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29th Annual Elder Law Institute


Speaker(s): Coco Culhane, Douglas J. Chu, Jeffrey G. Abrandt, Kevin H. Cohen, Rebekah Diller, Roberta K. Flowers
Recorded on: Mar. 22, 2017
PLI Program #: 185779

Coco Culhane is the founder and director of the Veteran Advocacy Project at the Urban Justice Center. The Veteran Advocacy Project provides free legal services to low- income veterans and their families with a focus on individuals living with Post Traumatic Stress, Traumatic Brain injury, and substance use disorders.

Culhane is also an adjunct professor of clinical law at Brooklyn Law School, where she teaches the Veterans’ Rights Clinic. She sits on Senator Gillibrand’s Service Academy Selection Committee, a panel that makes recommendations for the senator’s academy nominations, and she is a founding advisor to the NYC Veterans Alliance. From 2011-2013 she was an Equal Justice Works Fellow sponsored by the Cigna Foundation and Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP.  She was formerly on the Steering Committee of the Veterans’ Mental Health Coalition and chaired the Communications Committee in New York City for two years.

Culhane has presented on veterans’ legal issues and conducted trainings for attorneys, social workers, and students at conferences across the country. She received a J.D. from Brooklyn Law School, where she was the symposium editor of the Brooklyn Law Review and president of the student health law association. In 2014, she received the school’s inaugural Rising Star Award. Prior to law school she was an editor at The New Republic for six years. She received a B.A. in English from Wesleyan University.


Jeffrey G. Abrandt is a partner at Goldfarb Abrandt Salzman & Kutzin, LLP.  He practices primarily in the areas of Elder Law, Health Law, Trusts and Estates, Guardianships, and with the rights of the elderly and disabled. For the first third of his career, Jeffrey was a public interest attorney focusing on government benefits and the legal problems of the elderly and disabled.  After close to a decade, as Attorney-In-Charge of the Legal Aid Society’s Brooklyn Office for the Aging, he left public interest law. Currently Jeffrey is also an Adjunct Professor at Hoftra University School of Law where he teaches Elder Law.  Since 2002, he has served as Co-Chair of the Elder Law Institute, an annual program for attorneys practicing elder law by the Practicing Law Institute.  Jeffrey has published numerous articles in the Practicing Law Institute’s Course Handbook Series as well as the Brookdale Institute’s Entitlement and Advocacy Training pamphlet series.  He is a frequent lecturer in Elder Law for various groups including the New York State Bar Associations, as well as other local bar associations.  He is a perennial “Best Lawyers” in New York and has also been named a “Super Lawyer.”


Roberta K. Flowers is a Professor of Law at Stetson University College of Law and the Co-Director of the Center for Excellence in Elder Law.  She also serves as the Editor of the International Journal on Aging, Law and Policy at Stetson.  Professor Flowers teaches ethics in an elder law practice in the Elder Law LL.M. program.   She also teaches evidence, criminal procedure, and professional responsibility.  She has served as the Director of the Center for Excellence in Advocacy Center and as the William Reece Smith, Jr. Distinguished Professor in Professionalism.  During her time at Stetson, Professor Flowers has received the University level award for Excellence in Teaching, an Award for Most Inspirational Teacher from the Student Bar Association and an award from the SBA for Supporting the Life of the Students.  She also received the University level Homer and Dolly Hand Award for Excellence in Scholarship.  She has also been awarded the Dean’s Award for Extraordinary Service and she has been awarded the Distinguished Service Award four times.  In 2005, The Florida Supreme Court awarded Professor Flowers the Faculty Professionalism Award.

She has lectured throughout the United States and internationally in the area of Ethics.  Professor Flowers produced a series of educational videos on the ethical issues faced by Prosecuting Attorneys which won a Telly Award for Excellence in Educational Films.  Along with Professor Rebecca Morgan, she created a set of videos depicting ethical dilemmas faced by elder law attorneys, which have been used throughout the United States to train attorneys. The Florida Supreme Court awarded Professors Morgan and Flowers the Florida Supreme Court Professionalism Award for their work on these videos. Additionally, with Professor Morgan, Professor Flowers designed the first “elder friendly courtroom” in the nation, which is a model of the important considerations that should be made when creating courtrooms of the future. 

Before coming to Stetson, Professor Flowers worked as a prosecutor both in the state and federal system. She began her career in 1984 as a deputy district attorney for the Eighteenth Judicial District of Colorado, where she served as a trial attorney in the criminal division. In 1989, she was appointed assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Florida, where she served in the Appellate Division, the Major Crimes Unit and the Public Corruption Unit.

Professor Flowers graduated magna cum laude from Baylor University in 1979 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology. She received her Juries Doctorate from the University of Colorado in 1984, where she was selected to be a member of the Order of the Coif.

Professor Flowers’ research interests revolve around the issues of ethics and professionalism. Professor Flowers’ articles have appeared in such journals as the Fordham Law Review, the Boston College Law Review, Missouri Law Review, the Nebraska Law Review, the Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law, Hastings Constitutional Law Quarterly, the Stetson Law Review, and the NAELA Journal.  She is a co-author with Professor Rebecca Morgan of the ABA published book Ethics and the Practice of Elder Law.

