Michael J. Amoruso (pictured third from the left) assumed the role of President for the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) on June 1. One of the founding principals of ElderCounsel, he is also president of his own firm, Amoruso & Amoruso, LLP in Rye, New York, which he runs with his wife, Sreelekha. Within his own practice, Amoruso focuses on elder law, asset preservation, comprehensive estate planning, estate administration, and guardianship.
Amoruso first joined NAELA nine years ago, and has served two 2-year terms as a board member and five years as an officer with the association.
Amoruso’s own first-hand experience with both hearing and vision loss give him a unique and compassionate perspective for clients with special needs. He has a long history in elder law and became passionate about this area of practice early on. Fresh out of college in 1994, he took on his first case for a woman with special needs to help her recover money her parents had spent from a $3 million malpractice suit she’d previously won.
“All NAELA Presidents possess similar leadership qualities, similar strengths, but each President is also distinct in that they bring something to this position of national leadership that only they can offer,” says Peter G. Wacht, executive director for NAELA. “With Mike, it’s passion and focus. When he sets a goal, he achieves it.
“He harnesses his passion to excite others about the goal, and he knows how to lead to achieve that goal. In my opinion, that’s why he’s been so successful with NAELA, helping the Academy in so many different ways, whether public policy, education, chapters, and why he’ll continue to be successful as NAELA’s 2018-19 President.”
Amoruso’s goals for his NAELA presidency are clear and he says he’ll continue to spearhead NAELA’s progress across three initiatives: advocacy, community and education.
“First of all, we’ll continue to advocate for the rights of seniors and those with special needs,” he says. “Our recent successes include the passage of the Special Needs Trust Fairness Act in December 2016, which allows an individual with disabilities that has mental capacity to sign his or her own special needs trust.”
Amoruso also cited NAELA’s role in getting the medical expense deduction added back into the final version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act tax reform bill that took effect in December 2017, and in protecting Medicare’s long-term care protections during the repeal and replace legislation to the Affordable Care Act that circulated through congress in late 2017.
“We will continue that fight this year as we also start to battle various Medicaid waivers known as 1115(A) waivers that are hitting various states like Maine and Kentucky,” he added. “As each state makes an application for a waiver for certain Medicaid rules and requirements, we need to advocate to make sure the waivers are properly executed and that they are not harming those that we represent — seniors and those with disabilities.”
Touting NAELA membership benefits
Amoruso has long been an advocate of the benefits of NAELA, and says he believes that membership in the organization demonstrates a level of commitment to the elder law practice area.
“I think if anyone is practicing in elder law they are making a great mistake if they are not a member of NAELA,” he says. “We are the premier organization for advocacy, community and education for seniors and those with special needs.”
Amoruso has received much recognition and numerous accolades throughout his career. This year he was recognized in U.S. News & World Report’s 2018 Best Lawyers in America for Elder Law. He was also named a 2010-2017 New York Metro Super Lawyer for Elder Law and was named one of the Top 25 Westchester and Top 100 New York Super Lawyers among all practice areas from 2011-2017. Amoruso was featured in Super Lawyers Magazine in 2013, and received a U.S. Congressional Proclamation for his work in elder law and special needs law. Amoruso is also past chair of the New York State Bar Association Elder Law Section. He will serve as president of NAELA until June 1, 2019.
ElderCounsel Principals Howard Krooks and Vincent Russo wrote an article about Michael in the July/Aug/Sep 2018 issue of NAELA News.
Read the full article here.