Hickman Lowder

We meet the lifetime legal needs of children and adults with disabilities, the elderly, and their families.

Janet L. Lowder

Janet L. Lowder


Practice Areas

  • Special Needs Planning (Estate Planning, Medicaid Planning, Elder Law)
  • Elder Law
  • Guardianship
  • Medicaid Planning
  • Probate
  • Special Needs Estate Planning
  • Special Needs Trusts
  • Trust and Estate Administration
  • Trusts
  • Wills
Certified Elder Law Attorney CELA


Attorney Janet L. Lowder has devoted her career to defining, promoting, and protecting the legal rights of the elderly and of persons with mental and physical disabilities. Janet's activities have encompassed individual representation, litigation on a local and state-wide scale, representation of agencies and county programs serving people with disabilities and the elderly, legislation, and publication in professional journals.

Janet is a recognized authority on Medicaid issues and estate planning for families with special needs. She is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys; certified in Elder Law (CELA) by the National Elder Law Foundation; and a member, and former president, of the Special Needs Alliance. She has served as Co-Chair of the Long Term Care, Medicaid and Special Needs Trust Committee of the Real Property, Trust and Estate Law Section of the American Bar Association. Additionally, she was one of the founders of the Community Fund Management Foundation, a non-profit organization that provides the Master Trust and the Pooled Medicaid Payback Trust for individuals with disabilities. Janet received her law degree, summa cum laude, from Cleveland Marshall College of Law.

Janet lives in the historic community of Bratenahl with her husband Dave and two terriers, Max and Fiona. She is an active member of Old Stone Church in Cleveland and enjoys reading, boating on Lake Erie, and spending time with her children and grandchildren.


  • 2023 Distinguished Estate Planner Award from the Estate Planning Council of Cleveland
  • AV Preeminent® Rating from Martindale-Hubbell®
  • Selected to Super Lawyers since 2004
  • Top 25 Women Super Lawyers in Cleveland (2015, 2016, 2021) and Top 50 Women Super Lawyers in Cleveland (2005, 2006)
  • Named among Best Lawyers® since 2006
  • Best Lawyers® Lawyer of the Year for Elder Law in the Cleveland area (2016, 2018, 2020, 2024); Lawyer of the Year for Trusts and Estates in the Cleveland area (2013)
  • President’s Award from the Cleveland Trial Lawyers Association (2009)
  • Cuyahoga County Board of DD's 2000 Top Hat Award
  • Community Fund Management Foundation's Amicus Award (1999)
  • Special Needs Alliance, Member & Former President

Bar Admissions

  • Ohio, 1992
  • U.S. District Court Northern District of Ohio, 1993
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 6th Circuit, 1992


  • Cleveland State University, Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, Cleveland, Ohio
    • J.D. - 1992
    • Honors: summa cum laude
  • Baldwin Wallace College, Cleveland, Ohio
    • B.A. - 1973
    • Honors: summa cum laude

Professional Associations

  • Special Needs Alliance, Member & Former President
  • Community Fund Management Foundation, Founder
  • American Bar Association, Real Property, Trust and Estate Law Section, Co-Chair, Long-Term Care, Medicaid and Special Needs Trust Committee
  • National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, Member
  • Woodruff Foundation, Trustee and Secretary

Certified Legal Specialties

  • Certified Elder Law Attorney (CELA) , National Elder Law Foundation