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Heather McKinney

  • Hosted by Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas
  • Sponsored by U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office for Victims of Crime
  • Service location Fort Worth, Texas
  • Law school Southern Methodist University, Dedman School of Law
  • Issue area Elder Abuse
  • Fellowship class year 2020
  • Program Elder Justice Program

The Project

Heather will address the gap in civil legal services for victims of elder abuse and exploitation, with a special emphasis on serving rural communities.

The primary issues of focus will be physical abuse, neglect, sexual abuse, psychological abuse, financial exploitation, multiple forms of abuse, cognitive impairment, and physical disability. Heather’s project will create an organized, community-based response aimed at protecting the elder population from scams, exploitation, and other legal issues facing that community.

Heather’s advocacy interest in protecting the elder population springs from her personal, familial experience assisting older family members as well as from my prior career experience. Heather began her professional career advising clients, including seniors, as an investment professional where she saw firsthand the devastating impact of financial exploitation on seniors. Heather worked as a solo practicing attorney, providing legal hospice services to seniors and terminally ill clients. Then later, as an attorney in private practice at a large law firm, she found her true passion was working on the firm’s various pro bono opportunities. She is grateful to make her career’s mission to provide high-quality legal services to low-income individuals in the vulnerable senior population.

Fellowship Project

Heather’s project is designed to provide high-quality legal advice and representation to victims of elder abuse and exploitation; enforce victims’ rights; address wide-ranging civil legal issues such as financial exploitation, housing, protection orders, guardianship, and public benefits; and make referrals to other supportive services.

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