Irina S. Shea, Esq, CELA

Irina S. Shea has been a Trusts & Estates attorney since 1995. She began her practice at the New York City law firm of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom where her principal practice area was estate planning. She then moved to the JP Morgan Private Bank as a trust officer. From there, Irina entered private practice with a focus on estate planning, elder law and estate administration. She has also been asked by numerous clients to serve as a private executor. Irina is a member of the New Jersey and New York State Bar Associations and has offices in Ramsey, NJ and Manhattan. Irina can make home and hospital visits if need be.

Irina is a Certified Elder Law Attorney (CELA) by the ABA accredited National Elder Law Foundation, an Accredited Attorney by the Department of Veterans Affairs and a Certified Mediator. She is an active member of The National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA), WealthCounsel, ElderCounsel and the Greater New Jersey Estate Planning Council. Irina is the author of articles appearing in Trusts and Estates Magazine and The Wealth Counsellor.

She is a frequent lecturer and speaker at financial and legal conferences, universities, assisted living communities and senior groups on topics related to her practice area.

Irina is a graduate of Georgetown University Law Center and Georgetown University School of Business in Washington, DC. She is licensed to practice law in New York and New Jersey.

When Irina is not in the office, she enjoys spending time with her two sons and black lab, Rosie.

WHY YOU NEED A CERTIFIED ELDER LAW ATTORNEY (CELA)?

FROM THE NATIONAL ELDER LAW FOUNDATION:  When you look for an attorney to help you with a special needs or elder law issue, you should look first at Certified Elder Law Attorneys near you. Why? Because they have demonstrated that they understand your legal problems, and they can help you.

The Certified Elder Law Attorney (CELA) certification has frequently been referred to as “the gold standard” for elder law and special needs practitioners. This reflects the hard work and proof required before an attorney can proudly proclaim that he or she holds the valued designation.

Preparation for a CELA designation includes several steps and several different types of qualification, all of which are designed to assure that clients receive good legal care. Before being certified, an applicant must:

  • Have practiced law for at least five years, and have focused at least half of their practice in the special needs/elder law field for at least the last three of those years.
  • Demonstrate “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.
  • Study for, take and pass a rigorous, day-long written examination. Recent pass rates have been below 50% — and that is of applicants who have already met the experience requirements.
  • Undergo 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.

There are only a little more than 400 CELAs in the country, so not every community has even one person who has been certified. Your lawyer should be a CELA — it is your surest method of independently confirming that she (or he) is more than just qualified. After all, you deserve the best legal representation available.