Mass NAELA honors Rep. Fernandes, elects 2011 officers

Issue January 2011

At its annual meeting on Nov. 30, the Massachusetts Chapter of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (MassNAELA) honored several individuals for their advocacy of elder services and their commitment to raising awareness of legal issues affecting seniors.

Massachusetts state Rep. John V. Fernandes was presented the Legislator of the Year award for his efforts to champion the concerns of elders at the Statehouse.

As a legislator, Fernandes, who represents the 10th Worcester District (Milford, Hopedale and Mendon), has made protecting seniors one of his top priorities and continually supports legislation that will allow seniors to stay in their homes, reduce the cost of prescription drugs and improve access to healthcare.

He serves on the House and Joint Committees on Elder Affairs, which consider all matters concerning the elderly, handicapped elders, nursing facilities, prescription drugs, reverse mortgages, senior pharmacy and other related matters. Fernandes is an attorney with a practice based in Milford.

Also, Maria Baler was named Member of the Year from among the chapter's 485 members for her commitment of time and energy to chapter membership initiatives. And 2009 chapter president, Suzanne R. Sayward presented 2010 President Francis X. Small with an award for his contributions and service to the chapter over the past year.

The MassNAELA annual meeting also included the election of chapter officers for 2011.

The 2011 officers are: President Tracey A.L. Ingle, President-elect Philip D. Murphy, Vice President Holly K. Harris, Secretary Paula Kahn Almgren and Treasurer Steven F. Mann.

Ingle, of Ingle Law in Southborough, was voted Member of the Year in 2008. She received her bachelor's degree from M.I.T. and her juris doctorate from Suffolk University Law School.

"I look forward to proceeding with the long-range goals of my predecessors to educate and train our members on how to position their clients for the best possible future," Ingle said. "… Education is the greatest benefit we can give our members and their clients. It helps them to improve their practice and ultimately be more successful in the profession."

The National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys is dedicated to developing awareness of issues concerning the elderly. Nearly 500 attorneys are members of the Massachusetts chapter. They work directly with the elderly population on a wide range of issues.