It is an honor to serve as President of the Massachusetts Chapter of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys for 2023, which is already off and running at full speed! As President, I have the unique privilege of supporting a vibrant group of experienced and collegial attorneys who successfully advocate for seniors and people with disabilities. Fundamental to this tireless advocacy is that Chapter members generously share their time and knowledge with one another and their communities by participating (a little or a lot) in the opportunities available through the Chapter, which include:
- Asking questions and providing responses on the invaluable Listserv;
- Responding to calls to action by contacting legislators to encourage their support for legislation put forth by MassNAELA;
- Joining a Committee (Special Needs, Programming, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Membership, and Ethics, to name a few);
- Becoming a Mentor or Mentee in the Mentorship Program, now in its 4th year;
- Attending advocacy meetings to share experiences and learn from colleagues about possible solutions to difficult legal issues encountered;
- Establishing a Workgroup on a “hot topic” or joining one already in place (Probate Court, Special Needs, Guardianship, Residents’ Rights and more);
- Writing an article for the Chapter newsletter or NAELA Journal;
- Participating in networking and educational events such as dinner meetings and webinars; and
- Assisting residents of underserved communities with completing their own Health Care Proxies through a program created by the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee.
I invite each member to commit to at least one (1) hour per month of engagement with other members of the Chapter to create long-lasting professional relationships. Time and again, I have benefited from the knowledge and camaraderie this Chapter affords to its members that, in turn, allows me to better assist those in the community. If you are interested in becoming more involved, please introduce yourself to me at in-person dinner meeting (I am usually pretty nice, I swear!) or reach out to the Chapter Executive Director Clarence Richardson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I look forward to enthusiastically and thoughtfully upholding and furthering the Chapter’s commitment to its mission, members, and the seniors and people with disabilities of Massachusetts.
March 2023 Message
As I reflected on the activities of the MassNAELA membership for the first quarter of 2023, a common theme appeared – building relationships. Our members continue to tirelessly dedicate time and effort to develop connections with other legal associations, government agencies, and individuals within the community to better support and advocate for Massachusetts’ seniors and people with disabilities.
Recently we joined other legal organizations, such as Greater Boston Legal Services, Massachusetts Law Reform Institute, Community Legal Aid, South Coastal Counties Legal Services and Health Law Advocates, in sending a Memorandum to MassHealth highlighting the significant impact that the upcoming eligibility redetermination will have on those receiving benefits, and proposed proactive solutions to reduce its potential negative ramifications (“Memorandum Regarding the Need to Expand In-Person and Telephonic Assistance with SACA-2 Applications and Renewals”). Members of the Special Needs Work Group are reaching out to local community partners like Easterseals, The Arc of Massachusetts, and the Federation for Children with Special Needs to re-energize and strengthen connections already in place for the benefit of our members who assist people with disabilities. Our chapter’s Long Term Residents Rights Work Group is hard at work establishing a relationship with the Executive Office of Elder Affairs to safeguard consumer protections for assisted living residents. Yet other members of our chapter are sharing their time to assist individuals in underserved communities with completing Health Care Proxies. Finally, we have the upcoming opportunity to educate individuals at senior centers and Councils on Aging about a variety of elder law topics by offering presentations in partnership with the Massachusetts Bar Association and the release of the 14th edition of the “Elder Law Education Guide” in May (although the deadline has already passed, please contact Amy Osborne at email@example.com if you would like to participate).
Our members’ generosity with their time and knowledge provides the foundation for our chapter to continue to build relationships in several ways that advance our mission to educate, inspire, serve, advocate, and provide community to attorneys with practices in elder and special needs law. If one of the above activities ignites within you a brand-new idea for a Work Group or inspires you to get more involved, please be in touch with our Executive Director Clarence Richardson at firstname.lastname@example.org to assist you with exploring the opportunities.