The Center for Elder Rights Advocacy (CERA) is a project of Elder Law of Michigan, Inc. (ELM). CERA provides technical assistance to state, regional, and local organizations in the design, implementation, administration, and evaluation of low-cost legal assistance delivery systems—primarily, senior legal helplines.

Established in 2008 and supported by a grant from the United States Administration on Aging, CERA works with a broad array of stakeholders to create and implement cost-effective legal service delivery systems that integrate seamlessly with legal and aging services. CERA recognizes and emphasizes the national importance of senior legal helplines for addressing significant numbers and types of legal and aging concerns of older adults and their caregivers. CERA provides technical assistance through trainings, resource material development, and direct consultations.

In addition to technical assistance to legal hotlines, CERA also provides professional services for organizations nationwide and work on many other projects, including elder abuse prevention efforts.

Elder Law of Michigan, Inc. (ELM), is  a nonprofit organization that promotes, protects, and advocates for the rights, health, housing, and economic well-being of vulnerable adults by providing information, legal advice, training and professional services. Individuals and their caregivers can make one call for help -- 866-400-9164 -- to Elder Law of Michigan!

Keith Morris

Keith Morris,
Director, Center for Elder Rights Advocacy (CERA)

Keith L. Morris, J.D., M.P.A., is President of Elder Law of Michigan. He has been a member of the Elder Law team since he started as a law student volunteer 15 years ago. Keith has held the positions of Community Liaison, Hotline Attorney, Managing Attorney, Assistant Project Director, and Project Director. He is still serving as the project director for the Center for Elder Rights Advocacy, a program that provides technical assistance and consulting services to other nonprofits.

Keith obtained his Juris Doctorate and Master of Public Administration from Western Michigan University. He was also a visiting professor for over 10 years at the law school, where he taught legal research and writing.

Mr. Morris serves on the Legal Services Association of Michigan, the Michigan Poverty Law Program Advisory Board, Access to Justice Initiatives, Blue Cross Blue Shield’s Senior Advisory Council, and Sixty-Plus Clinical Law Program’s Board of Directors.

Ellen Cheek,
Project Specialist, Center for Elder Rights Advocacy

Ellen Cheek has been a full-time attorney with the Florida Senior Legal Helpline at Bay Area Legal Services since 2006. She has provided civil legal advice and resolved legal problems for thousands of elderly Floridians during that time. Ellen’s interest in elder law issues began in 1975 when she was hired as the first staff attorney for Senior Advocates, a unit of the Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County, California. An honors graduate of Mount Holyoke College and the University of Santa Clara School of Law,Ellen is licensed to practice in Florida, California, and the District of Columbia.

Darling Garcia

Darling Garcia,
Project Specialist, Center for Elder Rights Advocacy

Darling A. Garcia is a Project Specialist at CERA. Darling holds a Bachelor of Political Science from the University of California, Los Angeles. She relocated to Michigan to attend Thomas M. Cooley Law School, where she graduated in 2003. In 2005, she received an L.L.M. in taxation from Wayne State University Law School.

Before joining the Elder Law Team, she was a staff attorney at the Legal Services of South Central Michigan, handling cases in the areas of family law, mortgage and tax foreclosure, elder law, housing law, consumer law, and public benefits. Prior to this, Darling started her own general practice, The Law Office of Darling A. Garcia, P.L.L.C. in Lansing, Michigan where she focused on criminal defense, family law, tax law, consumer and housing law. Before this, Darling was a judicial clerk for the Honorable Louise Alderson at the 54A District Court in Lansing, MI. Darling is the vice-chair of the Ingham County Housing Commission. She is a member of the State Bar of Michigan Character and Fitness Committee, and the Domestic Violence Committee. She represented Calhoun County as a member of the Representative Assembly in the Michigan State Bar from 2008 - 2013. She was an adjunct professor at Thomas M. Cooley Law School, where she taught Introduction to Law.

Michelle Goetz,
Project Coordinator, Center for Elder Rights Advocacy

Michelle Goetz is the Project Coordinator at Elder Law of Michigan. In her role, she oversees and coordinates technical assistance to legal hotlines across the United States. Under the supervision of licensed attorneys, she serves on the Legal Hotlines for Michigan Seniors, a program of ELM, she assists Michigan seniors on a wide-variety of areas, including estate planning, wills and trusts, Medicaid/Medicare, Social Security, and property issues.

Michelle holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from the University of Colorado at Boulder and a Masters of Sciences in Legal Administration from the University of Denver Sturm College of Law. She graduated with her Juris Doctor in 2015 from the Western Michigan University Cooley Law School.

She previously worked as a Project Coordinator at WMU-Cooley Law School. In this position, Michelle was instrumental in developing four booklets to be used as resources. These booklets are: power of attorney, trustee, conservator, and/or VA Fiduciary/ Social Security Representative Payee and they are designed to help prevent elder abuse throughout the state of Michigan by educating the public about financial exploitation.

Mary Haberland

Mary Haberland,
Project Specialist, Center for Elder Rights Advocacy

Mary Haberland manages the Centralized Telephone Intake (CTI) Unit at Bay Area Legal Services (BALS). She earned a business degree from the University of Wisconsin before graduating from the University of Nebraska College of Law. Since joining BALS in 1985, Mary has held a number of management positions, and has been a presenter at state and national conferences. In 2002 Mary developed BALS’ Legal Aid Line, a five-county telephone intake program. She also established and manages the Florida Senior Legal Helpline, a free statewide legal advice and referral helpline that has provided services to thousands of elderly Floridians since 2006.

Michael Walters

Mike Walters,
Project Specialist, Center for Elder Rights Advocacy

Mike Walters joined CERA in September 2014. Mike manages the Legal Hotline at Pro Seniors, Inc. in Cincinnati, Ohio. Pro Seniors is the statewide legal hotline for Ohio senior citizens. Mike consults with CERA on writing and presentations. Mike has been practicing law since 1991, and he is admitted to practice in the state of Ohio and the Commonwealth of Kentucky, as well as the Federal courts. Mike’s practice has always included an emphasis on Social Security issues.