What is a Certified Elder Law Attorney?

Julian E Gray
Julian Gray, CELA
Frank A Petrich
Frank Petrich, CELA, CFP
Caitlin E. Harper, CELA
Caitlin Harper, CELA

Karen S. Timko, CELA
Karen Timko, CELA
Jennifer Rose, CELA
Jennifer Rose, CELA
Robert K Schwitzer
Robert Schweitzer, CELA

Matthew Kikta, CELA
Colin Adair Morgan, CELA
Colin Adair Morgan, CELA

Elder Law Attorneys are certified by the Board of Certification of the National Elder Law Foundation (NELF), a non-profit organization founded in 1993, which is devoted to developing and improving the professional competence of lawyers focused in elder law and special needs planning.

Only lawyers who have met the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s requirements for certification are allowed to identify themselves as “Certified” in the area of Elder Law. A Certified Elder Law Attorney (CELA) has an in-depth, working knowledge of the legal issues that impact the elderly and disabled. CELA’s are committed, through certification, to maintaining and improving their proficiency, through continual practice and continuing legal education.

By making sure that the lawyer you select is a Certified Elder Law Attorney, you’ll be assured that your needs are met by a highly qualified and professional individual.

What a certified Elder Law Attorney does for you;

Elder law attorneys bring a different perspective to the delivery of services to their clients.

They are familiar with professional and non-legal resources and services publicly and privately available to meet the needs of those older individuals and those with disabilities.

By choosing a Certified Elder Law Attorney (CELA), you can be assured that you are receiving expert advice from an individual who has demonstrated his/her commitment to YOU, the client, by pursing certification.

Some issues a Certified Elder Law Attorney can assist with:

Planning for Disability Medicaid Issues Veterans Benefits
Estate Tax and Gifting Long Term Care Issues Estate Planning
Medicare Issues Elder Abuse Age Discrimination
Special Needs Trusts Family Caregiver Agreements Powers of Attorney/Living Wills

CELA Requirements:

  • Be licensed to practice law in at least one state or the District of Columbia.
  • Have practiced law for at least five years prior to applying for certification and must still be practicing law.
  • Be a member in good standing of the Bar Association in all places in which he/she is licensed.
  • Have spent an average of at least 16 hours per week practicing elder law during the three years preceding the application for certification. In addition, the attorney must have handled at least 60 elder law matters during those three years with a specified distribution among subjects as defined by the National Elder Law Foundation.
  • Have participated in at least 45 hours of continuing education in elder law during three years preceding the application.
  • Be favorably evaluated by five elder law attorneys who satisfy specified criteria.
  • Pass a full-day certification examination consisting of essay and multiple choice questions.
  • Repeat the certification process every five years.

The CELA certification by the National Elder Law Foundation is the only accepted certification in the field of Elder Law. It is the only ABA approved Elder Law Certification that is recognized by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. The Supreme Court Order must be renewed every five years by the recommendation of the Pennsylvania Bar Association Review and Certification Board.

To see the current Pennsylvania Supreme Court order approving certification, click here: