Only 25 lawyers in Ohio are Certified Elder Law Attorneys (CELAs) and one of them are here at Hickman & Lowder. But what does that certification mean? Aren’t certifications as common as plaques on the wall?
It is true that many “senior” certifications are not very meaningful. They may signify nothing more than that the advisor took a marketing course and paid a fee to become "certified." On the other hand, some certifications do signify that the holder has demonstrated a special degree of skill and knowledge. That is the case with the CELA designation.
A CELA has met the high standards required for certification established by the National Elder Law Foundation which is the only accepted certification in the field of Elder Law. In Ohio, the certification process has been reviewed and approved by the Supreme Court’s Commission on Certification of Attorneys as Specialists, and has been found to provide “a reasonable basis for determining that the attorney possesses special competence” in the field. The Ohio State Bar Association now has a certification in Elder Law, with standards very similar to those of NELF.
So, while some certifications may be misleading, the CELA designation uniquely identifies and attorney well-prepared to provide services to older adults and individuals with disabilities.