RJ Connelly III Recipient of Elite Lawyer Award
by Don Drake, Connelly Law Offices, Ltd.
For the second consecutive year, certified elder law Attorney RJ Connelly III is the recipient of the Elite Lawyer Award in Elder Law. Elite Lawyer is a directory and rating service that awards and recognizes attorneys who have displayed a prominent level of competence in their practice and have received acknowledgment from their peers, the community, bar associations, and select legal and/or ethics committees. Elite Lawyer uses a multi-phased selection process so that every attorney who is a member and considered for honors is extraordinarily experienced and displays a superior level of competence in their area of practice.
How Elite Lawyer Makes Their Choices
Attorneys eligible for this honor must be nominated by a peer in the field or the Advisory Panel of Elite Lawyer and must have displayed superiority in their area of practice, showing a continued commitment to the legal profession and to the communities that they serve. After being selected, the Advisory Panel then reviews and rates each attorney's legal history, reputation among peers and the courts in which they practice, recognition, and the experience they bring to the table.
The Award Criterion
The award criterion requires that all attorneys who attain the level of Elite Lawyer and earn a nomination for the prestigious award are required to meet an extremely demanding set of criteria. The award criterion requires the following:
The Attorney must hold a membership with a nationally or locally recognized legal association or firm.
Have attained honors, results, or credentials that indicate a high degree of peer recognition and/or professional competence.
Have a lengthy amount of legal experience.
Have maintained a clean record.
Have a history of high-profile cases or favorable settlements that display a commitment to both the legal profession and the clients and communities that they serve.
Attorneys who receive these awards are considered thought-leaders in their areas of expertise and are dedicated to protecting the rights and best interests of their clients and do everything they can to achieve positive results in every case. The end objective of this process is to provide a credible, comprehensive, and competent resource for consumers who are looking for the absolute best in the legal field.
A Closer Look at the Process
Step 1 - The Nomination Process
The nomination process is designed to help the Advisory Panel at Elite Lawyer in finding high-quality attorneys who may be eligible for the Elite Lawyer Award. Because attorneys are prohibited from nominating themselves or campaigning their peers to receive nominations, our system is designed to filter out those who attempt to "game" the system and will disqualify any attorneys suspected of doing so. Attorneys may enter the Elite Lawyer nomination pool through:
Third-party resources and feedback
Nomination from the Elite Lawyer Advisory Panel
Step 2 - The Review and Evaluation Process
The Elite Lawyer Advisory Panel reviews, rates, and evaluates attorneys based on their legal history, experience, and reputation to ensure they are Elite Lawyer material. Gathered from a variety of resources, including both online and print publications and databases, some of these factors carry more weight than others. Additional attorneys may also be discovered by our Advisory Panel during this phase. The Award's criteria are based upon several indicators of professional achievement, reputation, commitment to community, and legal competence, including:
Settlements and verdicts
National or local honors and/or awards
Special licensing, credentials, and certification
Service/commitment to their community
Service/commitment to the legal profession as a whole
Memberships and positions held
Years in practice
Position held within a law firm
Any additional achievements or experience deemed relative by the Advisory Panel
Step 3 - Award and Recognition
Due to a limited number of awards, only a small percentage of nominated attorneys make it to the final selection and receive recognition. Award-winning attorneys come from firms of diverse sizes, practice in a wide array of legal areas, and are located all throughout the nation.
Exceptional attorneys who are selected for the Elite Lawyer Award are recognized through a directory listing on the Elite Lawyer website. Our comprehensive directory sets these award-winning legal professionals apart from their peers, and it is designed to serve as a quick and easy-to-use search tool to give consumers peace of mind in knowing that the attorney they find in the directory has the credibility and experience they are looking for in a legal advocate.
Community commitment is a significant consideration in the award and is a cornerstone of Attorney Connelly's practice. Connelly Law Offices Ltd.’s philosophy is to give back in ways that make a meaningful difference in our community. Attorney Connelly and his staff are deeply committed to this principle and approach community education and training with the same level of energy, drive, integrity, and innovative thinking as manifested in their elder law practice.
"I learned this concept from watching my father, an attorney and a judge, and his own contribution to public service," said Attorney Connelly. "Doing good for others always helps to center me, understanding that there is a larger purpose and deeper meaning in life for all of us. Being connected to each other as humans and helping to educate others is a privilege. Learning occurs on multiple levels, meaning that all of us have something to give back, no matter what we do in life."
Connelly Law offers free financial, legal, and health in-service presentations for seniors, families of seniors, and those who provide care for seniors for the following organizations:
Employers providing Retirement Planning for employees
Senior Living Communities
Assisted Living Facilities and Nursing Homes
Organizations working with Seniors and Families
The office also offers quarterly estate planning and elder law workshops at its Pawtucket location. Dates are announced either in the blog or on the website.
Why Did He Choose Elder Law?
When Attorney Connelly first entered the practice with his father, he immediately decided that he wanted to specialize in elder law. "I would see a significant number of clients come in to see my dad with elder law issues that many others in the legal field were unable to help them with," he said. "I knew this was a group who needed someone dedicated to their specific needs and not someone who did this as an adjunct to their regular practice."
According to Attorney Connelly, "being an elder law attorney means that we must have current working knowledge of many areas of the law, including estate planning, asset protection, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), veterans’ benefits, long-term healthcare insurance, guardianship, special needs trusts and disability planning, probate, trust administration, elder abuse, and elder exploitation, nursing home discharge issues, patient rights, retirement benefits, health law, and mental health law. It's an extensive list of requirements but remember, we are dealing with seniors who have issues and concerns that may span over decades, so planning can be complex."
Attorney Connelly also pointed out that the specialty of elder law does not always involve seniors. "When we are putting together a special needs trust, it can be for anyone from a child to a senior. In such cases, all family members are part of the discussion and solution-seeking for the loved one with special needs," Attorney Connelly stated.
He is also not an attorney who doesn't venture outside his office. "Our primary office is in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, but I have satellite offices in Mystic, Connecticut, and East Chop, Massachusetts in which I visit clients as scheduled," said Attorney Connelly. "Also, my role as an elder law attorney means that I go to hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living communities, and clients’ homes on a regular basis. If a client can’t get to me for health or other reasons, I will go to them. I often find that meeting a person in their own home makes a difficult conversation just a little bit easier."
Finally, Attorney Connelly has earned the title of certified elder law attorney. According to the website Find Law, "A certified specialist in elder law is an attorney who has received specific training in elder law issues, has practiced in that field for a certain amount of time, and has been certified as highly qualified in elder law by their State Bar or by another accrediting organization. With their specialized training and practice in elder law, along with the additional resources available to them, certified elder law attorneys can be expected to understand the current state of elder law in their jurisdiction and to offer an expert level of representation to their clients."
Once again, we offer our congratulations to Attorney RJ Connelly III and his staff on being awarded the 2022 Elite Lawyer Award in Elder Law.