Karen L. Nicolson

Chief Executive Officer
Karen L. Nicolson, Esq. has been CEO of Center for Elder Law and Justice for the past sixteen years. She feels privileged to support its mission to utilize the legal system to help our clients live independently and with dignity. In addition to direct civil legal services, CELJ is a trustee for the Western New York Coalition Pooled Trust for disabled persons in Western New York. Ms. Nicolson supervises the management of the Western New York Coalition Pooled Trust and works with its board and fellow trustees to help set policy and investment strategy. She frequently lectures on elder abuse, pooled trust and elder law issues. Ms. Nicolson is the winner of the 2016 Denison Ray Legal Services Director Award, was named a National Federation for Just Communities Leader in 2010, named in 2015 & 2016 to Buffalo Business First’s Legal Elite and was the 2015 The Amherst Senior Citizen’s Foundation Senior Community Leader. Prior to becoming CEO, Ms. Nicolson was a staff attorney with CELJ for eleven years; before that, she worked briefly at the Legal Aid Bureau of Buffalo. She currently serves on the Governor’s Advisory Committee on Aging, the New York State Bar Association’s Committee on Legal Aid, and the Town of Amherst Senior Services Advisory Board. She is a member of the Erie County Age Friendly Initiative, a collaboration with Erie County Senior Services, AARP, and the Center for Inclusive Design at SUNY Buffalo. In addition, she serves on the Elder Justice Working Group through the NYS Unified Court System under the leadership of Judge Deborah Kaplan, Statewide Coordinating Judge for Family Violence Cases. Ms. Nicolson graduated from the SUNY Buffalo School of Law. Ms. Nicolson lives in Amherst, New York with her husband, Thomas Smith, and their daughter, Haley.