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Rick Law (Dad) and Diana Law (Daughter) Honored as Leading Lawyers

By Rick Law of the Estate Planning Center at Law ElderLaw.  Senior Advocates in Western Chicagoland in Kane County in Illinois.  Law ElderLaw is a multi-generation law firm.

We are proud to announce that once again the attorneys at Law ElderLaw have been chosen by Leading Lawyers Magazine as the top elder law attorneys in Illinois.

Selected from a pool of more than 98,000 lawyers licensed to practice law in Illinois, Rick’s peers honored him with this recognition:

  • Ranked #1 in Top 10 Elder Law Lawyers

In addition, Rick’s daughter, Elder Law Estate Planning attorney and Kane County Public Guardian Diana Law was recognized:

  • Ranked #7 in Top 10 Elder Law Lawyers

Leading Lawyers, a division of Law Bulletin Publishing Company, has been serving the Chicago legal and business communities since 1854. From its modest beginning in 1854 as a daily reporter of courthouse information, the company has grown into a leading Midwestern information provider in the legal, real estate and financial fields. Publications include newspapers, magazines, newsletters, periodicals, web sites, directories and books. Most of the products are printed at the company’s downtown Chicago headquarters and commercial printing plant.

Leading Lawyers has grown out of the extensive legal experience Law Bulletin Publishing provides, and is the most trusted and respected resource to locate reputable, experienced lawyers. The practice of law is unique in that you truly need to be a lawyer to judge the quality, experience and reputation of other lawyers. Leading Lawyers surveys lawyers, asking them which of their peers, indeed their competitors, they would recommend to a family member or friend if they could not take a case within their area of law or geographic region. To maintain the quality and credibility of the survey, lawyers cannot nominate themselves or anyone at their own law firm. Based upon survey nominations and approval by our Advisory Board, only the top lawyers are nominated and eligible for membership in Leading Lawyers. Starting in Illinois and eventually worldwide, Leading Lawyers provides extensive profiles of the most respected and experienced lawyers to assist you in your search for a highly qualified lawyer.


Too many families needlessly lose everything they have.  Don’t let that be you.  If you need help building a fortress around your estate to protect it from creditors, predators, and the cost of chronic disease, give our office a call at 800-310-3100.  Your first consultation is absolutely free.  We’ll let you know what steps you need to take, right now, to protect yourself and your family.  Call now, because when you’re out of money, you’re out of options!


Rick L. Law, Attorney, Estate Planner for Retirees.

Rick has been named the #1 Illinois elder law estate planning attorney for 8 years in a row by Leading Lawyer Magazine. He has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, AARP Magazine,, and numerous newspapers and articles. Rick is the lead attorney for Law ElderLaw, LLP, focusing in Estate Planning, Guardianship, and Nursing Home Solutions. His goal is to give retirees an informed edge when it comes to dealing with an uncertain future.  Get flexible retirement strategies that work during good times and bad, plus information on how you can save your home and assets from being used to pay for long term care.  Call 800-310-3100 for your free consultation now!

Diana Law named one of the “40 Under 40” by Chicago Daily Law Bulletin!

DLaw_headshot-2015Law ElderLaw is proud to announce that Diana M. Law has been chosen by Chicago Daily Law Bulletin and Chicago Lawyer as one of 2015’s “40 Under 40”.

Diana was chosen from more than 1000 nominations for attorneys throughout Illinois.  Among the criteria for the award is intelligence, passion, success in the office, a desire to help community and a willingness to work hard at one of the country’s most important professions.

Here’s what Chicago Daily Law Bulletin had to say about Diana:

“Dedicated.  That’s the word that Diana Law’s colleagues use most often when describing this young elder law counselor.  Law, a partner with the Aurora law firm of Law ElderLaw, has earned the respect of her peers, her clients and her community.  This isn’t surprising.  Law knows the ins and outs of elder law.  Just as importantly, she is intensely dedicated to her clients, working long hours to help them resolve their most difficult elder law issues.”

Congratulations Diana!

Rick Law & Diana Law Top Elder Law Attorneys!

Based on Illinois Lawyer’s votes, Leading Lawyer Magazine Fall/Winter Edition announced:

The Top Ten Elder Law Attorneys

1.  Rick L. Law

2.  Diana M. Law

We are grateful for our colleagues and we deeply appreciate the professional recognition.



