NAELA Board of Directors


The management of NAELA is vested in the Board of Directors and consists of no more than 26 elected representatives of the regular members of NAELA (including the elected officers).

  The Board focuses on issues pertaining to the overall mission of NAELA:

  • Develops and approves policy - NAELA policies are the principles that define the way NAELA operates.
  • Approves and updates strategic plans.
  • Exercises a fiduciary responsibility by approving responsible budgets and by ensuring that NAELA finances are properly managed.
  • Oversees and evaluates NAELA programs to assure that objectives are being achieved.
  • Assures that basic legal and ethical responsibilities are met by the organization.
  • Retains (and discharges) professional management, legal counsel and all other consultants.
  • The day-to-day management of NAELA is delegated by the Board to appropriate staff. The Board evaluates its performance and that of the staff on a regular basis. The Board refrains from directing staff activity and micro-managing NAELA affairs.
  • Board meetings are open to all regular members to attend except as otherwise announced.
  • Board meetings are governed by Robert's Rules of Order.
  • In addition to meetings held in conjunction with the national conferences, the Board may meet for an annual retreat as needed.
  • Terms of officers are for a one-year term; terms of Directors are for two-year terms. Each Officer will hold office until his/her successor will have been duly elected and will have qualified. Each Director will hold office from June 1 until May 30, or until his/her successor will have been selected and qualified.
  • The Board should include a balanced mix of representatives from NAELA membership and should reflect the membership in geography, practice type, nationalities and sex.
  • The Board should allow for membership discussion and input on any matters of a controversial manner.

(If you are interested in serving on the NAELA Board of Directors, please contact Pete Wacht, Executive Director)

Executive Committee

The Executive Committee is composed of the elected oOficers and the Immediate Past President. The Executive Director serves on the Executive Committee as a non-voting member.

  • The Executive Committee acts in place and instead of the Board of Directors between oard meetings on all matters pursuant to delegation of authority to such committee by the Board of Directors except on those matters:
    • specifically reserved to the Board by the bylaws or resolution of the board
    • in contravention of a specific policy or resolution there-to-fore adopted by the Board of Directors of NAELA.
  • Meetings are open to all Board members - minutes are circulated to the Board upon final approval by the Executive Committee.
  • The Executive Committee recognizes the fact that the management of NAELA is vested in the Board of Directors and not the Executive Committee.

NAELA Executive Committee and Board of Directors 2015-2016 (Effective June 1)

