What is a Certified Elder Law Attorney?

NAELA National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, Inc.

What Is A Certified Elder Law Attorney?

This page details the required expertise and qualifications for certification in elder law by the National Elder Law Foundation (NELF) and how McHugh & Macri met these qualifications. Don McHugh and Vince Macri are two of less than 500 attorneys nationwide who are certified in elder law (CELA) by the National Elder Law Foundation and have been named Elder Law Super Lawyers since 2008.

Substantial Involvement ‑ A CELA must have spent an average of at least 16 hours per week practicing elder law during the three years preceding their application. In addition, certified elder law attorneys must have handled at least 60 elder law matters during those three years with a specified distribution among specific legal areas defined by the Foundation.

McHugh & Macri devote 80 hours per week to elder law and have handled over 2,000 cases since certified in 1997.

Continuing Legal Education ‑ A CELA must have participated in at least 45 hours of continuing legal education in elder law during the preceding three years.

Besides qualifying for their continuing legal education in elder/disability law, McHugh & Macri teach attorneys seeking continuing education in elder law for the N.J. Institute of Continuing Legal Education (ICLE), including an annual program entitled "College of Elder Law" by "Dean" Don McHugh.

Peer Review/Professional References ‑ CELA must submit the names of five references from attorneys familiar with their competence and qualifications in elder law. These persons must themselves satisfy certification requirements.

Beside satisfying peer review, Don McHugh was 2005‑2006 Chair of the 500 member NJ State Bar Association Elder/Disabilities Section and received that Section's first "Distinguished Service" award in 2008, a member of the Council of Advanced Practitioners (CAP) and holds a pre-eminent AV rating in Elder Law.

Examination ‑ A CELA must pass a full‑day certification examination.

Don McHugh and Vince Macri both passed this exam, as well as passing the N.J. Bar Exam on their first attempt in 1973.

Licensure ‑ A CELA must be licensed to practice law in at least one state.

Don McHugh and Vince Macri are licensed to practice in New Jersey and have NJ State Bar recognized certification in elder law.

Practice ‑ A CELA must have practiced law during the five years preceding their application and must still be practicing law.

Don McHugh and Vince Macri have each practiced law for 43 years (since 1973) and have each specialized in elder law for the past 22 years.

Integrity/Good Standing ‑ CELA must be members in good standing of the state bars where they are licensed.

Don McHugh and Vince Macri are members in good standing of the American Bar Association, the NJ State Bar Association, the Elder Law Section of the NJ State Bar Association and the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA).

Vince Macri is a member in good standing of the Association of Trial Attorneys of America.

Don McHugh was the 2005/2006 Chair of the 500 member Elder Law Section of the NJ State Bar Association.