Lisa Nachmias Davis
Davis O'Sullivan & Priest LLC - Attorneys at Law

Elder Law & Special Needs, Estate Planning & Probate,
Nonprofit Organizations

Davis O'Sullivan &
Priest LLC
129 Church Street

Suite 503
New Haven, CT

Tel: 203-776-4400  
Fax: 203-774-1060




I have practiced law for over twenty-five years.  My practice includes both planning for individuals (estate planning and administration, elder law, planning for those with disabilities) and -- although to a lesser extent -- advising nonprofit organizations. 

In the first category, planning for individuals:

  • I have been certified as a "Certified Elder Law Attorney" ("CELA") by the National Elder Law Foundation (important note:  such certification is not officially recognized in Connecticut, which does not yet recognize elder law as a "specialty"; click the link for more information on what this term means).
  • I am the co-author of The Elder Law Answer Book (updated annually by Wolters Kluwer), which covers a wide variety of estate planning, probate, and elder law topics in a useful Q&A Format. 
  • I am a frequent speaker on elder law/special needs and estate planning topics, both for professionals, and for community groups such as senior centers, the Alzheimer's Association, Shoreline Community Care (VNA), and local chapters of NAMI.
  • I have served on the Executive Committee of the Connecticut Bar Association Elder Law Section for over fifteen years, and serve on the Board of Directors of the Connecticut Chapter of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys. I'm active on the Public Policy/Legislation Committees of these organizations.  I'm also a member of the Special Needs Alliance, an invitation-only nonprofit organization dedicated to the practice of disability and public benefits law, where I do work on the Publications Committee and write articles for the Voice.
  • To improve public knowledge in these areas, I maintain this website, contribute to the consumer website maintained by Connecticut Legal Services, and host a listserv for elder law attorneys in Connecticut.  I also created the original website of the Agency on Aging of South Central Connecticut, where I served on the Board of Directors from 2003-2008.  From 2009 - 2012 I served on the board of directors of the Connecticut Chapter of National Alliance on Mental Illness
I have represented individuals of very modest means as well as those with multimillion dollar estates.  My clients include middle class families, including those with special needs children, wealthy individuals seeking to reduce estate taxes through life insurance trusts, bypass trusts, and other techniques, disabled individuals trying to access benefits and/or cope with inheritances or proceeds of litigation, individuals in nursing homes (and their families) who must apply for Medicaid or develop a strategy to preserve family assets without jeopardizing future eligibility, executors dealing with probate requirements and tax filing obligations, and trustees who need guidance on the administration of special needs or other trusts.  I try to help indigent clients as well, especially those who don't qualify for Legal Aid services, by pro bono, reduced-rate or flat-fee representation, through Probate Court appointments, and by providing information over the phone and through this website.  

In the second category, advising nonprofit organizations,  I am less active than before, but believe I can still be helpful.  In this area:

  • I have been, but am not currently, a member of the Connecticut Bar Association and American Bar Association Tax Sections.
  • Since 1998, I was a Visiting Clinical Lecturer in Law at the Yale Law School, where I was a co-director of the Yale Law School Nonprofit Organization Law Clinic, helping hundreds of students help hundreds of new nonprofit organizations get their start.  The Clinic is no longer operating.
  • Through my web pages, still try to give organizations and those who want to help them as much "do-it-yourself" guidance as possible.  My articles in this area include "How to Stay Out of Trouble Under the Excess Benefit Rules," published in Connecticut Lawyer magazine; and "Remember Your Fractions:  The Public Support Test," published on this website and based on materials used in the Yale clinic's curriculum. 
While I'm particularly interested in helping groups that do advocacy work, my clients have included professional associations, private foundations, supporting organizations, community foundations, churches and synagogues, advocacy groups, and numerous small publicly supported organizations just starting out or needing help with governance or tax compliance issues.  I also serve on the board of the directors of the Meriden Land Trust.

I started my own practice in January, 2006, after being a partner in the firm of Tyler, Cooper & Alcorn.  Other past associations have included Robinson & Cole, in Hartford, and Cummings & Lockwood, in New Haven.  In 2009, my friends and colleagues Shawn L. O'Sullivan and Kathy K. Priest  joined with me to establish our new firm, Davis O'Sullivan & Priest LLC.

In 2011, 2012 and 2013, and probably more recently, but I've lost track, "Superlawyers" named me as one of the top twenty-five women lawyers in the State of Connecticut.  I'm just reporting this. I don't claim to be worthy of this distinction!  (They have me in a few other categories too -- "superlawyer" in Elder law 2007 - 2016; top fifty women lawyers in New England in 2012, 2013)  Martindale-Hubbell has given me an AV® Preeminent™ rating of 4.9 out of 5.

I received my B.A., magna cum laude, from Yale College in 1982 and my J.D. from Yale Law School in 1990, following which I held a clerkship with the late Justice David M. Shea of the Connecticut Supreme Court. 

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Information topics (just click on the blue heading):  

Planning for the disabled 
Planning for the elderly 
Living Trusts 
Tax Planning 
Tax-Exempt Organizations  

Page last updated November 14, 2016

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This site was first created in 1997 by a kind friend and is updated by me for the general informational use of the public. Writing to me does not create an attorney-client relationship; I can only provide general information, and will not provide advice about a particular case without a formal engagement.

Web-site design by: Tintern Productions 

Lisa Nachmias Davis
Davis O'Sullivan & Priest LLC

Attorneys at Law
129 Church Street, Suite 503

New Haven, CT 06510 
Phone: 203-776-4400 
Fax: 203-774-1060