Board MemberNamePositionBioCurrent Term Ends
Shirley WhitenackShirley Berger Whitenack, CAP, FellowPresidentShirley Berger Whitenack, Esq., CAP, is a partner at Schenck, Price, Smith & King, LLP with offices in Florham Park, Paramus, and Sparta, New Jersey; and co-chairs the firm’s Elder and Special Needs Law Practice Group and the Estates and Trusts Litigation Practice Group. Ms. Whitenack devotes a substantial portion of her practice to Elder and Special Needs Law, estate planning and administration and trust and estate litigation.5/31/20166391
Bradley FrigonBradley J. Frigon, CELA, CAP, FellowPast PresidentBradley J. Frigon, CELA, CAP has been a member of NAELA since 1999. After receiving his Juris Doctor degree from Washburn University in his home state of Kansas, Brad continued his education at the University of Denver earning his Master of Laws degree in Taxation. Practicing law for over 30 years, Brad has extensive experience in estate planning, Elder Law, Special Needs Planning, probate and tax matters. He is recognized as a Colorado Super Lawyer and is rated AV Preeminent by Martindale-Hubbell.5/31/201610016
Catherine SealCatherine Anne Seal, CELA, FellowPresident ElectCatherine Anne Seal is the senior member in the law firm of Kirtland & Seal L.L.C. in Colorado Springs. Ms. Seal is the Public Administrator for the Fourth Judicial District of Colorado, serving El Paso and Teller Counties. She is the first person ever awarded an LL.M. Degree in Elder Law from the Stetson University College of Law, graduating with honors. Ms. Seal received her B.B.A. degree with honors from Colorado State University and a M.S. degree in marketing from the University of Colorado - Denver. She received her law degree from the University of Colorado Law School and holds a Graduate Certificate in Gerontology from the University of Colorado - Colorado Springs. Ms. Seal is President-Elect of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, and is past chair of the Guardianship Section. She is a NAELA Fellow. Ms. Seal is the past president of the Colorado Chapter of NAELA, and is one of only eight attorneys in Colorado designated a Certified Elder Law Attorney by the National Elder Law Foundation. As a member of the Colorado Bar Association, Ms Seal is a past chair of the Elder Law Section. She is the author of Colorado Elder Law, published by Thompson West Publishing as part of their Colorado Practice Series. Her practice is concentrated in the areas of Elder Law, protective proceedings, probate, civil recovery of financial exploitation of the elderly, and related matters.5/31/20169576
Hyman DarlingHyman G. Darling, CELA,CAPVice PresidentHyman G. Darling, CELA, CAP, is a principal at the law firm of Bacon & Wilson, P.C. in Springfield, Massachusetts. He has been with this firm for over 30 years and concentrates in the preparation of estate planning documents, Elder Law, estates and taxes, guardianship, conservatorship, Special Needs Planning, and adoptions. He previously was employed by Security National Bank in Springfield as a trust officer. Prior to that time, he was employed by Baybank in the Retail Banking Department. Attorney Darling is a member of the Massachusetts Bar Association, and is a former President of both the Hampden County Bar Association and Hampden County Estate Planning Council. He is on the adjunct faculty at Western New England University and Baypath University. He is a member of many civic and professional associations including the Planned Giving Committees of the American Cancer Society and Baystate Medical Center.5/31/201611382
Michael AmorusoMichael J. AmorusoTreasurerMichael J. Amoruso concentrates his practice on Elder Law, asset preservation, estate planning, estate administration and guardianship. He is Past Chair of the New York State Bar Association ("NYSBA") Elder Law Section, a member of the Executive Committee and former Chair of the Legislation Committee and the Estate & Tax Planning Committee. From 2011-2015, he received an AV Preeminent Peer Review Rating by Martindale-Hubbell - the highest possible rating for both legal ability and ethical standards. Mr. Amoruso was chosen as a 2010-2014 New York Metro Super Lawyer for Elder Law. From 2011-2014 he was named one of the Top 25 Westchester Super Lawyers among all practice areas and was featured by Super Lawyers Magazine in 2013.5/31/20161793
Ron LandsmanRon M. Landsman, CAP, FellowSecretaryRon M. Landsman, Esq., CAP, is a founding member of NAELA and has been a Fellow since 1991. He is a member of the Council of Advanced Practitioners and the Special Needs Alliance, and Editor for Quality Control of the NAELA Journal. With Jason Frank, he co-founded the First Maryland Disability Trust, a pooled special needs trust, and has served on the Board and is counsel to Shared Horizons, Inc., which operates a pooled trust serving D.C. and Maryland. Before starting his Elder Law practice in 1983 he handled antitrust appeals for the U.S. Department of Justice and has filed briefs on behalf of NAELA and SNA as amici curiae in the U.S. courts of appeal for the 3rd, 4th, 8th and 10th circuits.5/31/2016822
