're there for the right reasons,” she says. “My elder care coordinator had a flexible schedule so she could care for her elderly mother. My paralegal, who now is my intake coordinator, worked a part-time schedule when she joined the firm.”

Emily’s formula is clearly working; her firm just celebrated its five-year anniversary. “I really had no idea how much I would enjoy being a business owner and how much satisfaction I would find from building something myself,” Emily adds. “But the best thing is being able to be there for our clients.”