Professor Flowers is active in several professional associations.  She is currently on the Board of Directors for the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA).  She is also on the Board of Directors for Gulfcoast Legal Services and Impact Pinellas.  She will begin a three-year term in October, 2014 serving on the 6th Circuit Grievance Committee.  She has served on numerous committees of the Florida Bar including the Professional Ethics Committee, the Evidence Committee and the Standing Committee on Professionalism.  She is currently the chair of the Professionalism Sub-Committee of the Litigation Section’s Ethics and Professionalism Committee of the American Bar Association.


Mr. Chu has been involved with the area of Elder Law since 1990.  Before joining the firm he was the Senior Staff Attorney for the Brookdale Center on Aging of Hunter College from 1990 to 1999, where he specialized in Medicaid eligibility and government entitlements. From 1995 to 1999, Mr. Chu was also the attorney in charge of the Evelyn Frank Legal Resources Program at Selfhelp Community Services, Inc. ; known for his speaking skills, Mr. Chu has been an invited speaker/presenter at the New York State Bar Association Elder Law Programs in 2003, 2006, 2009, 2010 and 2011.

EDUCATION:

  • RUTGERS UNIVERSITY SCHOOL Of Law -Camden : J.D.1987 with an Honors Degree in International Law  {Law Review Staff Member} 
  • UNIVERSITY OF VERMONT - B.A. 1981.

Mr. Chu has been an Adjunct Professor at CUNY Law School and Long Island University, where he taught Elder Law related courses.  He is a respected lecturer on government entitlements and presents a monthly lecture series on applying for Medicaid home care at the Alzheimer's Association of New York City.  Mr. Chu is a regular speaker for the National Constitution Center Audio Conference Series, which provides continuing legal education to attorneys nationally.  Mr. Chu is the current Co-Chair of the New York City Citywide Medicaid Advisory Council . He is the author and editor of  the chapter "Medicaid for the Elderly, Blind and Disabled", found in The New York Elder Law Handbook published annually by the Practicing Law Institute of New York, where he is also a member of their faculty and current Co-Chair of their Annual Elder Law Institute.    Mr. Chu is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and the New York State Bar Association Elder Law Section. He is admitted to practice in New York, New Jersey (inactive) and Washington, D.C. (inactive).  Before entering the field of Elder Law, Mr. Chu was involved in the area of White Collar Criminal defense work in Washington, D.C.


Kevin has extensive experience representing individual and corporate clients in all aspects of estate planning and administration. He routinely drafts complex estate plans and all documents relating to the administration of estates including the preparation of federal and state gift and estate tax returns and fiduciary income tax returns. His practice includes defending those returns on audit.

Kevin counsels families in estate planning, long term asset protection, retirement planning, charitable giving, tax, Medicaid and related elder law matters.  He is also skilled in conducting litigation matters including objections to accountings, construction proceedings and contested probates. Kevin has served as an expert witness in intricate trusts and estates and tax litigation.

Kevin was recently listed in Westchester Magazine as one of the top 25 attorneys in Westchester County.  In addition, he was the recipient of the prestigious Westchester Business Council Forty Under Forty award. Kevin served as an assistant adjunct professor at New York University's Center for Finance, Law and Taxation where he taught Federal Income Taxation of Trusts and Estates. He frequently participates as a panelist and featured lecturer for numerous continuing legal education seminars sponsored by the New York State Bar Association and other organizations.

Kevin was a co-chair of the Trusts and Estates Section of the Westchester County Bar Association and serves as the 9th judicial district representative to the New York State Bar Association’s Trusts and Estates Section. He has been recognized in the Metro area Super Lawyers in the Trusts & Estates category and has also been named a Five Star Professional Wealth Manager Award Winning Trusts and Estates attorney.

Kevin received his law degree from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law (J.D., 1995) and graduated, cum laude, from the State University of New York at Albany (B.S., Business Administration, Concentration in Finance, 1992). He is admitted to practice law in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. Memberships: New York State Bar Association, Westchester County Bar Association.


Rebekah Diller is a Clinical Associate Professor of Law at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law where she co-directs the Bet Tzedek Civil Litigation Clinic, which represents older adults and persons with disabilities in a range of civil matters.  She previously launched and directed Cardozo’s Guardianship Clinic, which represented clients in all aspects of adult guardianship, with a particular focus on developing alternatives to guardianship.  Prior to joining Cardozo, Professor Diller was Deputy Director of the Justice Program at the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law, where she also served as an Adjunct Clinical Professor of Law. At the Brennan Center, Diller spearheaded research, advocacy and litigation to expand access to justice for low-income families. Previously, she was as an attorney at the New York Civil Liberties Union, Housing Works and Legal Services for the Elderly in Queens. Diller has testified before committees in both houses of Congress and her work has been featured in the New York TimesUSA TodayNewsweek and many other outlets.  Diller is a magna cum laude graduate of NYU School of Law.