BSR&B Attorney First In Region to Earn Certified Elder Law Attorney Status

BSR&B Attorney First In Region to Earn Certified Elder Law Attorney Status

Richard Shapiro, J.D., a partner with the Hudson Valley law firm Blustein, Shapiro, Rich & Barone, LLP, has become a Certified Elder Law Attorney (CELA). With this designation, Shapiro becomes the only Certified Elder Law Attorney whose primary office is based in Orange, Sullivan, Dutchess, or Ulster counties.

“I’ve dedicated my legal career to helping families secure their futures so that their long-term care needs can be met and their legacies can be protected,” said Shapiro. “Earning this certification will provide a measure of assurance to our clients and the community that I have an in-depth working knowledge of the legal issues affecting seniors and the public and private services and resources available – including Medicaid – for seniors and those with disabilities.”

Shapiro is one of only 36 CELAs in New York State, and one of fewer than 500 CELAs nationwide. The National Elder Law Foundation (NELF) is the only organization approved by the American Bar Association to offer certification in the area of elder law, one of the fastest growing fields in the legal profession. The CELA designation identifies those lawyers who have the enhanced knowledge, skills, experience, and proficiency to be properly identified to the public as Certified Elder Law Attorneys.

“It’s a demanding process to become certified, including a stringent peer review process, continuing education requirements, and a five-and-a-half-hour exam that has only a 35 percent pass rate,” said BSR&B Managing Partner Michael Blustein. “That’s why the CELA designation is considered the Gold Standard for elder law and special needs practitioners, and is a real differentiator among elder law attorneys.”

Shapiro, the head of the firm’s Estate PlanningProbate, and Elder Law Department, counsels clients of both modest and higher net worth in creating tax efficient legacy plans that provide asset protection throughout the generations. He has been named to the Upstate New York Super Lawyers list in the practice area of estate planning, probate, and elder law for four consecutive years, and has earned both an “AV Preeminent” rating from Martindale-Hubbell and a perfect 10.0 rating at

Earlier this year, Shapiro authored Secure Your Legacy: Estate Planning and Elder Law for Today’s American Family, a book tackling the daunting aspects of estate planning and elder law. He has been quoted in the New York Times and on, and frequently writes on estate planning, business planning, and elder law topics. Shapiro has been a lecturer for several national estate and elder law programs, including the National Business Institute and the National Network of Estate Planning Attorneys.

He is a member of the Trusts & Estates and Elder Law sections of the New York State Bar Association, as well as the Hudson Valley Estate Planning Council, where he is presently serving as a director. He is also a member of WealthCounsel, ElderCounsel, Elder Law Answers, and the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys.

The National Elder Law Foundation is not affiliated with any governmental authority. Certification is not a requirement for the practice of law in the State of New York and does not necessarily indicate greater competence than other attorneys experienced in this field of law.