“Pro Bono Month Member Spotlight: Patrick G. Curley, Massachusetts Bar Association’s Elder Law Education Program”, October 22, 2020
October is Pro Bono Month, and the Massachusetts Bar Association is proud to shine a spotlight on MBA members who voluntarily participate in MBA-affiliated public and community service programs. This week in eJournal we’re featuring attorney Patrick G. Curley, managing partner at Curley Law Firm LLP in Wakefield, who has been volunteering with the MBA’s Elder Law Education Program for many years.
ABOUT THE MASSACHUSETTS BAR ASSOCIATION’S ELDER LAW EDUCATION PROGRAM: The MBA’s Elder Law Education Program organizes free educational presentations about elder law throughout the commonwealth during the month of May in celebration of Law Day and also publishes an annual Elder Law Education Guide, which is a free resource guide on a wide range of legal issues affecting the lives of older adults. Although site visits were canceled this past May due to COVID-19 health and safety restrictions, program volunteers published an electronic version of the 2020 Elder Law Education Guide in August, which was then distributed to councils on aging and attorneys. The guide, prepared by attorneys, is made possible due to the participation, generous assistance and continued collaboration of the Massachusetts Chapter of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys. To volunteer with the MBA’s Elder Law Education Program, contact the MBA’s Public & Community Services Department at (617) 338-0695, or via email.
MEET PATRICK G. CURLEY
Q. In what areas of law do you practice?
Patrick: Estate planning and elder law.
Q. How long have you been participating with the Massachusetts Bar Association’s Elder Law Education Program and as a contributing author of the yearly guide?
Patrick: I have participated in the MBA Elder Law Education Program since at least 2012 and possibly earlier. It was a great honor to be asked to become a contributing author to the Elder Law Guide in 2016, and I have served in that capacity each year since then.
Q. Why did you decide to participate in this program?
Patrick: Education is a core value in my law practice. This area of law is so complex, and there is a tremendous amount of misunderstanding and false assumptions. I love the opportunity to get before audiences and share information that they can readily use to help protect themselves, their loved ones, and their home and savings. I work very hard to help explain complex legal issues in a way that everyone in the room can understand.
Q. What is the time commitment for this program?
Patrick: The time commitment is just a few hours. We coordinate with the host location with regard to addressing topics of particular interest to them and their seniors. The key is to get out the word early to potential attendees and to help the senior center market the presentation.
Q. What was it like speaking with senior centers?
Patrick: Speaking at senior centers is one of the highlights of my law career. Too often, lawyers and financial advisors put on fancy seminars for seniors with a single-minded mission: sell, sell, sell. The MBA Elder Law Education Program couldn’t be more different. It is all about education and delivering real value to the attendees. There is nothing more rewarding than when attendees express how grateful they are that I took the time to explain things in a way that they could understand and meaningfully implement in their own lives.
Q. Why would you recommend volunteering with elder law education program to others?
Patrick: If you are comfortable speaking in front of others and practice in this area of law, I strongly recommend volunteering for the MBA Elder Law Education Program. It is a great privilege to develop knowledge and experience in this complex area of law, so it is tremendously important that attorneys freely share that knowledge through educational opportunities like this program.
Q. Do you volunteer with any other MBA programs or organizations outside the legal community?
Patrick: Yes, I have served on the Board of Directors of the Massachusetts Chapter of the National Academy of Elder Law attorneys for the last decade. We are the largest state chapter in the country and work to serve the interests of seniors and those living with special needs or disabilities. In addition, I serve on the Board of Directors of the Accelerated Cure Project, a local nonprofit working to improve the lives of individuals living with Multiple Sclerosis.
Q. What’s one thing people might not know about you?
Patrick: I spent many months in 2000 and 2001 teaching at a remote Tibetan school at an elevation of 12,000 feet in the Himalayas of Nepal. It is one of the most beautiful settings on earth surrounded by towering peaks reaching up to 25,000 feet. The local Manangi and Tibetan communities freely shared their language, culture and faith. I left that experience with greater compassion for others, deeper appreciation for the blessings in my own daily life and a better ability to live in the moment. I share those lessons with my own young children today.