National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys
Logo of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys
The National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, Inc., is a nationwide organization of lawyers focused on elder law. The term "elder law" is defined to include a wide range of laws that specifically target or have a significant impact on the United States' elderly and aging population. The term also applies to "special needs law," which focuses on people with disabilities.
NAELA lobbies and advocates for policies and laws that improve the lives of senior citizens and people with special needs.
NAELA is both a professional organization, where elder law attorneys can share information and best practices regarding elder law and special needs law, and an advocacy organization that lobbies for policies and laws that protect the needs of the growing elderly population and people with disabilities. Areas of practice include:
- Estate Planning, Probate and Gift Taxes;
- Entitlement Programs (Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security);
- Guardianship and Conservatorship;
- Retirement Benefits;
- Age Discrimination;
- Care Provider Abuse and Neglect;
- Housing Issues;
- Insurance; and
- Long Term Care and Disability Care Financing and Planning.
NAELA's advocacy work includes direct lobbying of elected officials, funding political efforts through their Senior Rights PAC and filing amicus curiae briefs on important cases that pertain to elder law and law for people with disabilities.
History of the NAELA
The National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys was founded in October 1987, during a meeting of elder law attorneys in San Francisco. Two years later, the organization had more than 500 members and held their first annual symposium.
NAELA began building on the success of annual meetings by organizing state chapters in 1992. Also in 1992, the organization assisted with the creation of the National Elder Law Foundation, the first certifying entity for Elder Law.
In 2003, the board of directors voted to include special needs law in its mission. Members founded the Senior Rights PAC in 2004 to lobby on elder law issues, and began regularly traveling to Capitol Hill to speak to legislators. In 2009, the organization moved its headquarters to Washington, DC, and hired staff there.
Many members of the NAELA are also active in chapters at the state level. The largest state chapter, is known as the Academy of Florida Elder Law Attorneys (AFELA) in Florida.
Benefits of Membership in NAELA
NAELA members have access to a national network of information and best practices regarding elder law and special needs law.
- Continuing Legal Education (CLE): The Academy holds two annual events, a symposium and an advanced institute, where members can attend CLEs on a wide variety of topics.
- ListServ: The national ListServ allows members to discuss issues and share best practices with thousands of members across the country.
- Mentoring Program: An informal mentorship program allows lawyers who are members to ask questions and seek advice from more experienced elder law attorneys.
- Publications: With membership comes subscriptions to the NAELA's two publications. Members also have access to informational brochures they can share with clients and potential clients.
Sections of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys
Members of the NAELA can also join a specialty section including:
- Guardianship / Capacity
- Health Care
- Practice Development / Management
- Advocacy / Litigation
- Health and Long-Term Care Financing
- Special Needs Law
- Young/New Attorneys
Founding Current NAELA Members
- Cynthia L. Barrett
- Allan D. Bogutz
- Priscilla Camp
- Mary Z. Ceridan
- Nancy M. Coleman
- M. Garey Eakes
- Bob Freedman
- Michael Gilfix
- Myra G. Gilfix
- Harley Gordon
- Lee M. Holmes
- Natalie J. Kaplan
- Ron M. Landsman
- John Lassiter
- Tim Nay
- William H. Overman
- Vincent J. Russo
- Scott R. Severns
- Nancy Solnick
- Barbara Wertheim
- Judy Mero (deceased)
- John Regan (deceased)
- Pat Smith (deceased)
Contact InformationNational Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA)
1577 Spring Hill Rd., Suite 220
Vienna, VA 22182
This article was last updated on Friday, September 2, 2016.