The news that former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor has dementia has brought renewed attention to the potential of age-related cognitive impairment in lawyers. While several in the industry say law firms are still underprepared to address a diagnosis among their lawyers, some recent initiatives can help firms prepare for what observers say is unavoidable as lawyers practice longer.

O’Connor, now 88 years old and the first woman to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court, said Tuesday that “some time ago, doctors diagnosed me with the beginning stages of dementia, probably Alzheimer’s disease.” She said she is no longer able to participate in public life, but urged a national commitment to civics education.

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