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It won't be too long before Mick Jagger will be old enough to qualify for nursing home care. Of course with his wealth, the Rolling Stone will probably hire his own private nurse to care for him in his twilight years. But many of those Baby Boomer fans who screamed, "Play Brown Sugar, man," at the stage for so many years will need to consider moving into a long-term care facility.
In fact, millions of them likely will do so. In this Graying-of-America era, the long-term care industry continues to be a growth market, and those serving those who serve seniors--namely, law firms--will be increasingly busy, too. The demographics simply don't lie.
It seems that Seattle's Lane Powell Spears Lubersky is ready for the expected heavy workload. In March 2004, the firm announced the formation of its long-term care and senior housing practice group, and a full year later that team is busier than ever. While a few other firms across the country have long-term care groups, Lane Powell is the only partnership in the Pacific Northwest that's formed such a team.
Barbara Duffy, a 41-year-old partner with the firm, was selected to head the new group. With more than 15 years of experience representing nursing homes, assisted-living facilities, and other long-term care providers, Duffy was the likely choice, particularly given the close relationships that she's groomed with those in the industry, not to mention the respect that she's garnered.
"Barb Duffy is a general counsel's dream for an outside counsel," says Roch Carter, vice president and general counsel for Lane Powell client Extended Health Services. "She's very astute, has great legal acumen, and is very practical in problem-solving. We're a relatively small client for Lane Powell, and yet here's the head of the [long-term care and senior housing] department really doing everything necessary and a little more to satisfy our concerns."
Duffy says that she and her team know that they must keep abreast of all the myriad federal, state, and local rules and regulations that govern the industry; their clients expect that. Because legislation affecting them can come down the pike relatively quickly, clients also expect a fast turn-around on their inquiries.
One of those clients, the Washington Health Care Association, works closely with Robin Dale, one of Duffy's team members. Recently, Dale was on vacation when the association needed help interpreting some new proposed regulations.
"We've had some things pop up quickly because we're in a legislative session," says John …