Rebecca Morgan wins national elder law award

The Powley Elder Law Award, given to someone who has demonstrated commitment to promote greater understanding of rights and needs of older adults and people with disabilities.

The National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) announced that Stetson Law’s own Professor Rebecca C. Morgan is the winner of the 2020 Powley Elder Law Award.

The award is presented annually to a NAELA member who is recognized in his or her community as a leader in promoting a greater understanding of the rights and needs of the elderly and people with special needs, and of how elder law attorneys advocate for those rights.

Professor Rebecca Morgan.
Professor Rebecca Morgan

“I’m not usually at a loss for words, but when I got the call that I had been picked as the recipient, I have to say, I was at a loss for words,” Morgan said.

NAELA organizers pointed to a number of reasons Morgan was selected for this year’s distinction.

She was an elder law attorney before it was a specialty and founded the Center for Excellence in Elder Law at Stetson University College of Law. She created an elder law curriculum for JD students, many of whom have gone into the field.

Morgan has held many leadership roles during her career, has been recognized by the U.S. Supreme Court for founding the Penick Inns of Court for Elder Law, and is a valued speaker domestically and internationally.

Her many accomplishments are of less importance, they said, than the fact that she walks-the-walk, giving not only of her knowledge, but her time and resources to seniors in St. Petersburg, Fla., where she lives. She and her husband, Jay, were given the keys to the City of St. Petersburg for service and contributions to elders. They recently constructed a model apartment adjacent to their home, which is a prototype for home living for compromised seniors who want to remain home but lack the assistive features that would allow them to do so.

Morgan was also the impetus behind the country’s first age-friendly courtroom at Stetson Law. It was designed specifically with the needs of elderly people in mind, including thoughtful features such as color schemes designed to enhance the vision of elders and rounded corners on all tables and desks. In 2007, Morgan began an online LL.M. program in elder law that enables professionals to enhance their legal education. 

“She is not a board member for accolades, she is an active participant whose special talent is to connect people to people, people to organizations, and organizations to organizations – all for the purpose of improving the lives of seniors in an amazing variety of ways. Becky Morgan is the most innovative, proactive, responsible, and caring individual I’ve ever known, and there is no more deserving Powley Award recipient.”

Mary Alice Jackson, the person who nominated Rebecca Morgan for the award

For Morgan, it is all part of her lifelong effort to provide specialized legal services to the elderly —- a calling that she says is still critical.

“Now, more than ever, it is so important for attorneys to do the good work in elder law.”

The Powley Elder Law Award was established in the memory of Wes and Helen Powley, grandparents of NAELA member Timothy L. Takacs, of Hendersonville, Tenn. Both Wes and Helen were active in civic affairs for all of their lives, and Wes practiced dentistry well into his 80s. The award is funded by a grant from the Takacs Family Foundation.

Watch Professor Morgan’s Powley Award acceptance video.


Members of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) are attorneys who are experienced and trained in working with the legal problems of aging Americans and individuals of all ages with disabilities. Upon joining, NAELA member attorneys agree to adhere to the NAELA Aspirational Standards. Established in 1987, NAELA is a non-profit association that assists lawyers, bar organizations, and others. The mission of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys is to educate, inspire, serve, and provide community to attorneys with practices in elder and special needs law. NAELA currently has members across the United States, Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom. For more information, visit, or to locate a NAELA member in your area, visit