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31st Annual Elder Law Institute

Speaker(s): Allison J. Busch, Douglas J. Chu, Jeffrey G. Abrandt, Jeremy S. Garber, Michelle Spadafore, Timothy C. O'Rourke
Recorded on: Mar. 20, 2019
PLI Program #: 251582

Allison J. Busch is a partner at the law firm of Hartmann, Doherty, Rosa, Berman & Bulbulia, based in River Edge, NJ, and with offices in Manhattan and Short Hills, NJ. Ms. Busch practices in the areas of Elder Law, Estate Planning and Estate Administration. Ms. Busch works with clients on a range of issues including long-term care planning, Medicaid planning, guardianships, general estate and tax planning, estate administration and planning for disabled children and adults, both in New York and in New Jersey.

Ms. Busch began her elder law career in public interest law. After graduating from New York University School of Law, Ms. Busch began a one-year fellowship at the Council of Senior Centers and Services (CSCS) where she authored a paper entitled "The Impact of Welfare Reform on Elderly of New York City," which was published by the Practising Law Institute. Following this Fellowship, Ms. Busch founded the Elder Law Project at Queens Legal Services Corporation where she provided legal assistance to seniors, many of them homebound immigrants, in obtaining government benefits.

In 1999, Ms. Busch began her private practice of Elder Law and Trusts and Estates at the boutique firm of Freedman, Fish & Grimaldi in New York City. After leaving Freedman Fish & Grimaldi, Ms. Busch started her own practice in Northern New Jersey and also served as Counsel to the law firm of Busch and Busch LLP, based in North Brunswick, NJ. She also worked as an associate for Mazur Carp & Rubin in New York City.

Ms. Busch lives in South Orange, NJ with her husband and three children.


New York University School of Law, JD 1996
Tufts University BA cum laude 1991


New Jersey 1996
New York   1997

Jeffrey G. Abrandt is of counsel at Raphan Law,  Prior to joining Raphan Law, Jeff was a partner at Goldfarb Abrandt Salzman 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 the Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra 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 Practising Law Institute.  Jeffrey has published numerous articles in the Practising 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” and “Super Lawyer”.

Michelle Spadafore is the Senior Supervising Attorney and Project Director of NYLAG’s Disability Advocacy Project (DAP). DAP provides advice, advocacy and/or full representation in Social Security appeals, terminations and overpayments. Michelle was previously a staff attorney at the AIDS Center of Queens County, a community-based nonprofit organization that provides services to people living with HIV/AIDS. Her background includes Social Security, access to public benefits and health care, and consumer credit issues. Michelle graduated Phi Beta Kappa from University of California, Berkeley and magna cum laude from New York Law School.

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 New York State Bar Association Sponsored Programs in 2003, 2006, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2014 and 2019. 


  • RUTGERS UNIVERSITY SCHOOL Of Law -Camden : J.D.1987 with an Honors Degree in International Law and member of the Law Review Staff  

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 since 1998 has presented a monthly lecture series on applying for Medicaid home care at Caringkind (formerly known as 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 has been the Chair of the New York City Citywide Medicaid Advisory Council since 1995 . 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 Practising 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 an associate attorney at Dunnells, Duvall, Bennett & Porter in Washington, D.C. from 1987 to 1989 where he focused on White Collar Criminal defense work.

Tim O’Rourke is managing partner at O'Rourke Seaman LLP, a family-run law firm focusing primarily on Elder Law, Estate Planning, Wills, Trusts and Estates. Tim received his JD from Yale Law School in 1985 and served as a law clerk for the Hon. Caleb M. Wright in the U.S. District Court in Wilmington, Delaware. He then worked for the Hon. Robert M. Morgenthau for 8½ years as an Assistant District Attorney in Manhattan. He joined his dad, John P. O’Rourke, in private practice in 1995.

Tim currently serves as the elected Village Justice for the Village of Roslyn Harbor, NY and has served as Chair of the Glen Cove Historic Preservation Commission and as a member of the Glen Cove Community Development Agency. He sings in the adult choir, is a member of the finance committee and has served as a trustee of St. Patrick’s R.C. Church in Glen Cove.

Tim is Past Commodore of the Sea Cliff Yacht Club (his term having ended two days before Sandy) and is the founder and principal baker at Peggy’s Cove Bread Company, which specializes in handmade artisan bread and authentic Bavarian-style soft pretzels. He was a founding co-owner of Eastline Productions Ltd., a small theater company in Wantagh, NY. Tim has seen Hamilton five times and has tickets to see it again in May 2019.

Tim is a member of the National Association of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA), serves on the Executive Committee of the Elder Law and Special Needs Section and is a member of the Trust and Estate’s section of the New York State Bar Association. His practice areas include Elder Law, Sophisticated Estate Planning, Probate, Estate and Trust Administration and Estate Litigation.

Tim is admitted to practice law in New York and California.

Jeremy S. Garber is Special Trial Attorney at the Attorney Grievance Committee for the First Judicial Department, where he has been a staff attorney since 1990.  He received his Bachelor’s degree from Washington University in St. Louis in 1975, his Master’s in Middle Eastern Languages from Columbia University in 1981 and his law degree in May, 1985 from the University of Michigan.  Thereafter, he worked for two years in the corporate department of Schulte, Roth & Zabel and two years in the legal department of the American Jewish Congress.

Mr. Garber was the Committee’s staff attorney in disciplinary cases involving a range of attorney misconduct or infirmity: Matter of Kavanagh, 189 AD2d 521 (1st Dept 1993)(ethnic slurs against opposing counsel in civil litigation);  Matter of Colp, 185 AD2d 43 (1st Dept 1993)(real estate attorney suffering from paranoid delusions); Matter of Freedman, 208 AD2d 325(1st Dept 1995) (large scale neglect and deceit in immigration practice);  Matter of Wong, 275 AD2d 1 (1st Dept 2000)(sexual abuse of minor by law student prior to his admission to the Bar); Matter of Weinstein, 4 AD3d 29 (1st Dept 2004)(deceit and double billing in guardianship proceedings); Matter of Boter, 46 AD3d 1 (1st Dept 2007)(personal injury lawyer paying non-lawyers for client referrals, settling cases without clients’ consent, forging and falsely notarizing client signatures);  Matter of Larsen, 50 AD3d 41 (1st Dept 2008)(matrimonial attorney engaging in conflicts of interest and gross over billing); Matter of Shearer, 94 AD3d 128 (1st Dept 2012) (medical malpractice attorney deceitfully attempting to breach his legal fee agreement with co-counsel.); Matter of Meyers, 108 AD3d 158 (1st Dept 2013)(immigration attorney neglecting clients’ cases and then deceptively providing them with false USCIS filing and receipt numbers from unrelated cases.); Matter of Teichberg, 121 AD3d 319 (1st Dept 2014) (collection attorney, who is discharged by his creditor client, continuing to collect from the debtor and misappropriating the funds as claimed legal fees.); Matter of Schnall, 146 AD3d 81 (1st Dept 2016)(attorney failed to file and pay state and federal income tax for almost ten years, claiming that income earned in the practice of law was not taxable.); Matter of Marshall, 153 AD3d 1 (1st Dept 2017)(attorney who missed filing deadline, misrepresented to client and Committee that he had settled the case.)