njsbf new jersey state bar foundation logo a 501c3 non profit organization

Informed Citizens

are Better Citizens

Part of the New Jersey State Bar Foundation’s mission is to educate New Jersey residents on the law and legal system. To achieve this mission, the NJSBF works with other organizations to sponsor law-related conferences and publications to help people of all ages and walks of life understand the laws that can influence their everyday lives.

The Foundation believes that two key populations—senior citizens and people with disabilities—are among the many groups that can benefit from a committed focus on educating and informing.

Supporting the aging population

In 1995, the Foundation held its first Senior Citizens’ Law Day conference where attorneys and experts provided practical information on aging issues, aspects of elder law, geriatric care management and more. Since then, the Foundation has worked with the Elder and Disability Law Section of the New Jersey State Bar Association to hold the half-day conference that addresses current and important topics for this population.

Mark Friedman, former chair of the NJBSA Elder and Disability Law Section and coordinator of Senior Citizens’ Law Day said: “As the senior population continues to grow so does the need to provide useful information on legal topics that affect them. Senior Law Day conference attendees come away with a better understanding of many topics—including estate planning, wills, trusts, taxes, long-term care, safeguarding against scams and more. It is rewarding to serve this community.

Another useful resource, Law Points for Senior Citizens, originally prepared by the Elder and Disability Law Section with funding and support from the Foundation, answers law-related questions of special interest to senior citizens. Since its launch, hundreds of copies have been ordered by senior citizens and attorneys practicing elder law. Free copies of this guide are available for order from the Foundation.

Reaching people with disabilities

Since 1989, the Foundation has partnered with the Community Health Law Project (CHLP) to cosponsor, coordinate and present the Law & Disability Conference. Held annually at the New Jersey Law Center, this free, half-day conference focuses on important issues impacting people with disabilities, such as health care and housing. Attendees include people with disabilities, family members, service providers and advocates. To reach more members of this community, the Foundation introduced a virtual option in 2021.

“The Foundation has been instrumental in helping us build a network of individuals and organizations who share the goal of bettering lives of individuals who suffer from disabilities and chronic illness. The Law and Disability Conference reaches hundreds. Expert panelists educate attendees on topics that are of vital importance and enable us to serve clients and community members we might not otherwise reach,” said Erika Kerber, president and executive director of CHLP.

The Foundation also provides free publications to help explain laws that affect people with disabilities. The Foundation’s Disability Law: A Legal Primer was created by the Essex County Bar Association, with financial support from the Foundation. It is a free booklet that can be downloaded or ordered from the Foundation. 

To order Disability Law: A Legal Primer, Law Points for Senior Citizens or other publications, visit njsbf.org.

To register for upcoming conferences visit: njsbf.org/events/

  • Law & Disability Conference—May 4, 9 a.m.–1 p.m.
  • Senior Citizens’ Law Day—June 7, 9:30 a.m.–Noon

Originally published March 20, 2023
Bar Report of the New Jersey State Bar Association