It’s Just a Number, Right?

We plan future issues of the Hennepin Lawyer about a year in advance, and often by looking to the past. As a committee, we consider topics we have covered in the recent past and some all-time favorites from even further back—and we anticipate what might be important in the year to come. Many times, we pick “timeless” topics appealing to a broad spectrum of our members. It is nearly impossible to be “timely” because, even if we are writing about an issue for which there is a relevant current event, by the time the issue goes to press, the timeliness of the issue couldbe long past.

The topic of elder law would appear to be such a timeless topic. In many ways it is. Our articles address many of the facets of elder law: practical, unique, ethical, practice-driven, and even new. You are sure to learn something and become a better lawyer, or even “just” a better citizen by reading the articles in this issue.

But, as I write this, we are into our second week of a statewide stay-at-home order. Lives are upended. Businesses are frustrated. Employees are, sadly, becoming former employees. Law firms are coping with how to practice in rapidly changing times. The courts are doing as much as possible, with 90 percent of judges and staff working from home. Remarkably, we are all still able to get a large amount of work done.

In the midst of all of this upheaval, there are ways in which “the elderly” are in the news. They are among the most vulnerable due to underlying health issues and the way many live in groupcare situations. There are some who suggest “the elderly” need to be sacrificed for a less dire economic realty. Most recently, news reports are circulating about the tension between an individual’s right to privacy and the public’s right to know about the impact COVID-19 is having on our group-care settings. Tomorrow, there may well be yet another way “the elderly” are in the news. I can only hope it will be in a more positive light.

Our articles touch on some of the many specific legal concerns of those practicing elder law, or those who have older family members. We have practical how-to articles, an informative culture-and-the-law article, and an inspirational end-of-life article. We also address the darker side of allegations of abuse against the elderly.

In addition to our articles in this issue, I want to bridge to a recent Twitter post from the HCBA which, in turn, harkens back to the 2018 Profiles in Practice issue of the Hennepin Lawyer (like I said, sometimes we look back to look ahead as a publication). Back in November/December 2018, we profiled one of our members, Jules Porter, who has quite the resume—Marine Corps veteran, aeronautical engineer,seminarian,lawyer, and video game developer. Recently, Porter launched a Kickstarter campaign for her software development (and more) company, Seraph 7 Studios, as it is developing a one of-a-kind (but, hopefully, a first-of-its-kind) video game aimed at creating “a hero for every player” in an immersive game that is fun, yet meaningful. The first game is called Ultimate Elder Battle, and it is nothing like you have ever seen. I encourage you to check it out at It is quite compelling.

Something each of our articles addresses is the respect due to our seniors and to our future selves. How each deserves to be treated as an individual. How, too often, the grouping of individuals as some “other” group is wrong, and shortsighted. I hope you will value the insights provided by our many authors with a diverse interest in the issue of elder law, a practice area that touches each of us.
By Hon. William Koch
Bill Koch has served as a judge in Hennepin County since 2007. He is proud to note many of his former and current law clerks have worked on the Hennepin Lawyer (because they wanted to and enjoy it, not because he used to be Chair and will not stop talking about how great an experience it is).
Managing Editor
Nick Hansen

Executive Editor
Joseph Satter