2023-24 Standing Committee/Subcommittee Chairs:

  • Advocacy Committee: Martha Amdahl
  • Communications Committee: Lucas Spaeth
  • Diversity & Education Committee: Laura Orr (Diversity), Lauren Fink and Cathryn Reher (Education)
  • New Lawyers Subcommittee:Bridget-Michaele Reischl
  • Law Students Subcommittee: Jack Austin
  • Legislative Committee: Suzanne Scheller
  • Medical Assistance Committee: Callyn Bedker
  • Pro Bono Committee: Emily Weichsel
  • Executive Committee: Lauren Fink

Periodic/Ad Hoc Committees Chairs:

  • Awards Committee: Julian Zweber
  • Bylaws Committee: Julian Zweber
  • Elder Law Institute Subcommittee (Education): Lauren Fink and Cathryn Reher
  • Membership Committee: Joshua Damberg
  • Minn. Rule 9050 Special Committee: Cathryn Reher
  • Strategic Planning Subcommittee: Lauren Fink

Section members interested in becoming involved in any of the standing committees, or in offering suggestions for issues or projects, may contact the Section Chair or the respective committee chair(s). A description of the standing committees follows.


The Advocacy Support Committee was created to foster litigation skills and support – especially those skills relevant to elder law practice areas (fair hearings in administrative context, probate, state and federal civil courts) and to discuss/promote the emerging issues/topics in elder law where litigation is an emerging trends and discuss cases, strategy, etc.

The Awards Committee is charged with nominating and selecting members to receive awards at the annual Elder Law Institute.  The major award is the Mary Alice Gooderl Memorial Award, which is presented annually to acknowledge outstanding contributions to the field of elder law by members of the Elder Law Section, as exemplified by Mary Alice Gooderl, one of the founders of the section.  The Awards Committee may also present special recognition awards to members who have made outstanding contributions in the year of the award, or other awards as appropriate.

The Awards Committee is comprised of past winners of the Gooderl Award and others who are interested in serving on the committee.  The work of the Awards Committee is conducted in a two-month window prior to the annual October ELI, beginning in September of each year.  

The Communications Committee oversees the weekly Elder Law E-Newsletter and the Elder Law Section website. The Committee is composed of the newsletter editor and the web editor, associate editors and contributors, and any other interested section members. The committee meets periodically throughout the year, as needed, to review issues related to the newsletter and the website. Anyone interested in serving on the committee or suggesting ideas for the newsletter or the website may contact the Communications Committee Chair.

The Diversity Committee works to support diversity and promote inclusivity within the Elder Law Section and in serving elderly clients.

The mission of the Education Committee is to evaluate current educational offerings to assure they are meeting member needs, to explore education alternatives, and to look at creative ways of delivering information and education about Elder Law to section members, other MSBA members, and/or the public. 

The Elder Law Institute Planning Committee meets several times each summer for the purpose of planning the annual Elder Law Institute.  The incoming Section Chair traditionally heads the ELI Planning Committee.  
The Law Student Committee provides a forum for law students' contribution to the section. The committee consists primarily of the governing council's four student members. In the past, students have planned a program on pro bono opportunities in Elder Law and organized a spring service project.The committee organizes and presents programs, service projects, and pro bono opportunities for students and members of the elder law bar. 

The Elder Law Section's Legislative Committee monitors proposed legislation at the state and federal level affecting the Section's membership; reviews legislative proposals put forward by other Sections and Committees of the MSBA; reviews proposals from other groups, agencies and individuals; keeps Section membership informed of proposed legislation; provides comment and other responses to legislative proposals; makes recommendations concerning support of, or opposition to, legislative proposals; develops relationships with other organizations affected by legislation of interest to the Section; acts as a coordinator for the Section's legislative activities; develops legislative proposals for inclusion in the MSBA legislative agenda; provides witnesses and testimony in support of, or opposition to, legislative proposals; and in general supports the MSBA and the Section’s legislative agendas. Members interested in joining the committee or learning more about the legislative issues being reviewed by the committee may contact the Legislative Committee Chair.

The purpose of the Medical Assistance Committee is to help practitioners respond to Medical Assistance issues arising in practice and to share information about developing laws and policies. Private attorneys who are members of the Elder Law Section of the MSBA are eligible for membership. The committee meets at 3:30p.m. on the third Tuesday of every other month in the community room of Monroe Village Senior Apartments, a Volunteers of America (VOA) building at 1900 Central Avenue NE, Minneapolis, MN 55418. Out-of-state members may participate by phone. Issues for discussion may be communicated to the Committee Chair.

The New Lawyers Committee meets to provide support and educational opportunities for lawyers who are newly admitted or simply new to practicing elder law.

The Nominating Committee has the responsibility of suggesting and recruiting nominees for service on the Elder Law Governing Council.   Governing Council members serve two-year terms, with approximately one-half of the 29 council positions open each year.  The Nominating Committee prepares a slate of council members and officers to be voted on at the April  Governing Council meeting.  Once approved, the slate of Governing Council Nominees is then voted on and approved by section membership at the Annual Meeting in June.  The committee meets on an “as needed” basis during the period of February to April to complete the slate of  nominees.  Anyone interested in serving on the Nominating Committee or in nominating a member to serve on the Governing Council may contact the Committee Chair.

The mission of the Pro Bono Committee is to work with existing pro bono programs and elder service groups to make section members aware of pro bono opportunities, to connect section members with existing pro bono programs, and to expand the pro bono services offered for elders.

Anyone interested in serving on the Pro Bono Committee may contact the Committee Chair.

The Strategic Planning Committee considers long-term planning for the Elder Law Section and makes proposals to the Governing Council for recommended actions.  A major task is to work with the section treasurer to present a section budget to the Governing Council. In addition, the committee meets to discuss section issues or unmet needs. The committee takes a long-range view to create policies that are responsive to the needs of section members and that reach out to other members of the Bar.

Section members who are interested in learning more about the strategic planning process, or who have suggestions for the committee, may contact the Strategic Planning Committee Chair.