Wendy CappellettoWendy Shparago Cappelletto, CAPDirectorWendy Shparago Cappelletto, CAP, is an Assistant Public Guardian with the Office of the Public Guardian of Cook County, in the Adult Guardianship Division. She is the supervising attorney for the Intake and Public Benefits departments. Prior to joining the Public Guardian’s Office in 1998, Ms. Cappelletto was a staff attorney at Prairie State Legal Services, Inc. She currently serves as a NAELA representative to the National Guardianship Network.5/31/201610364
Patti DudekPatricia E. Kefalas Dudek, CAP, FellowDirectorPatricia E. Kefalas Dudek, CAP, is the principal of Patricia E. Kefalas Dudek & Associates and the past chair of the Elder Law & Disability Rights Section of the State Bar of Michigan. Her practice concentrates in Elder Law, Medicaid, estate planning, estates/trust administration, probate, administrative law and disability advocacy. Ms. Dudek’s practice includes advising and preparing estate planning documents, including special needs trusts; representation in Medicaid hearings to secure appropriate services; administration of estates, trusts, guardianship, conservatorship, and other protective arrangements; and contested litigation in these areas.5/31/201611350
Roberta FlowersRoberta K. FlowersDirectorRoberta K. Flowers is a professor of law at Stetson University College of Law. Within the Elder Law LL.M. program, Professor Flowers teaches Ethics in an Elder Law Practice. She also teaches Evidence, Criminal Procedure, and Professional Responsibility. While at Stetson, she has served as the director of the Center for Excellence in Advocacy and as the William Reece Smith Jr. Distinguished Professor in Professionalism. During her time at Stetson, Professor Flowers has received the university-level Excellence in Teaching Award, Most Inspirational Teacher Award from the Student Bar Association, and an award from the Student Bar Association for supporting student life. She also has received the university-level Homer and Dolly Hand Award for Excellence in Scholarship, the Dean’s Award for Extraordinary Service, and has been awarded the Distinguished Service Award four times. In 2005, the Florida Supreme Court awarded Professor Flowers the Faculty Professionalism Award.5/31/201712382
Jason FrankJason A. Frank, CELA, CAP, FellowDirectorJason A. Frank, CELA, CAP, New York University School of Law 1979, is President of Frank, Frank & Scherr, LLC. His Elder Law, special needs and estate planning practice addresses the legal consequences of age-related and other disabilities. He serves as the Assistant Baltimore County Attorney for the Baltimore County Department of Aging. He authored Elder Law in Maryland, Lexis Law Publishing Co., 2014 4th edition 2nd revision, and Maryland Medicaid Long Term Care, Bisel, 2009, Supp. 2010 through 2015. He co-founded the Elder Law section of the Maryland State Bar Association and has served, twice, as Chair of the Elder Law Section Council.5/31/2016946
David GodfreyDavid GodfreyDirectorDavid Godfrey is a senior attorney at the ABA Commission on Law and Aging in Washington, D.C. He is responsible for the ABA’s role in the Administration on Aging funded National Legal Resource Center. Prior to joining the Commission he was responsible for Elder Law programming at Access to Justice Foundation in Kentucky. He earned his B.A. with honors at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida, and his J.D. cum laude from the University of Louisville School of Law in Kentucky.5/31/201610495
Morris KleinMorris Klein, CELA, CAP, FellowDirectorMorris Klein practices Elder and Special Needs Law in Bethesda, Maryland, serving clients in the District of Columbia and suburban Maryland. He is a CELA, a CAP and a NAELA Fellow. He is a founding member and past president of the Maryland/DC Chapter of NAELA. Over the years he has served as the Chair of the Maryland State Bar Association Elder Law Section, the Bar Association of Montgomery County Elder Law Section and the co-Chair of the Steering Committee of the District of Columbia Bar Estates Trusts and Probate Law Section. He received his J.D., M.P.P. (Master in Public Policy) and B.A. degrees from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor.5/31/201711344
