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NAELA's Eight Super Sections

By Judith M. Flynn, CELA, and Leonard Mondschein, CELA, CAP
Super8Sections Each of the eight NAELA Sections has its own “super”power, bringing Section members learning and networking opportunities with a topic-specific focus.

If you attended a NAELA webinar, Town Hall, or Lunch and Learn in 2020, chances are it was organized and presented by members of one of ­NAELA’s Sections. These Sections include Advocacy/Litigation; Guardianship/Conservatorship, Medicare, Medicaid and Health Care; New and Transitioning Attorneys; Practice Development/Practice Management; Special Needs Law; Tax; and Trusts and Special Needs Trusts.

The creative offerings provided to Section members last year included webinars and articles on diverse topics including sustaining your practice during the pandemic, recent changes in the law, and monthly “Zoom” roundtables. The Sections are a great way for you to expand your knowledge base and your professional network. You may participate as much or as little as you wish, with Sections providing many opportunities to get involved in NAELA. If you’re looking for ways to become active in NAELA, the Section Steering Committees are a great place to start!

Advocacy and Litigation Section
The Advocacy and Litigation Section meets monthly. The Section’s most popular programs in 2020 were two webinars: “Grey Marriage and Grey Divorce” and “Cross-Over Issues in Probate and Family Law.” In 2021, the Section will plan two cross-over programs, working in collaboration with the Tax Section and Practice Development/Practice Management Section.

The Section’s programs are taught by experienced litigators. This expertise is always in demand by ­NAELA members.

Even if you are not a seasoned litigator, you should consider joining this Section to be exposed to areas of litigation such as civil litigation, guardianship and conservatorship, representation of fiduciaries, elder and disability rights, nursing home litigation, and abuse and exploitation matters.

Guardianship/Conservatorship Section
This Section’s most popular offerings in 2020 were the webinar, “Covid-19 and Managing Guardianship Cases,” the Town Halls, and their NAELA News Online article, “Guardianships During COVID-19: Perspectives From NAELA Practitioners” (October 2020).

Since COVID-19 has drastically affected guardianship practices across the country, the Section presented two Town Hall meetings in fall 2020, sharing with all members information on how COVID-19 has impacted guardianship practice, including the closure of courts, use of video technology by courts, access to clients in nursing or other congregate settings, and other challenges to practicing in this area of law. In 2021, the Section plans to expand on the challenges and current trends.

As with all of the Sections, all levels of experience are welcomed and valued. An interest in guardianship practice and ability to collaborate with other Section members is all that is required. Section members are always willing to share information and ideas with other members.

Medicare, Medicaid, and Health Care Section
The Medicare, Medicaid, and Health Care Section is currently an “Online” Section, with no Steering Committee or scheduled meetings. However, if you are interested in helping shape the direction of this Section by participating as a member of a newly formed Steering Committee, please contact staff liaison Erica Asbell at easbell@naela.org.

In its current online format, members of the Section can share content on the Section's listserv and post or respond to questions of interest. The Section covers broad substantive areas that touch every elder law and special needs planning practice. All levels of knowledge and experience will benefit from membership. While this Section is generally not active in presenting webinars or writing articles, the exchange of information and ideas within the community is valuable to Section members.

There is no particular level of expertise required to join this Section — just an interest in Medicare, Medicaid, and health care issues and a desire to contribute to the collegial exchange of helpful information and ideas.

New and Transitioning Attorneys Section
The New and Transitioning Attorneys Section is an “Online” Section, with no Steering Committee or scheduled meetings. While this Section does not typically produce content such as webinars or articles, it's a great introduction to the collegiality and support that NAELA is known for. Content is posted to the Section listserv by ­NAELA staff and Section members.

Section members do not need any particular degree of knowledge or experience. Since each state has its own laws and processes, collaboration among members is the most important aspect of this Section. As the largest NAELA Section, its members have the opportunity to share information with the greatest number of members who are always willing to support each other.

Join this Section to meet other new NAELA members, contribute content to the Section, and participate in collegial discussions in a supportive environment.

Practice Development/Practice Management Section
The Practice Development/Practice Management (PD/PM) Section Steering Committee meets monthly to plan for webinars and articles for Section members. Their most popular program in 2020 was the webinar, “Marketing Your Medicaid and VA Practice During and After COVID-19.”

