Critter Corner: What Does CELA and CAP mean after Mr. Farr’s Name?

Dear Commander Bun Bun,

I noticed that Mr. Farr has the letters “CELA” and “CAP” after his name. What do they mean?


Aubrey Veations


Dear Aubrey,

Good question. I used to ponder the same thing myself. I found the answers online on the National Association of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) and the National Elder Law Foundation (NELF) websites.

This is what I found:


CELA means that Mr. Farr is a Certified Elder Law Attorney.  The National Elder Law Foundation describes the CELA certification as “the gold standard” for elder law and special needs practitioners. It is the only Elder Law Certification that is approved by the American Bar Association. Currently, Mr. Farr is one of only around 500 CELAs in the country that meet the stringent criteria, and who are therefore qualified enough to hold this valued designation.

What does an attorney need before he or she can be qualified as a CELA?

·     Have practiced law for at least 5 years, and have focused at least 50% of their practice in the special needs/elder law field for at least the last three of those years.

·     Demonstrated substantial involvement in special needs and elder law practice, by demonstrating a minimum number of individual cases, spread across a number of different categories making up the “elder law” definition.

·     Studied for, took, and passed a rigorous, day-long written examination. Some pass rates on these exams are lower than 20% — and that is of applicants who have already met the experience requirements.

·     Underwent a review by peers and colleagues, focused on the applicant’s reputation for ethical and competent representation in elder law and special needs planning matters.


CAP means the Mr. Farr is a member of NAELA’s Council of Advanced Practitioners, which is an invitation-only council that was founded by NAELA for Advanced Practitioners. Members of the Council are:

·     recognized as innovators of the profession;

·     instrumental in leading the future of Elder Law;

·     a major source of speakers, writers, and leaders of NAELA programs; and

·     NAELA’s role models, providing a “vision” for NAELA and mentoring for NAELA members.

Membership in CAP is available to preeminent Elder Law Attorneys. Eligible Candidates must be: a NAELA member for a minimum of 10 years, AV rated by Martindale Hubbell, and either a NAELA Fellow or a Certified Elder Law Attorney (CELA). You can read more about CAP on the NAELA website.

Not everyone is qualified to give Elder Law and Medicaid advice. Mr. Farr is currently one of only 8 attorneys in the Northern Virginia / DC Metro area that holds both the CELA and CAP credentials.  Before moving forward with an attorney, ask about his or her credentials and training, or look them up online at the links given above. Keep in mind that a CELA (and CAP) certification is confirmation that your lawyer is “more than just qualified” and that you are getting “the best legal representation available.” (source: The National Elder Law Foundation).

Hop this is helpful,

Commander Bun Bun

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About Renee Eder

Renee Eder is the Director of Public Relations for the Farr Law Firm, and gives the voice to the Critters of Critter Corner. Renee’s poodle, Penny, is an official comfort dog who she and her children bring to visit with seniors who are in the early stages of dementia at a local senior home once a month.

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