May 19, 2015

Shirley B. Whitenack Named President of 2015-2016 NAELA Board of Directors

The National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA), the association of attorneys dedicated to improving the quality of legal services provided to older Americans and individuals with special needs, is proud to announce its appointment of Shirley Berger Whitenack, Esq. CAP, as President of the 2015-2016 Board of Directors, effective June 1, 2015.  The organization boasts a membership of 4,500 attorneys throughout the United States.

As NAELA President, Ms. Whitenack will work with the NAELA Executive Committee to achieve the Academy’s objectives, which include legislative initiatives to benefit seniors and individuals with special needs.  She will also serve as the chief spokesperson for NAELA.

“As our population ages, and more and more people are being diagnosed with special needs, we see a growing need for attorneys who can guide families through the maze of complex issues with knowledge and compassion. My leadership role is the result of a career dedicated to assisting those who often get lost in the system,” Ms. Whitenack said.

“NAELA members are at the forefront of unique and complex issues faced by people as they age and people with disabilities,” she said. “It is thrilling and an honor to head the organization that leads the way in special needs and elder law.”

Ms. Whitenack, a partner at Schenck, Price, Smith & King, LLP, devotes a substantial portion of her practice to elder and special needs law, probate and guardianship litigation and estate planning and administration. A former member of the Management Committee, and a founding member of the firm’s Women’s Initiative, she co-chairs the firm’s Elder and Special Needs Law Practice Group and the Estates and Trusts Litigation Practice Group.

A NAELA Fellow and member of NAELA’s Council of Advanced Practitioners (CAP), Ms. Whitenack is the recipient of many awards, including the New Jersey State Bar Association’s (NJSBA) Legislative Service Award in September 2003 for her contribution in drafting and promoting revisions to New Jersey’s guardianship statutes; the NJSBA’s Amicus Curiae Award in 2004; the Guardianship Association of New Jersey’s Recognition Award in October 2003 for her contribution in advocating for the civil rights of incapacitated individuals; the New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education’s (NJICLE) Distinguished Service Award in 2007; the Distinguished Service Award from the NJSBA’s Elder & Disability Section in 2009, and the Community Health Law Project’s Ann Klein Advocate Award in 2011 for improving the lives of people with disabilities. She was recognized in 2011 by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey in a Joint Resolution for service to those with special needs. In 2012, she was honored by the NJSBA for her long service as a trustee of the New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education and received the NJSBA’s Distinguished Legislative Service Award for her contribution to New Jersey’s enactment of the Uniform Adult Guardianship and Protective Proceedings Jurisdiction Act.  Ms. Whitenack received the Morris County Bar Association’s Civil Practice Award in 2015. She has been recognized in New Jersey Monthly magazine as one of New Jersey’s top 50 women Super Lawyers as well as a top Elder Law Super Lawyer, a peer rating based upon a survey of members of the New Jersey bar using criteria identified at

Members of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) are attorneys who are experienced and trained in working with the legal problems of aging Americans and individuals of all ages with disabilities. Established in 1987, NAELA is a non-profit association that assists lawyers, bar organizations and others. The mission of NAELA is to establish NAELA members as the premier providers of legal advocacy, guidance and services to enhance the lives of people with special needs and people as they age. NAELA currently has members across the United States, Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom. For more information, visit