Critchfield, Critchfield & Johnston is pleased to announce that associate Nicole M. Hawks has successfully completed the examination process required by the Ohio State Bar Association (OSBA) for certification as a specialist in Elder Law.
Hawks is an associate with the firm’s Estate Planning and Elder Law practices. She has extensive experience working with seniors and their families to address the myriad concerns of older Americans and has successfully completed the examination process to earn certification as a specialist in Elder Law from the National Elder Law Foundation (NELF) in addition to her OSBA certification. She is one of only 38 attorneys in the State of Ohio to have earned the NELF certification. Hawks assists clients in estate and retirement planning, powers of attorney, and Medicaid planning strategies, as well as working with Veterans in navigating VA pension benefit programs.
Hawks is a frequent speaker on elder law issues and presents informative seminars regularly to local organizations that represent the concerns of seniors, as well as to retirement and senior communities across Northeast and Central Ohio. Hawks earned her law degree from Capital University Law School in Columbus, Ohio, and her B.A. from Ohio University, where she graduated cum laude.
“Attorneys who pursue certification in an area of law demonstrate a commitment to professional excellence,” said Ohio Bar 2022-23 President Judge Dean Wilson. “Through rigorous study and examination, our latest class of certified specialists have gained a credential that places them in high esteem among their colleagues and clients. Congratulations to them on this wonderful accomplishment.”
Attorneys seeking certification must satisfy several criteria: demonstrate substantial and continuing involvement in a particular field of law, meaning they must devote at least 25 percent of their practice to that area of law; submit five professional references attesting to their competency in the specialty area; have earned a minimum of 36 hours of intermediate or advanced continuing legal education (CLE) credits in the specialty area during the past three years as part of the CLE hours required of all attorneys; pass a written examination; prove financial responsibility by maintaining minimum professional liability insurance coverage and remain in good standing with the Supreme Court of Ohio. Each certified specialist must file annual reports attesting to compliance with program requirements and must be recertified every six years by meeting all of the original requirements for certification except the written examination.