Paul Wollner

Reflections on Working at ELM

by Paul Wollner, Legal Assistant

Paul WollnerA few months ago I started to receive emails from my alma mater in law, Michigan State University. After graduating, I was working in a different field that had nothing to do with law. While it did have its perks, it was not what I had envisioned myself doing. Still, work was work, and given the Michigan economy, I counted myself lucky to be employed.

At first I ignored the email from career services. After a few more follow up emails, I received emails from two professors that I highly respected from my time in law school. It was then that I decided to get in touch with MSU. I eventually ended up in a program that allowed me to work at Elder Law of Michigan.

Since my first day of working at ELM, I loved what I was doing; helping others out with legal dilemmas was truly satisfying. In the three months of working at ELM, I have found in my co-workers some of the most articulate, kind-hearted professionals around. As they work at a non-profit, they certainly do not work for the money that ELM can afford to pay its staff. My co-workers work here because they want to help people. In this particular case, elderly people who often, by themselves, lack the know-how to navigate the legal system which guarantees their rights.

Since I’ve been employed at ELM, I’ve seen numerous examples of how our services can help others. One client was sent to collections for a debt that was her mother’s. She herself owed nothing, but still found herself being harassed by creditors. We were able to advise her in a way that stopped all the shenanigans.

Legal Hotline for Michigan Seniors logoAnother incident that I fondly remember involved a dubious man who like to hold himself out as a respectable businessman who conducted legal real estate transactions. This man manipulated an elderly gentleman into signing a contract that was so one sided it was unconscionable. Luckily, the contract was void for want of valid consideration, fraud in the inducement, and incorporated the impossibility of performance. The end result of that incident being a call to the state regulatory commission and the man leaving the gentleman alone.

After such a wonderful experience, I can honestly say that I’m going to miss working here as the program ends. I’ve valued my time here and have profited greatly. My hope is that you, the reader, can also profit from what ELM has to offer should you need their assistance. Just give them a call.

If you have any legal questions or concerns, contact the Legal Hotline for Michigan Seniors at 800.347.5297 or visit

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