Law school students are increasingly seeing helping seniors avoid money problems as a way to preventing their own.

As four out of every 10 law students fail to find full-time legal work 10 months after graduation, elder law is one of the fastest-growing, and among the few growing, destinations in their job universe.

The growth makes sense as the 65-plus crowd has become heir to costly advances in medicine and changes in family structure that has led more of the elderly to seek ways of preserving wealth for their own needs as well as for a financial legacy for children and grandchildren, said Nina Kohn, who chairs both the Aging and the Law Section for the Association of American Law Schools and the Elder Rights Committee of the American Bar Association.

There is a greater recognition among seniors that there are affirmative steps their attorneys can help them take to minimize the risk of outliving their savings and maximizing the money they can leave to offspring, the elder law educator said.

While graduates can practice elder law in solo and private practices, financial institutions, government agencies and non-profits, the biggest percentage are going to small firms that specialize in trust and estate law.

Kohn said law students are being attracted to elder law not only for the money to be had, but also for the high level of interpersonal interaction the specialty can bring.

Client interviewing and counseling were rated as the most important skills for elder attorneys in a poll she did of 270 of these legal specialists five years ago.

Close to the same time, she found the number of law school offering courses in elder matters had close to tripled in 20 years.

Kohn estimates about three-fifths of the 205 law schools in the country offer senior law instruction.

Since she started teaching elder law 10 years ago, Kohn said a greater number of her pupils are starting their studies with a commitment to practice elder law rather than just taking a few courses in the area because they look interesting.

One thing hasn’t changed: a good number of her students have always told her they want to practice elder law because they love their grandparents.