We congratulate the other members of the Top Ten List:

3.  Kerry R. Peck, Peck Bloom LLC

4.  D. Rebecca Mitchell

5.  Eve C. Epstein, Epstein and Epstein

6.  Kenneth M. Bloom, Peck Bloom LLC

7.  Mark B. Epstein, Epstein and Epstein

8.  Janna S. Dutton, Dutton & Casey PC

9.  Joseph T. Monahan, Monahan & Cohen

10. Howard Samuel Berk, IL Disability Association & IL Disability Pooled Trust

Written by a Happy Dad…..

When the kids are growing up, you always worry about how they’re going to turn out.  While I always worried about my daughter Diana, she has far exceeded all of my hopes for her.  She has become a great law partner, outstanding attorney, and an excellent wife and mother.  I could not be more proud of her.

The Northern Illinois University College of Law Alumni Council recently recognized Diana as the 2011 Young Alumna of the Year.  The Alumni Council stated, “Her practice focuses on serving seniors and those who love them…Most often, Diana’s cients are burdened by a long term care crisis.  With passion and purpose, she serves the frail, elderly, children with disabilities, and disabled adults.”

The Alumni Council also recognized that Diana is the president of the 1,345 member Kane County Bar Association, and that the Illinois State Bar Association named her Young Lawyer of the Year for 2010.  She was selected to be a “Super Lawyer Rising Star,” and Leading Lawyers Network selected her as a top elder law attorney for 2010-2011.  Along with renowned Chicago attorney Kerry Peck (of the Peck Bloom Law Firm), Diana is the co-chair of the Task Force for Senior Fairness.

By Diana’s Dad, Rick L. Law, Law ElderLaw LLP

Pictured below:  Diana receiving the Young Alumna of the Year Award

Diana receiving the Northern Illinois University College of Law 2011 Young Alumna of the Year Award


Other 2011 NIU alumni award recipients were:  Mark D. Gilwit, Esquire, Alumnus of the Year; Honorable Renee L. Robinson (posthumously), Outstanding Service Award; Honorable Ronald G. Matekaitis, Distinguished Service Award; Mrs. Betty DeGunther, Honorary Law Alumna Award; Chief Justice Thomas L. Kilbridge, Public Service Award; and Rachel Hernandez Hoag, Esquire, Mentor of the Year Award.



For more information on the recipients and their awards, click here.

Navigating Political Rapids! (or why I have been paddling and not blogging!)

Task Force for Senior Fairness

Task Force for Senior Fairness

“Legislators Block Proposed Illinois Nursing Home Medicaid Rules”—that was this morning’s newspaper headline in our state capital.  That headline would not have happened except for major efforts on the part of our legal/political/lobbying team.

Here is a little background:  Last year, I needed to take a break from blogging so we could create a team to lobby in defense of the frail and the elderly citizens of Illinois.  We had not planned on taking a one-year-long blogging hiatus—but when the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (IHFS) proposed its first draft of Medicaid rules changes in May of 2010, we felt the regulations were critically important enough to give it our full attention.

And give it our full attention we did!  We created the Task Force for Senior Fairness.  The task force included concerned attorneys from all over the state of Illinois and the Cook County Public Guardians Office.  We have worked alongside the Illinois Chapter of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA).  With this amazing group of people we have been able to achieve far more than we had initially thought possible, including:

  • Hiring a capable lobbyist to help us communicate an understandable message to our legislators in the House of Representatives and the Senate, as well as the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (which administers Medicaid).
  • Convincing legislators that while overhauling the Medicaid rules must be done in compliance with new federal law, it would be unfair to make the new Illinois Medicaid rules more harsh than the federal mandate.
  • Creating a website ( to help deliver information to politicians as well as to public interest groups and the average concerned citizen.

Fighting to make a difference, is important and invigorating work, but in many ways it has been like taking on an additional job!

There have been quite a few people who have been integral to our fight for senior fairness, including task force co-chair and renowned elder law attorney Kerry Peck; elder law attorney  (and my own daughter) Diana Law, who served as the task force co-chair and tireless advocate for rights for seniors; senior communications expert Jessica Bannister (a farmer’s daughter who is the webmaster and legislative chair for the Kendall County Republican Women); and our talented and highly regarded democratic lobbyist Michael Bauer.  We hope to feature some of these amazing colleagues in future blog posts, so that our readers can get to know and appreciate them as we do.

