The National Elder Law Foundation is the only national certifying program for elder law and special needs attorneys.
Beginning in 1994, the National Elder Law Foundation certified its first batch of examinees as Certified Elder Law Attorneys. There are now nearly 500 CELAs practicing in almost every state and in most major cities in the country. The special needs and elder law practice continues to grow, and the number of CELAs will grow as well.
CELAs must complete a rigorous full-day examination and demonstrate that their law practice is actually focused on special needs and elder law. Once certified, a CELA must continue to practice primarily in elder law and special needs, and complete continuing education credits specifically targeted to advanced practitioners.
Most of the leading figures in the elder law and special needs field today hold the CELA certification. Leaders in the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, the Academy of Special Needs Planners and the Special Needs Alliance are almost universally CELAs. NELF continues to grow and develop, even as the special needs and elder law practice evolves.