Frank Johns started practicing law in Greensboro in 1976. Early on, he specialized in the fields of immigration, disability and special education law.
But by the early 1990s – as a partner in the firm of Booth, Harrington and Johns – he changed his practice to the relatively new field of elder and special needs law.
Here’s why: “The 1980 Census report showed a spike in groups older than 60,” Johns says. “A huge increase was anticipated for aging baby boomers. ... The research was saying you’d better get ready for boomer retirement.”
With the change, Johns found his niche. His practice was North Carolina’s first elder law firm, according to Johns. By focusing exclusively on guiding elders and individuals with disabilities through their financial, healthcare and legal decisions, the Greensboro practice thrived.
And that opened up another opportunity – to open a satellite office in Charlotte.
Now, with more than two decades of a continued presence in Charlotte, Johns calls his satellite office in the University area a pivotal part of the firm.
Here are his strategies for establishing a separate location and keeping it successful:
He joined a long list of boards and committees and became a charter member and chair of the Elder and Special Needs Section of the N.C. Bar Association. He also worked with the Mecklenburg County Bar Association.
“You need to be there, to be visible and present for meetings,” Johns said.
The involvement helps Johns serve his clients better.
“Most lawyers who practice elder law get into trouble because they don’t know to ask clients the right questions,” says Johns. “Our planning is focused on maintaining our client’s quality of life and protecting their hard-earned assets.”
Johns says elder law is more relevant in today’s society than ever, with the population of baby boomers growing larger every day and their aging parents living longer.
“The Crown of Life Society” is a novel that recounts real-life stories gathered from Johns’ years of experience in elder law.
“Our firm represents consumers and individuals, which is how I got into writing the book,” Johns says.
“My focus is to get better skill sets to those who protect this fragile group of people.”