And of course I can’t send out a post about what’s been going on over the past year without talking a little bit about my family.  Some of my readers know that I have been an avid horseman for many years, which is why I was thrilled to be able to buy my two oldest granddaughters (5½-year-old Lucy and 4½-year-old Daphne) their first riding helmets this winter!  I can’t wait to start riding with both girls this summer, enjoying some grandfather-granddaughter “horseplay.”

Feel free to contact me at  I look forward to catching up with you, keeping you informed, and continuing the conversation here at my blog!

The Switch Behind the Towel

Sunday morning traffic jam, Crawford Colorado

Sunday morning traffic jam, Crawford Colorado

I had just checked into the Crawford Country Store and Motel—a combination convenience store and motel in Crawford, Colorado.  I had chosen to live at this clean and basic lodging during a five-day horse training clinic on the western slope of the Rockies.  After I found and entered my room, I dropped my bags and headed for the bathroom.  I walked in, turned to my right, and flipped the light switch—nothing happened.  “The light bulb must be burned out,” I thought.  I tried again—and nothing.  Well, I hustled back downstairs to the country store area and told the folks behind the counter that my bathroom light did not work.  A young man looked at me, chuckled, and said, “You need to flip the switch behind the towel.”  My jaw dropped and I asked, “There’s a switch behind the towel?”  He assured me that there was, as he had just used it that morning when he cleaned the room.  Shaking my head and wondering about whomever had decided to install a towel rack over a light switch, I went back upstairs to see if this was really true.  I put my hand behind the towel and felt a switch.  Bingo, the light turned on!

I thought about this for a moment…  I had a low opinion of the decision to place a light switch “behind the towel”—but then it reminded me of how often in life the real answer to something is hidden from us.  The obvious answer is often not the right answer—this is why we need to find those professional counselors, health care providers, and lawyers who know where to find the light switch we need.

Imagine for a moment that you suddenly have a diagnosis of some grave physical ailment.  You would most likely consider immediately hustling off to see experts places such as the Mayo Clinic or the Cleveland Clinic.  Another example: even though we are lawyers ourselves, we often hire other lawyers to give us advice in specific legal problem areas.  When we need to hire a lawyer, we seek out an experienced practitioner with a proven record.  You see, when I need an attorney, I want the best!  We don’t just hire the first person who says, “I’m sure I can take care of you, but I’m going to have to do some research in the area first.”  We hire legal counselors and refer our clients only to attorneys who can readily say, “Oh yes, we handle situations like yours every day.”  Those legal advocates know where the hidden light switches have been placed.

When it comes to dealing with the issues of the frail, elderly, and disabled, Law ElderLaw knows where those hidden light switches are.  Our areas of concentration are elder law estate planning, disability, Medicaid, and V.A. long term care benefits.  Our outstanding Law ElderLaw team turns on the lights for our clients every day!


Grandpa’s Got a Bug


My 4 year-old granddaughter, Lucy, has been explaining my recent illness by flatly stating, “Grandpa’s got a bug in his lungs.”  Thankfully after an almost two-week illness, I am ready to head back to the office… for half a day. (After all, “In Sickness and in Health” is the official name of my weekly blog, even though its host website is  During my bout with sinusitis—which morphed into bronchitis—I experienced several things worth sharing.

First, when we are healthy, we do take a lot for granted.  I am grateful to be able to sleep in a bed again after many nights of trying to sleep in a chair.


Second, being a lawyer is not very helpful when you need medical care.  One physician who did a follow-up checkup told me that the prior doctor warned her that “he is a lawyer.”  I was not exactly sure how I should feel about that, but  it was obvious that we lawyers cause medical personnel to act as though they are treating a sick cobra. Third, I enjoyed using Wikipedia to look up everything I could about my illnesses and medications.  As a predominantly left-brained analytical, it is very satisfying to come home from a doctor’s office or the urgent care and look up information.  It was very helpful to understand the diagnosis of bronchitis.  I actually understood my own anatomy better and could better apply what the doctor had told me to do and what to expect.  In addition, I had been admonished to NOT use a cough suppressant  medications.  “But why?” I wondered.  “I feel like I really need some cough medicine!”  To better understand that order, I looked up cough suppressant medicines and learned that with bronchitis, its better to “promote coughing.”  Cough suppressants actually make it more difficult to clear the bronchial tubes.

