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Special Needs Trust Lawyers | West Hartford

John “Jay” F. Kearns III
Certified Elder Law Attorney (CELA)

Jay Kearns is a Special Needs Trust Lawyer in West Hartford CT who focuses on elder law, estate planning and probate law.

Jay holds the distinction of being Connecticut’s first attorney to be board certified as an elder law attorney by the National Elder Law Foundation under accreditation by the American Bar Association.

An inductee of The Phi Beta Kappa Society, the nation’s oldest and most widely known academic honor society, Jay Kearns earned a B.A. in History at Fordham University and his J.D. from the Syracuse University College of Law.

His commitment to public service extends well beyond his private practice. Jay has served on the Board of Directors of several organizations, including: the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA), an association of 4,000 elder law attorneys (1995-2001); The National Elder Law Foundation, an organization which examines and qualifies certified elder law attorneys (1996-2002); HARC, a multi- service organization in Greater Hartford that serves people with intellectual disabilities and their families through support, education and advocacy (2004-2007), and the Connecticut Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association (2006-2011). Jay has also served on the Advisory Board of General Electric Center for Financial Learning (1999-2005).

Additionally, Jay is co-founder and past president (2005-2006) of the Special Needs Alliance, a national network of disability lawyers, and a past president of the Northern Connecticut Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association (1997).

In 1999, Jay was inducted as a Fellow of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, acknowledging his “exceptional contributions to meeting the needs of older Americans,” as well as being “recognized by peers as a model for others, and an exceptional lawyer and leader.” Only 102 attorneys, nationwide, have received this national honor since 1989; Jay is 1 of 2 Connecticut attorneys selected as Fellows of the Academy.

In 2007, Jay was named a Connecticut Super Lawyer by Super Lawyers magazine in cooperation with Connecticut magazine. Super Lawyers magazine names the top 5% of attorneys in each state, based on scores from their peers and through independent research.

In 2011, Jay was recognized among Greater Hartford’s Top Attorneys – “the most effective and competent attorneys in our region” – by Hartford Magazine in the category of Elder Law, based on his having achieved the highest level of Peer Review Rating available.

Also in 2011, Jay was appointed to Connecticut’s independent Division of Autism Spectrum Services Advisory Council (DASSAC) by the Commissioner of the Department of Developmental Services (DDS). The purpose of the DASSAC is to make recommendations on how Connecticut can best anticipate and provide the array of necessary developmental, educational, mental health, housing and employment support services to all its current and future residents with an autism spectrum disorder.

Jay has authored and coauthored several articles that have been published in Connecticut Lawyer, the magazine of the Connecticut Bar Association, including “Protecting the Money of Your Client with Disabilities” (October 2011), “Why Trial Lawyers Should Use §468B Settlement Funds” (November 2008), and “Preserving Your Plaintiff’s Personal Injury Settlement After Saunders” (March 2000). Jay has been quoted in Modern Maturity, Business Week, Money and Kiplinger, and has appeared on CNNfn, NBC, CNN Radio, and The Wall Street Journal Radio Network for his insight into long-term care issues.

Probate Attorney | West Hartford CT

Lisa Vozzella Courser

A graduate of Fairfield University and Western New England College of Law, Lisa is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, the Connecticut Bar Association’s Elder Law and Estate Planning Sections and the Greater Hartford Elder Network.

Lisa has served on the Executive Committee and as Secretary for the Alzheimer’s Coalition of Connecticut, Inc. She has also served as Director and Chair of the Communications Committee for the Northern Connecticut Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association.