Letha McDowellLetha Sgritta McDowell, CELADirectorLetha Sgritta McDowell currently serves as the Elder Law Community Liaison for InterActive Legal and practices law with the law firm of Walker Lambe Rhudy Costely & Gill, PLLC. Ms. McDowell is licensed to practice in both the Commonwealth of Virginia and the state of North Carolina, and she actively practices in both states. She is the former Editor in Chief of “Gray Matters”, the newsletter for the Elder Law Section of the North Carolina Bar Association and has served as a member of the Elder Law Section Councils for both the North Carolina Bar Association and the Virginia Bar Association. Ms. McDowell has taught numerous continuing education programs on Elder Law and Estate Planning in both Virginia and North Carolina and speaks frequently to professional groups and community organizations on estate planning and Elder Law topics. Ms. McDowell practices exclusively in the areas of estate planning, Elder Law and estate and trust administration. Ms. McDowell is also accredited to prepare and prosecute claims with the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.5/31/20177954
David McGuffeyDavid L. McGuffey, CELA, CAPDirectorDavid L. McGuffey, CELA, CAP, is a Certified Elder Law Attorney in private practice with The Elder Law Practice of David L. McGuffey, LLC, in Dalton, Georgia. He limits his practice to Elder Law and Special Needs Law. He is AV rated by Martindale-Hubbell. David attended Georgia State University (B.A., 1987; J.D., 1993). He is a member of various Bars and Associations including NAELA, NELF, the State Bar of Georgia, the Tennessee Bar Association, the State Bar of Michigan and the Chattanooga Bar Association. Prior to limiting his litigation practice, David regularly tried jury and bench trials and represented victims of nursing home neglect. He is a past chair of the American Association for Justice’s nursing home litigation group.5/31/201610740
Leonard MondscheinLeonard E. Mondschein, CELA, CAPDirectorLeonard E. Mondschein, J.D., LL.M., CELA, CAP, is a shareholder in The Elder Law Center of Mondschein and Mondschein, P.A. with offices in Miami and Aventura, Florida. He is double Board Certified by the Florida Bar in Elder Law and Wills, Trusts and Estates and has served as an advisor to graduating LL.M students at the University of Miami School of Law for the LL.M program in Estate Planning. Mr. Mondschein received his Juris Doctor degree from New England Law and his Masters of Law degree from New York University. He is Past Chair of the Elder Law Section of the Florida Bar, and is Past President of the Academy of Florida Elder Law Attorneys.5/31/20179744
Samantha SheperdSamantha L. Shepherd, CELADirectorSamantha L. Shepherd, CELA, is the founding attorney of Shepherd Elder Law Group, LLC. She actively practices in both Kansas and Missouri. Her practice areas encompass Elder Law, estate planning, long term care planning and asset protection, Medicaid and VA planning, trust administration, guardianships and Special Needs Planning. She earned her JD in 1994 from Boston College Law School and subsequently earned her LLM in Estate Planning from the University of Missouri in Kansas City. Ms. Shepherd serves as Chair of the Missouri Bar Elder Law Committee and as the President of the Missouri Chapter of NAELA. She is an active member of both the Kansas and Missouri Chapters of NAELA.5/31/20175941
Jennifer VanderveenJennifer L. VanderVeen, CELADirectorJennifer VanderVeen, CELA, is a member of the Elder Law sections of both the Indiana and Michigan state bars, and is a past chairperson of the Indiana Elder Law section and current member of the Board of Directors of NAELA's Indiana Chapter. She is past chairperson of NAELA's Tax Section Steering Committee and of the 2012 National Aging and Law Institute Planning Committee, and of the 2015 Summit Planning Committee. A frequent speaker to both professional and lay groups on a wide range of Elder Law issues, Jennifer has a wide-ranging Elder Law practice, with areas of law ranging from tax to special needs planning.5/31/20161884
Michael WeeksMichael C. Weeks, CELADirectorMichael C. Weeks, CELA, is the President of the Weeks Group, LLC, an estate planning and Elder Law firm in St. Charles, Mo. He focuses his practice in the areas of estate planning and Elder Law and helps clients through the creation of wills, revocable living trusts, power of attorney documents, health care directives, as well as estate tax planning. Additionally, he is also very active in the areas of Medicaid planning, Veteran's benefits, and asset protection against the costs of long-term care, as well as non-Medicaid solutions to longterm care crisis situations and prevention of crisis situations. He has been a presenter at several continuing education seminars for other lawyers on Elder Law issues both locally and nationally. He is a graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia, where he received his law degree, as well as an MBA from the Trulaske College of Business at the University of Missouri.5/31/20172864