It really helped to check all of the information out via Wikipedia ( and WebMD (  I could better understand why I got a little crazy after spraying Albuterol into my  body.  Nonetheless, that medication is a life-saver for asthmatics and folks afflicted with acute bronchitis.  For more on that, see the article entitled “Ventolin remains a breath of fresh air for asthmatics after 40 years.

I am extremely grateful to my wife, Rose, and the entire legal team at Law ElderLaw.  We recently celebrated our 5th anniversary as an elder law-focused practice.  When I decided to dedicate myself to the frail elderly and the disabled, one of my biggest concerns was my own age.  One of my chief goals has been to make sure that if and when something happens to me, in that I cannot serve as the leader, the Law ElderLaw team would be strong enough to carry on.  Based on recent experience, I can assure everyone that Law ElderLaw is being ably managed and staffed by my successors.  Nonetheless, it’s time for me to get back to work!

Auntie Florence

Our Law ElderLaw motto is “Serving Seniors and Those Who Love Them.”  Jo Buscemi, niece of Raffaella Calabrese (more affectionately known as “Auntie Florence”), shared these words with me and asked me to share them with you:

Auntie Florence

Auntie Florence

Dear Mr. Law,

Around October 2008 my mother and I had our first meeting with Mr. Jonathan Johnson in regards to my Aunt Raffaella Calabrese (“Auntie Florence”).  My aunt had suffered for years with dementia and had various (six in all) live-in caregivers.  I was told by many to keep my aunt in familiar surroundings for as long as possible and I being her power of attorney, I did exactly that.

I came to your Aurora office one day and had our initial meeting with Jonathan.  I was very apprehensive.  Norridge HealthCare Facility recommended that I talk with you folks.  Well, after our second meeting with Jonathan and many phone calls and questions, we returned in about November of 2008 and contracted with your firm for assistance.  I put off as long as I possibly could placing Auntie in a nursing home, and then only because our sixth caregiver was returning to Poland and Auntie had exhausted all her life’s savings in addition to what I paid for from my savings.  I have MS (Multiple Sclerosis) and it was difficult to care for my aunt and mom, so I had to quit my job two years ago.  But this letter is not about me—it is about my Auntie Florence.

Auntie went to live at Norridge HealthCare Facility on June 18, 2009 and sadly, she passed away on February 9, 2010.  We were very satisfied with this facility and its staff.  During this time I was assigned to Gina Salamone as our attorney at Law ElderLaw.  I know I drove Gina and Sean (and everyone who answered the phone) nuts with all my calls and my frantic questions and nervousness.  I do believe Gina and I have a bond, though, and I trusted her with my precious family member and for that I am very grateful to her.

Jonathan Johnson and Gina Salamone

Jonathan Johnson and Gina Salamone

I have recommended people to your firm and I have even gone as far as handing out Jonathan’s and Gina’s phone numbers—and advised these people to get all their ducks in a row now rather than wait.

I have attached a picture of Auntie Florence and I wish you to express my family’s sincere appreciation for all the thousand times I called, ranted, cried, and went nuts—but your staff never gave up, not once.  Gina even went to the DHS regional manager on our behalf.

Mr. Law, I really appreciate everything your entire staff did for Auntie, and I promise you I will always recommend people who need this type of help to your firm.  God bless everyone at Law ElderLaw in Aurora, Illinois.  Thank you all again on behalf of Auntie Florence and the Buscemi family—we truly thank you.   Please enjoy the catered lunch on Thursday that my family is having delivered to your office.

Jo Buscemi

Enjoying the catered meal

Enjoying the meal

Robin Spang, Wonder Woman

Robin Spang as Wonder Woman

Robin Spang as Wonder Woman

I’d like to introduce you to Robin Spang, our intake paralegal.

Robin and I have known each other for many years.  Robin has become one of the most valuable players on our team.  That’s saying a lot, because we have a team filled with valuable players.

As an intake paralegal, Robin is our front line in receiving inquiries regarding the solutions that we provide in the area of Medicaid, estate protection, VA benefits, and disability planning.  When someone calls Robin, she is authorized to spend unlimited amounts of time assisting them in the discovery of whether or not we are an appropriate solution for the particular burden they are carrying.

We receive a substantial number of professional referrals, and attorneys are a primary source of our business.  Recently I saw that Robin had received a very complimentary e-mail from an attorney who had referred a client to us.  This attorney had sent to me a string of e-mails beginning with a request regarding a Medicaid problem.  The initial request went something like this: “I am inquiring to see if you could help me to decode Medicaid and real estate obligations that I’m dealing with.  If this is an area that you understand, please let me know and I will call and set an appointment.  I need clarity regarding what is legal and what I can do regarding my parents home, assets, and life insurance.  I just need to know what their obligations are.  Thank you.”

The initial attorney responded by telling the prospective client that this was not an area of her practice and she wanted to refer them to Law ElderLaw.  Her client then contacted our firm and spoke with Robin.  I don’t know how long Robin spent with her, but obviously she gave her the right kind of answers and in a way that made her feel that she had received some relief and peace of mind.  She later notified her attorney as follows: “I can’t thank you enough for steering us towards Law ElderLaw.  What an incredible experience to have the weight of the world lifted off my shoulders.  This firm is nothing but helpful and empathetic!  I never thought that sitting down and talking with people from a law firm could be such a pleasant experience.  I’ll be sleeping much better now.  Thanks again.”

Those of us here at Law ElderLaw are very grateful for referrals—and for Robin, who receives those initial calls.  Funny thing is, I never knew that I was working with a woman who could lift “the weight of the world.”  I’m sure glad she’s here!

Thanks, Robin!

Self-Help Legal Switcheroo


We all like to save money—especially on legal matters.  Millions of people are now using do-it-yourself online legal form services like  To check it out, I went there, too. Their home page proudly raves, “Save time and money… created by top attorneys… helps you create reliable legal documents… we even review your answers and guarantee your satisfaction.”  There is even a testimonial from an attorney who says, “As an attorney, I have been pleasantly surprised with the ease and efficiency of legalzoom.”

What is not as obvious, at the very bottom of the home page, is their disclaimer of liability.  Go ahead and  scroll down to the bottom of the page—you’ll see the disclaimer in very light print. It states:

“The information provided in this site is not legal advice, but general information on legal issues commonly encountered.  Legalzoom’s legal document service is not a law firm and is not a substitute for an attorney or law firm.  Legalzoom cannot provide legal advice and can only provide self-help services at your specific direction.  Please note that your access to and use of legalzoom is subject to additional terms and conditions.”

The words “additional terms and conditions’ is a hot-link that if you click on it will take you to an even longer disclaimer! The disclaimer guts all of the assurances of reliability and suitability of use that you may have assumed were part of the “actual review of your answers and guarantee of satisfaction.”  YOU ARE THE “LAWYER” WHO CHOOSES THE LEGAL FORM!

If you decide to be your own lawyer, please understand that  legalzoom has the best of all worlds.  They advertise that they will provide you with the best form of your choosing and save you money—but if you ever have a problem because of that document, they’re not responsible.  You are the one who made the decision about which legal document was right for you and your circumstances.

Just yesterday in a meeting with a client, that client exclaimed, “Wow, I never knew that there were so many things to think about in our estate planning.”  I responded, “You know, that’s what most people say when it comes to estate planning, disability, Medicaid, or veteran’s benefits.  You don’t do this work every day, so you just can’t know all of the issues.”

The real value of what any professional counselor does is listen to your description of your circumstances and goals, and then choose the best course of action.

There is an old story about a factory which shut down due to an equipment failure.  The owner of the factory called a renowned expert to rush to the factory to get things moving. The owner told him, “This shutdown is costing us $100,000 per day!”  The expert arrived, walked around the faulty machine, then took out a screwdriver and adjusted a thing or two.  Within moments the machine came back to life and the factory began to hum with activity.  The owner was thrilled—until he was given a bill for $10,000.  He roared, “But it took you less than 10 minutes to fix the machine—it cannot possibly cost $10,000!”  The expert calmly responded, “No, it took me a lifetime to know exactly where and how to use that screwdriver.  The bill is $10,000—but the value to you is $100,000 per day.”

Moral of the story:  The right solution for the circumstances often requires a lifetime of preparation.