Fern has been selected by the Courts, as well as by family members, to serve as the appointed Guardian and/or Trustee for many individuals in need of personal needs and property management.  She represents clients in all aspects of guardianship proceedings and has been appointed as Counsel and as Court Evaluator by the New York State Supreme Court in countless cases. She has helped thousands of seniors through her extensive community outreach and pro bono services on behalf of the indigent elderly of New York City.  Fern spearheaded the Legal Education and Assistance Project, known as LEAP, at the Brooklyn Bar Association Volunteer Lawyers Project.  LEAP’s mission is to train and support pro bono attorneys in providing community outreach and education on all aspects of advance planning to seniors, with the goal of maximizing their independence and ability to remain at home long term.

Fern is the Vice-Chair of the New York State Bar Association Elder Law and Special Needs Section, President-Elect of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) New York Chapter, Chair of the Brooklyn Bar Association Foundation Law Committee, Co-Facilitator of the Working Model of Guardianship - WINGS (Working Interdisciplinary Network of Guardianship Stakeholders), a Special Master of the Appellate Division Second Department Mandatory Civil Appeals Mediation Program, and Vice-Chair of the Brooklyn Bar Association Elder Law Committee.  She served for years as a volunteer certified mediator with Safe Horizons for community disputes, PINS cases, and custody matters, as well as with the United States District Court, Eastern District.

Fern lectures for various Bar Associations and Continuing Legal Education providers on topics including the Role of the Guardian, Role of the Court Evaluator, Role of the Attorney for the AIP, Advance Directives, Medicaid and Asset Protection, Aging in Place, Supplemental Needs Trusts, Guardianships, Planning During the Pandemic, and the New Power of Attorney.  She is a mentor attorney at the Brooklyn Law School HELP (Helping Elders Through Litigation and Policy) Clinic, the Touro Law School Externship Program, and the New York Law School Elder Law Clinic.  Fern serves on the Committees on Character and Fitness for the Second Judicial Department.

Fern has received numerous awards for her pro bono service including:  Selection as a 2019 “Champions of Justice: Women in Leadership in Law and Administration of Justice” Honoree by the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, the 2013 Brooklyn Bar Association Volunteer Lawyers Project Building Bridges Award, the 2013 Brooklyn Bar Association Distinguished Service Award, the 2009 Brooklyn Bar Association Distinguished Service Award, the 2004 Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York Hanna S. Cohn Pro Bono Award, the 2003 New York State Bar Association Pro Bono Award for the Second Judicial District, the 1999 Brooklyn Bar Association Volunteer Lawyers Project Pro Bono Award, the 1996 Brooklyn Bar Association Frieda S. Nisnewitz Award for Pro Bono Service, and received an Award of Merit from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children 1997. 

Fern was previously an Associate Attorney at the law firm of Damashek, Godosky and Gentile, where she litigated medical malpractice and personal injury cases.

Fern J. Finkel, Esq. is a co-founding partner at Finkel & Fernandez, LLP, concentrating in elder law, estate planning, asset protection, benefits and guardianships. She has been in private practice since 1990. Fern brings a wealth of experience and compassion to her clients. She is known for her skillful analysis of financial and personal circumstances and for providing practical planning to enable seniors and disabled clients to remain independent through advance directives, asset protection, benefits planning and trusts.

Fern graduated with honors from New York University College of Business and Public Administration in 1981. She received her Juris Doctor Degree from Boston University School of Law in 1984.  She has been recognized as a New York Super Lawyers selectee in the field of Elder Law in 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020.

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