Perhaps the greatest of all compliments is to be nominated for an award by the people you serve.
Frankfort attorney Kari Williams was honored recently as one of the 10 best family planning attorneys for 2018 by the American Institute of Legal Counsel, having been nominated by either a client or colleague. Engraved on the plaque that hangs on a wall in her St. Clair Street office are the words “Exceptional and Outstanding Client Service.”
She is the solo attorney in her practice, Frankfort Elder Law PLLC, assisted by Courtney Hudson, client services coordinator. “She actually runs the place,” Williams said of Hudson.
Williams looks at the practice of law as much more than a job, and she thinks her approach has more than a little to do with being nominated for the award.
“I’ve always had a passion for helping people,” she said. “I see the practice of law like the ministry — it not just a job; it’s a calling.”
A history major in college, Williams is a 1989 graduate of Hamline University School of Law in Michigan. An only child, she came to Kentucky with her parents when her dad took a job with Dow-Corning in Carrollton.
She worked for a while in various branches of state government, settling into her solo practice in family law with a focus on the special needs of the elderly.
Williams’ mother developed dementia and died at 68 in 2013. Her dad died when he was 62. It was the experience of caring for her parents that inspired her to open her elderlaw practice.
“I found that in caring for my parents no one talks to you about wills, nursing homes, filing for Medicaid — all the resources that are available,” she said. “That’s what I try to help people with, particularly working with the children of aging parents who are trying to take care of them because they can’t take care of themselves any longer.”
Williams says she’s been told she doesn’t “act like a lawyer” and coupled with her personal experience with her own parents believes that’s why she connects with those she serves.
“I focus on helping families make difficult decisions, determining how they want the end of life to look. Sometimes adult children just can’t face the fact that the end is going to come for all of us — and to their parents, too.
“I want them to be able to make the transitions necessary, like creating a will, deciding a parent can no longer live alone — whatever it may be.”
When meeting with families she tries to give everyone involved in a family situation the “permission to talk about dying. Sometimes I get emotional when I’m talking to a family here in this conference room. I just can’t help it.”
Williams is a member of the Elder Law Section of the Kentucky Bar Association and of Lawyers with Purpose. For more information, visit www.FrankfortElderlaw.com or call 502-219-7371.