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August 01, 2017

Bridging the Legal Services and Aging Network: National Center on Law and Elder Rights

by Fay Gordon, Omar Valverde & Jennifer Goldberg

(The pdf for the issue in which this article appears is available for download: Bifocal, Vol. 38, Issue 6.)

Last fall, during the 2016 NALC opening ple­nary, Edwin Walker, Deputy Assistant Sec­retary on Aging, introduced his agency’s vision for the new National Center on Law and Elder Rights (NCLER). Reiterating that legal services are always on the front-lines of the most pressing issues impacting older adults, he shared the goal that NCLER will help enhance the capacity of the legal services network.

This goal was forefront in our minds over the last year, as Justice in Aging developed and de­signed NCLER. As the NCLER lead contractor, we solicited feedback from the network of legal services providers and the aging advocates, seek­ing input on what’s working, and where help is needed to strengthen capacity. During our exten­sive stakeholder interviews, a prominent theme emerged: the need for the legal services network and aging network to better understand the other’s role, responsibilities and limitations. The interviews revealed successful examples of partnership, as well as challenges in communication between the two.

In an upcoming session at NALC, Bridging the Legal Services and Aging Network: National Center on Law and Elder Rights, Justice in Aging will introduce NCLER and present NCLER’s role connecting these essential partners. The session will educate participants about the NCLER training and technical assistance services for the network at large, as well as introduce ideas for better partnership among network members. NCLER will facilitate a discus­sion in small groups, focusing on ideas to strengthen col­laboration across the network. Based on this discussion, NCLER will build on these solutions through future train­ings and resource development.

With our valued partners, the American Bar Associa­tion Commission on Law and Aging, the National Con­sumer Law Center, and The Center for Social Gerontol­ogy, Justice in Aging is ensuring that NCLER provides a full range of tools and resources for aging, legal, disability, and elder rights networks across the country.

This discussion will be held on Thursday, October 26 at 9:30 a.m. in the Discovery Room.

Fay Gordon is the Project Manager of the National Center on Law and Elder Rights (NCLER).

Omar Valverde joined the U.S. Administration on Aging in September, 2006 as an Aging Services Program Special­ist for the elder abuse prevention and the legal services for the elderly programs.

Jennifer Goldberg is Directing Attorney of the Justice in Aging Health Team, and is based in the D.C. office.


The National Center on Law and Elder Rights (NCLER) is a new national resource center for the legal services and aging and disability networks, focused on the legal rights of older adults. Providing webinars, trainings, written materials, and case consultations, NCLER is a one-stop resource for professionals serving older adults with the great­est economic and social needs. NCLER was created by Justice in Aging under contract with the Administration on Community Living’s (ACL) Administration on Aging, and its temporary home is

NCLER combines resources from Justice in Aging, the American Bar Association Commission on Law and Ag­ing, the National Consumer Law Center, and The Center for Social Gerontology to produce and disseminate monthly trainings and written materials that cover both basic and advanced legal topics. Please visit the temporary home,, or request a free case consultation by emailing [email protected].

by Fay Gordon, Omar Valverde & Jennifer Goldberg