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May 01, 2012

Inside the Commission

University of Missouri Law Professor Appointed Chair of the ABA Commission on Law and Aging

David M. English, the William Franklin Fratcher Endowed Professor of Law at the University of Missouri-Columbia, has been named Chair of the American Bar Association Commission on Law and Aging.

Professor English has dedicated much of his career to the legal issues surrounding aging and disability. Within the ABA, he has held numerous leadership positions, including on the Section of Real Property, Trust and Estate Law (RPTEL), and Commission on Disability Rights (formerly Commission on Mental and Physical Disability Law). Currently, Prof. English represents the RPTEL section in the House of Delegates and is a member of the section’s executive committee. He was previously a member of the section council and group chair in charge of the elder law/disability group of committees. In his capacity as a delegate for the Real Property section, Prof. English has spoken frequently to the House on resolutions sponsored by the Commission on Law and Aging. As a Uniform Law Commissioner for the state of Missouri, he was involved in the drafting of numerous uniform acts directly relevant to the legislative projects and educational work of the Commission on Law and Aging, including the 2007 Uniform Adult Guardianship Jurisdiction Act (Reporter), the 2000 Uniform Trust Code, and the 1993 Uniform Health-Care Decisions Act. He was a member of the drafting committee on the Uniform Power of Attorney Act, the Uniform Anatomical Gift Act, and an advisor on the Uniform Guardianship and Protective Proceedings Act. In his position as executive director of the Joint Editorial Board for Uniform Trusts and Estates Act, Prof. English has oversight responsibility for all uniform legislation relating to aging and disability issues.

Professor English begins his three-year term on September 1, 2012, replacing former chair Jeffery Snell, of Sagamore Hills, Ohio. Mr. Snell also is very active within the ABA and has served on the Section of Individual Rights and Responsibilities, the Senior Lawyers Division, and the SCOPE committee, among others. Under Mr. Snell’s leadership the ABA Commission on Law an Aging created significant policy on numerous critical legal issues affecting the elderly.

Established in 1979, the Commission on Law and Aging serves as the ABA’s public interest conduit for examining and addressing emerging law-related issues of aging. The Commission’s mission is to strengthen and secure the legal rights, dignity, autonomy, quality of life, and quality of care of elders. It carries out this mission through research, policy development, technical assistance, advocacy, education, and training. Fifteen appointed experts from multiple disciplines plus an experienced elder law staff comprise the Commission.

ABA Commission Welcomes Summer Law Interns

Samantha Breakstone is a rising third-year law student at Case Western Reserve University School of Law. She will graduate in spring 2013 with a Juris Doctor and a Master’s degree in bioethics. Ms. Breakstone received her B.A. from Vanderbilt University in 2009, with a double major in Psychology and Medicine, Health and Society (Vanderbilt’s interdisciplinary public health and bioethics major). She followed that with an internship in the elder abuse unit of the Kings County District Attorneys Office in Brooklyn, New York, where she became interested in legal issues pertaining to the prosecution of elder abuse. This summer Ms. Breakstone is working with senior attorney Lori Stiegel on a paper addressing barriers to the prosecution of criminal elder neglect.

Adrienne Lyon is a rising third-year law student at Catholic University of America in Washington. Ms. Lyon received a B.S. in architecture from the University of Michigan and a Master’s of Architecture from the University of Virginia.

Prior to law school, Ms. Lyon worked as an architect in Washington and Baltimore. During that time, she also volunteered at Habitat for Humanity. There Ms. Lyon developed an interest in affordable housing issues, which ultimately lead her to law school.

In the summer of 2011, Ms. Lyon worked as a summer law clerk at AARP Legal Counsel for the Elderly, in Washington. There, she worked on landlord-tenant cases and helped clients obtain reasonable accommodations, essential housing repairs, and affordable housing vouchers.

Currently at the Commission, Ms. Lyon is working, under the supervision of senior attorney David Godfrey, to research liability issues relating to "Villages"—grassroots organizations that provide services to aging adults who want to remain in their own homes. When Ms. Lyon graduates in the spring of 2013 she hopes to find work as an elder law attorney.

CFPB Contract for Lay Fiduciary Publication

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Office for Older Americans is pleased to announce a new project to produce a set of concise, plain language guides for "lay fiduciaries." The Bureau awarded the contract to the ABA Commission on Law and Aging to produce a national guide, four state-specific guides, and a replication manual for other states. The ABA Commission has a substantial track record producing materials for consumers on financial decision-making, guardianship, elder abuse, and other key topics.

These user-friendly "how-to" guides will be for agents under powers of attorney, guardians, trustees, Social Security representative payees, and VA fiduciaries. They will explain what a fiduciary does, as well as record-keeping, prudent investment requirements, limitations on comingling funds, and other critical basics to manage a vulnerable adult’s money.

In addition to this essential guidance on how to handle another person’s finances, the guides will teach lay fiduciaries to spot financial exploitation and protect assets from unfair, deceptive, and abusive practices by third parties.

We anticipate publishing these guides in 2013 and making them available online and in hard copy format. For more information on the project, contact Naomi Karp at [email protected]

—Naomi Karp, JD, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Office for Older Americans

Anthony R. Palermo to Receive Pickering Award

Anthony R. Palermo will receive the 2012 John H. Pickering Achievement Award at the ABA Senior Lawyers Division Annual Dinner in Chicago.

The John H. Pickering Achievement Award was established in 2007 in recognition of Mr. Pickering’s brilliant legal work, his advocacy of pro bono service, his dedication to the cause of equal justice for all, and his promotion of the highest standards of ethics and professionalism in the law. Mr. Pickering was chair of the ABA Commission on Law and Aging, from 1985 to 1999, and continued to serve as special advisor and liaison.

The Pickering Achievement Award recognizes lawyers who have demonstrated outstanding legal ability, and have compiled a distinguished record of service to the profession and their communities, resulting in significant contributions to improving access to justice for all.

The award is cosponsored by the ABA Senior Lawyers Division, Commission on Law and Aging, Section of Individual Rights and Responsibility, and the Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defendants.

Anthony R. Palermo, the 2012 Pickering Award recipient, has been active in numerous organized bar activities, including as a member of the ABA Commission on Law and Aging. He has served over several decades in local, state, regional and national levels, including elective offices of: president, Monroe County Bar and New York State Bar, New York state delegate, member of the Board of Governors of the American Bar Association, ABA Secretary, and ABA House of Delegates member for more than twenty-five years. His efforts helped to establish court-regulated lawyer registration in New York and led to the creation and funding of the New York Clients’ Security Fund, of which he served as founding chair from 1981-1985.

His work in the public sector began in 1956 at the U.S. Department of Justice as a trial attorney in the Internal Security Division, followed by appointment as assistant U.S. attorney in Manhattan from 1958 to 1960, then designation as AUSA-in-charge in Rochester in 1961. He became a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers in 1974 and, since 1999, has been Of Counsel at Woods Oviatt Gilman LLP in Rochester.

Mr. Palermo is listed in current and previous editions of Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in American Law, Who’s Who in the World, and The Best Lawyers in America.