For Immediate Release
June 17, 2022       
Contact: Susan Simolunas

NAELA Theresa Award Honors Elder Law Pioneer, Peter J. Strauss

Washington, DC —
The National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) is pleased to announce that Professor Peter J. Strauss was named the 2022 recipient of the NAELA Theresa Award, which recognizes the outstanding efforts made by individuals who go above and beyond in helping and advocating for people with special needs.

Established in 1992, the Theresa Foundation supports arts, music, dance, and recreational programs through grants to help children with special needs attain the highest level of educational, artistic, emotional, physical, and intellectual achievement possible. The Theresa Foundation was created by NAELA member attorney Vincent J. Russo, CELA, CAP, Fellow, and his wife, Susan, in honor of their daughter, Theresa, who was born severely disabled and passed away when she was just five and a half years old. This year’s honor is uniquely personal in that Professor Strauss had the special distinction of having met Theresa at two NAELA conferences -- once in 1990 and again in 1991. 

Well-known nationally as one of the pioneers who helped establish the field of elder law, Professor Strauss is also one of the founding members of NAELA and one of the first of four members to be elected as a NAELA Fellow in 1989 -- NAELA’s highest honor bestowed to a select group of members who have distinguished themselves both by making exceptional contributions to meeting the needs of older Americans and by demonstrating a commitment to the Academy. 

Professor Strauss is an adjunct professor of law at New York Law School, where he teaches elder law and aging in America and is the co-director and founder of the New York Law School’s Elder Law Clinic, which provides representation to persons for whom a guardianship is sought and serves as a court evaluator in guardianship proceedings. In January of 2019 the New York State Bar Association recognized his work and contributions to the community by awarding him its Attorney Professionalism Award, which is given to only one attorney in the state each year.

An extensively published author on elder law, Professor Strauss is the co-author of Aging and the Law, a treatise for professionals, and The Complete Retirement Survival Guide: Everything You Need to Know to Safeguard Your Money, Your Health, and Your Independence. He formerly wrote a column on “Law and Aging” for the New York Law Journal and now writes guest columns for that publication.

In honor of the award, a $5,000 grant will be given to the St. John School of the Arts in St. John, Virgin Islands, where Professor Strauss is an advisory board member. 

Established in 1987, the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) is the only national association of attorneys that conditions membership on a commitment to the Aspirational Standards for the Practice of Elder and Special Needs Law. Understanding that older adults and people with disabilities need holistic, person-centered legal services, NAELA’s nearly 4,000 members represent the diversity of practice. With a network including lawyers, judges, legal professors, law students, and others, we work to advance the dignity and independence of older adults, people with disabilities, and their families. Learn more at

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