The Section is developing a series of webinars and articles for 2021 to address the challenges of and solutions to practicing under COVID-19 restrictions. In addition, the Section continues two popular email series: “Monthly Marketing Tips” and “Practice Success Audit.”

Knowing the law is not enough for the efficient and successful running of a law practice. Join this Section if you want to give your clients the best law firm experience, and improve marketing, office management, and technology for your practice. There are opportunities to share your experiences in the areas of marketing, management, and technology with other Section members.

Special Needs Law Section
The Special Needs Law Section meets monthly. In 2020, this Section co-presented a webinar with the Tax Section on the new ABLE Act. It also presented a webinar on emergency planning encompassing how-to plans for care and support of individuals with disabilities in natural disasters, as well as illness and other family/caregiver emergencies.

The Steering Committee is working on plans for 2021 programming with an emphasis on audience participation using the Zoom format. This Section will focus on specific topics and small groups in the coming year.

As with all of the Sections, all knowledge and experience levels are welcome and will benefit from sharing experiences and professional networking.

The Steering Committee is currently comprised of some of the most prominent members of the special needs and elder law bar in this country. Members interested in joining the Section Steering Committee should be willing to write articles and present at least one program per year. Above all, Steering Committee members should be willing to share their experiences and expertise in working with clients and their families.

Tax Section
The Tax Section offers a monthly “Tax Roundtable,” where experienced tax practitioners are available for 30 minutes via Zoom to discuss a variety of tax issues. The participants also discuss current tax legislation and other hot topics.

In 2020, the Section hosted a web­inar on the ­SECURE Act for all ­NAELA members with an attendance of more than 600 members. Prior to the passage of the SECURE Act, the Section helped advocate for modification of the original proposed legislation to better address the needs of disabled adults who may be inheriting retirement assets in trusts.

For 2021, the Tax Section is planning four webinars on tax issues of relevance to all members.

COVID-19 created challenges for the Section as to the best ways to deliver valuable content to its members. The monthly “Tax Roundtable” was a creative choice to keep members informed of changes in the tax laws while fostering community within the Section.

Since tax issues permeate almost all transactions, any NAELA member can benefit from becoming a member of the Tax Section. Teaching tax fundamentals to NAELA members drives the purpose of the Section. No tax matter is too simple or too complicated for member discussion. All knowledge and experience levels are welcome.

Those NAELA members who are more experienced in tax matters should consider joining the Steering Committee.

Trusts and Special Needs Trusts Section
The Trusts and Special Needs Trusts Section meets monthly. The Section’s most successful program in 2020 was the webinar, “Introduction to Estate Planning.” This was a back-to-basics program that garnered a large attendance.

For 2021, the Section has an impressive line-up for Section members including two webinars — one that will cover reporting and drafting your special needs trust and a second will discuss charitable remainder trusts. In addition to the webinars, two articles that will provide value to its members are planned — one discussing decanting and another discussing the interplay between ABLE accounts and special needs trusts and how they actually function.

Any member looking to gain knowledge in the areas of trusts and special needs trusts should join this Section. Regardless of your background, you will become a better lawyer as you learn from experts and fellow Section members through the listserv. Section members look forward to getting together to discuss timely issues and learn from each other. In addition, as with all Sections, there are out-of-state referrals made as a direct result of collaboration with other Section members.

About the Authors
Judith M. Flynn, CELA, is a member of the NAELA Board of Directors. Leonard Monschein, CELA, CAP, is a member of the NAELA Board of Directors and a member of the NAELA News Editorial Board.
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In this issue..

NAELA's Eight Super Sections

By  Leonard Mondschein, CELA, CAP; and Judith M. Flynn, CELA

2021 Annual Conference Wrap Up

By  Brenna Galvin, Esq., and Beth McDaniel, CELA

2021 Annual Conference Seminar Reviews

By  Eric Einhart, Esq.; Len Mondschein, CELA, CAP; and April D. Hill, CELA, CAP

President's Message: I'm Excited About the Future of NAELA

By  Wendy Shparago Cappelletto, Esq., CAP