The difference between a CELA attorney – Certified Elder Law Attorney® – and an Elder Law attorney is similar to the difference between spending a week at a five-star resort and staying in a youth hostel. Both will provide a place to sleep and bathe, but the similarities end there.
Stephen J. Silverberg has held the designation of a Certified Elder Law Attorney for many years.
CELA is a designation from the National Elder Law Foundation (NELF), the only national organization permitted by the American Bar Association to certify practitioners in the Elder and Special Needs Law practice areas.
To be considered, an attorney must meet the following standards:
- Devoted an average of at least sixteen (16) hours per week practicing elder law during the three years preceding their application.
- Handle at least sixty (60) matters during each of these three years with a specified distribution among elder law matters as defined by the Foundation.
- Complete at least forty-five (45) hours of continuing legal education in elder law during the preceding three years
- Receive five references from attorneys who must themselves satisfy certain requirements concerning their knowledge of elder law for a peer review
- Pass a full-day, rigorous examination. Pass rates for this test have recently been below 50%, and this is among applicants who have met the requirements above.
There are less than 520 CELAs in the United States, further underscoring the difference between an attorney who has attained the credential and those who have not. The CELA credential is the gold standard, demonstrating the attorneys’ knowledge and commitment to elder law and special needs law.
Becoming and staying a CELA is like being a board-certified physician, who must take continuing education courses, pass challenging tests, and undergo regular peer reviews to maintain their special standing.
A CELA has gone above and beyond the qualifications to practice in Elder Law and Special Needs Law. If you or a family member needs representation in this area of the law, it’s wise to work with a CELA.
If you have any questions or would like to speak with Mr. Silverberg, please call the office at 516-307-1236 or contact us.