Orange County Elder Law Clinic

Alona Cortese Elder Law Center receives $100,000 grant from Archstone Foundation

Chapman University’s Alona Cortese Elder Law Center has received a $100,000 grant from the Archstone Foundation. The grant will be paid over two years to the 12-year-old program for the elderly, which was initially launched with seed money from the Archstone Foundation.

“Since inception, the Alona Cortese Elder Law Center has become a vital resource for Orange County seniors in need,” said Tom Campbell, dean of Chapman School of Law. “This generous donation will enable faculty to equip students with skills and training that are cornerstones to success, both in law school and in practice.”

The center has represented elderly clients on issues ranging from wills and durable powers of attorney to physical abuse and financial scams and conservatorships. Referrals come in from all over the county, including the Public Law Center, Legal Aid, Adult Protective Services, social workers, and professionals in the court system.

“The Alona Cortese Elder Law Center offers both an invaluable experience for law students and a tremendous source of support and services for vulnerable individuals who can’t afford the high costs of private representation,” said Professor Kurt Eggert, the center’s director.

The Alona Cortese Elder Law Center continues to increase the number of cases it handles compared with prior years. Seven to 10 law students work the cases each semester. Eggert and Associate Professor Sandra Skahen work intensively with the students to develop their skills in assisting clients with their legal issues.

The number of elderly has grown in Orange County with the first wave of baby boomers hitting retirement age. While there were fewer than 300,000 Orange County residents 65 or older in 2000, that number is expected to exceed 500,000 by 2020—rising to more than 14 percent of the total population of Orange County.

Dawn Bonker

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