Governance and Leadership

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).

NAELA's mission is to educate, inspire, serve, and provide community to attorneys with practices in elder and special needs law.

Board Function

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.
  • Delegates day-to-day management of NAELA to appropriate staff.
  • Evaluates its performance and that of the staff on a regular basis.
  • Refrains from directing staff activity and micro managing NAELA affairs. 

Board meetings, which are open to all regular members to attend except as otherwise announced, 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 or 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 or 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.

The Executive Committee acts in place and instead of the Board of Directors between 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; or
  • 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.

If you are interested in serving on the NAELA Board of Directors, please contact C. Grace Whiting, Executive Director at [email protected]


The Academy's Bylaws set out the system approved by the membership for governing the Academy. The membership adopted NAELA's original bylaws in 1989. The most recent version of the Bylaws was updated in March 2013.

NAELA Bylaws
(Adobe PDF File)

Committees and Task Forces

NAELA offers a wide range of volunteer opportunities. As a NAELA volunteer, you'll learn and share expertise with fellow elder law and special needs planning attorneys and professionals in the field, gain valuable leadership experience, and influence positive change in elder law and special needs planning. To learn more visit our volunteer page.