It isn’t very often that a student enters law school knowing exactly what specialty to study. Even more rare is hearing that a lawyer gives clients relief and comfort. However, in growing up watching her dad Dan practice elder law, Erin Reuter can say that both of these rarities have held true.
With a focus on estate planning and elder law, Dan Reuter has been a solo practitioner since 1987. According to the Reuter Law Firm website, Dan’s practice has included many areas of the law. However, with her dad focusing on elder law for about 15 years, Erin knew around her high school and undergraduate years that she too would focus on this specialty.
“I saw his practice developing, and in going with him to church and seeing clients come up to him and how much weight it’s taken off their shoulders—it brought them peace and that’s not something normally you hear from an attorney,” Erin said.
She started getting involved more in the practice, going into the office more and learning about what elder law actually was. She said as soon as she began law school, she knew that was exactly what she wanted to focus on. She joined the firm immediately after graduation in 2010.
“He had gotten into elder law when it was still really new,” she said. “It is not something you can go to case law and learn out of a book; you really need somebody who has that experience.”
Erin said that in practicing this particular type of law, she sees a ton of rewards.
“People work their whole lives to save up some money and be able to pass on something to their children. Knowing they can create a plan to pass on their hard earned dollars when they pass away, everything can go smoothly, and their wishes are followed—it gives that since of relief and comfort,” she said.
There are times too, when she deals with adult children as clients whose parents haven’t planned much, which can turn out to be a win-win for everyone.
“They are walking into this strange new world of nursing homes, Medicaid and long-term care and they are knowing they are doing the right thing for their parents,” she said.
However, in working at the same firm as her dad, there are ups and downs, as with any boss/employee relationship.
“I tell everyone most of the time it’s great. It’s a unique level in that I’m able to go to my boss and tell him exactly what I’m thinking and I’m not worried about crossing that line,” Erin said. “He knows I won’t quit and he won’t just fire me because I said something the wrong way.”
This honest relationship is beneficial to clients, according to Erin, also is great because the two generations bring different experiences to the table. Dan brings years of experience not only in elder law, but he was a general practitioner so he has knowledge across the board. Erin brings 21st century social networking and media ideas to the firm.
Another new aspect of the firm is joining of the Crestwood-Sunset Hills Chamber of Commerce. Erin joined in May, and she already is involved in hopefully planning an inaugural 5K for the chamber. As if she weren’t busy enough running half marathons and working as an attorney, Erin is getting married in two weeks, and looks forward to moving out of her parents’ house on the edge of Sunset Hills and into full-fledged Sunset Hills. And yes, they do talk shop at home.
“I’m living with them (her parents) until I get married, so it’s been 2 years of 24/7 of our working relationship,” Erin said. “I think if you ask me in a month how working with my dad is it will be great even more of the time.”