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Section Committees

The Elder Law Section has thirteen standing committees in addition to the Executive Committee.

2013-14 Elder Law Section Executive Committee Officers

David Rephan

Vice Chair:                  
Lori Skibbie
Andrea Wing
Mary Frances Price

2013-14 Standing Committee Chairs or Co-chairs:

Advocacy Support

Suzy Scheller


Julian Zweber and Stuart Bear




Joel Button


Jill Adkins

Elder Law Institute

David Rephan

Law Student



Julian Zweber

Medical Assistance

Pook Grathwol


John Kantke

Pro Bono

Adam Rohne

Strategic Planning

Tom O’Connell and Dick Hawke

Vulnerable Adult

Ken LaBore

Section members interested in becoming involved in any of the standing committees, or in offering suggestions for issues or projects, may contact the Section Chair or the respective committee chair(s).   A description of the standing committees and contact information for each committee chair follows.


The newly formed Advocacy Support Committee was created to foster litigation skills and support – especially those skills relevant to elder law practice areas (fair hearings in administrative context, probate, state and federal civil courts) and to discuss/promote the emerging issues/topics in elder law where litigation is an emerging trends and discuss cases, strategy, etc. Anyone interested in serving on the committee may contact the Section Chair.


The Awards Committee is charged with nominating and selecting members to receive awards at the annual Elder Law Institute.  The major award is the Mary Alice Gooderl Memorial Award, which is presented annually to acknowledge outstanding contributions to the field of elder law by members of the Elder Law Section, as exemplified by Mary Alice Gooderl, one of the founders of the section.  The Awards Committee may also present special recognition awards to members who have made outstanding contributions in the year of the award, or other awards as appropriate.

The Awards Committee is comprised of past winners of the Gooderl Award and others who are interested in serving on the committee.  The work of the Awards Committee is conducted in a two-month window prior to the annual October ELI, beginning in September of each year.  The current Awards Committee Co-Chairs are Julian Zweber, who can be contacted at and Stuart Bear, who may be contacted at


The purpose of the Bylaws Committee is to periodically review the section’s bylaws and to assure that section affairs are conducted in accordance with the bylaws.  The bylaws committee meets on an as-needed basis.  The current Bylaws Committee Co-Chairs are Dick Hawke, at and Tom O'Connell, at


The Communications Committee oversees the weekly Elder Law E-Newsletter and the Elder Law Section website.  The Committee is composed of the newsletter editor and the web editor, associate editors and contributors, and any other interested section members.  The committee meets periodically throughout the year, as needed, to review issues related to the newsletter and the website, and to conduct an annual member survey.  Anyone interested in serving on the committee or suggesting ideas for the newsletter or the website may contact Communications Committee chair Joel Button, at


The Elder Law Institute Planning Committee meets several times each summer for the purpose of planning the annual Elder Law Institute.  The incoming Section Chair heads the ELI Planning Committee.  The 2012 ELI Planning Committee Chair will be Laura Zdychnec. Anyone interested in serving on the Planning Committee may contact Laura Zdychnec, at


The Law Student Committee provides a forum for law students' contribution to the section. The committee consists primarily of the governing council's four student members. During the 2009-10 year, students planned a program on pro bono opportunities in Elder Law and organized a spring service project. During the 2010-11 year, the committee presented a breakout program for the Elder Law Institute on ethical issues in Elder Law. Anyone interested in serving on the committee may contact committee Co-Chair Laura Orr, at


The Elder Law Section's Legislative Committee monitors proposed legislation at the state and federal level affecting the Section's membership; reviews legislative proposals put forward by other Sections and Committees of the MSBA; reviews proposals from other groups, agencies and individuals; keeps Section membership informed of proposed legislation; provides comment and other responses to legislative proposals; makes recommendations concerning support of, or opposition to, legislative proposals; develops relationships with other organizations affected by legislation of interest to the Section; acts as a coordinator for the Section's legislative activities; develops legislative proposals for inclusion in the MSBA legislative agenda; provides witnesses and testimony in support of, or opposition to, legislative proposals; and in general supports the MSBA and the Section’s legislative agendas. Members interested in joining the committee or learning more about the legislative issues being reviewed by the committee may contact either Legislative Committee Co-chair: Julian Zweber, at


The purpose of the Medical Assistance Committee is to help practitioners respond to Medical Assistance issues arising in practice and to share information about developing laws and policies. Private attorneys who are members of the Elder Law Section of the MSBA are eligible for membership. The committee meets at 3:30 p.m. on the third Tuesday of every other month at the MAO offices, located at Monroe Village, 1900 Central Avenue NE, Suite 106, in Minneapolis. Out-of-state members may participate by phone. Members interested in joining the committee or attending by phone may contact Bill Lent with Chestnut Cambronne, PA, at 612-336-2948. Issues for discussion may be communicated to committee chair Pook Grathwol at


The mission of the Education Committee is to evaluate current educational offerings to assure they are meeting member needs, to explore education alternatives, and to look at creative ways of delivering information and education about Elder Law to section members, other MSBA members, and/or the public. Anyone interested in serving on the committee may contact Chair Jill Adkins, at


The Nominating Committee has the responsibility of suggesting and recruiting nominees for service on the Elder Law Governing Council.   Governing Council members serve two-year terms, with approximately one-half of the 29 council positions open each year.  The Nominating Committee prepares a slate of council members and officers to be voted on at the April  Governing Council meeting.  Once approved, the slate of Governing Council Nominees is then voted on and approved by section membership at the Annual Meeting in June.  The committee meets on an “as needed” basis during the period of February to April to complete the slate of  nominees.  Anyone interested in serving on the Nominating Committee or in nominating a member to serve on the Governing Council may contact committee chair Dan Steinhagen at  


The mission of the Pro Bono Committee is to work with existing pro bono programs and elder service groups to make section members aware of pro bono opportunities, to connect section members with existing pro bono programs, and to expand the pro bono services offered for elders.

One of the major activities of the Pro Bono Committee is coordination of the statewide activities for National Healthcare Decisions Day, which is held annually on April 16th.  The committee coordinates the event on behalf of the MSBA Elder Law Section, which serves as state liaison to the national NHDD organization.  As state liaison, the committee coordinates state efforts to expand education about and assist Minnesotans with completion of Health Care Directives.  Work on NHDD generally begins in December/January of each year.

Anyone interested in serving on the Pro Bono Committee or in helping with National Healthcare Decisions Day may contact Chair, Adam Rohne at


The Strategic Planning Committee considers long-term planning for the Elder Law Section and makes proposals to the Governing Council for recommended actions.  A major task is to work with the section treasurer to present a section budget to the Governing Council. In addition, the committee meets to discuss section issues or unmet needs. The committee takes a long-range view to create policies that are responsive to the needs of section members and that reach out to other members of the Bar.

Section members who are interested in learning more about the strategic planning process, or who have suggestions for the committee, may contact Strategic Planning Committee Chair, Jennifer Wright at


The purpose of the Vulnerable Adult/Abuse Committee is to explore issues related to vulnerable adults and to provide education to attorneys and the community which may reduce or eliminate elder abuse.  Topics of interest include policies and procedures of nursing homes and assisted living facilities, appropriate and inappropriate uses of a Power of Attorney - and associated criminal penalties - development of educational classes related to vulnerable adult issues, and exploration of opportunities to reach out to the public through local newspapers and community cable channels.

Anyone interested in participating on the Vulnerable Adult/Abuse Committee may contact Co -chair Ken LaBore, at or Suzanne Scheller at


- Last Updated 03/06/2014 -

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