Meet Our Speakers

Christian Blocker, CFP® CIMA® CPWA® – Merrill Lynch


Christian has been a Financial Advisor with Merrill Lynch since 2012, where he develops financial strategies for families and helps clients navigate today’s complicated financial landscape. He focuses on financial planning, investment management and tries to get involved in educating his client’s next generation on managing personal finances. To further his education, he obtained the CFP®, CIMA® and CPWA® designations.

Growing up in Germany and Austria, he competed in professional tennis tournaments throughout Europe before joining the University of Miami varsity tennis team and graduating Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance and Accounting.
Christian enjoys boating, scuba diving, snorkeling and fishing, as well as spending time with his wife and two dogs.

Michael Cardello  – MAC Consulting Service, LLC

Michael Anthony Cardello is originally from New York City. He attained his Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Fordham University and his Master’s degree in Special Education from New York University.

Michael has over 40 years of experience in the field of developmental disabilities. He has held management and executive level positions in prestigious organizations including: United Cerebral Palsy of New York City, United Cerebral Palsy of New Jersey, Children’s Center for Therapy and Learning, Goodwill of Broward and United Way of Broward County,

Michael has also worked for Miami Dade Probate Court as an expert witness for “Involuntary Placement” and “Determination of Capacity” (Guardianship).

Immediately before starting his consulting business, Michael worked for the State of Florida “Agency for Persons with Disabilities” as a Supported Employment Coordinator.

Marta Goldberg, Grove Bank & Trust


Marta has over 30 years of investment and wealth management experience, including 14 years at BNY Mellon and now as Managing Director | Fiduciary Wealth Advisor at Grove Bank & Trust. As a former director with Neuberger Berman, a New York Investment Management firm, Marta was in charge of implementing investment management strategies and advising clients on all aspects of their financial plans. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Florida with Honors and a law degree from South Texas College of Law in Houston, Texas. Marta is a member of several charitable boards as well as professional associations.


Jan L. Jacobowitz


Jan L. Jacobowitz is a Lecturer in Law and the Director of the Professional Responsibility & Ethics Program (PREP) at the University of Miami’s School of Law. Under Jan’s direction, PREP was a 2012 recipient of the ABA’s E. Smythe Gambrell Award—the leading national award for a professionalism program. Jan has presented at hundreds of Ethics CLE Seminars throughout the country including annual presentations that PREP develops for legal organizations throughout South Florida. She has written and been a featured speaker on legal ethics topics such as Social Media, Advertising, Lawyer’s First Amendment Rights, Cultural Awareness in the Practice of Law, Mindful Ethics, Cybersecurity for Lawyers, Technology and the Law, Attorney Fees, E-Discovery, and Lawyer Well-Being. Jan also consults on legal ethics matters as an expert in both risk management and litigation contexts. Jan is the co-author of the book, Legal Ethics and Social Media, A Practitioner’s Handbook, published by the ABA in June 2017. She developed the curriculum for the course Social Media and the Law and is among the first law school faculty throughout the country to teach the course. Jan also co-developed and teaches Mindful Ethics: Professional Responsibility for Lawyers in the Digital Age, which served as the catalyst for the book that she co-authored, Mindfulness & Professional Responsibility—Incorporating Mindfulness into the Law School Curriculum. Jan is the president-elect of the Association of Professional Responsibility Lawyers (APRL) and the co-chair of APRL’s Future of Lawyering Committee. She is one of the co-authors of Association of Professional Responsibility Lawyers 2015 Report of The Regulation of Lawyer Advertising Committee and the Committee’s 2016 Supplemental Report, both of which served as the basis for the recent change in the ABA Model Rules on attorney advertising.  Jan previously served as APRL’s liaison to the ABA’s Standing Committee on Professionalism and more recently as the liaison to the ABA’s Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility. She is currently APRL’s liaison to the ABA’s Center for Professional Responsibility/Section Officers Conference Joint Committee on Ethics and Professionalism. Jan serves as one of five members of the Miami-Dade Commission on Ethics and the Public Trust. She was the Vice Chairman of Broward County’s Committee on Oversight of the Inspector General from 2011 until May 2018.Jan represents University of Miami School of Law on the Florida Bar’s CLE Committee and has served as the Law School’s United Way Ambassador for the past 10 years. She also currently serves as the faculty advisor to the president of the University of Miami Alumni Association.Prior to devoting herself to legal education, Jan practiced law for over twenty years.  She began her career as a Legal Aid attorney in the District of Columbia; prosecuted Nazi war criminals at the Office of Special Investigations of the U.S. Department of Justice; was in private practice with general practice and commercial litigation firms in Washington, D.C. and Miami; and served as in-house counsel for a large Miami based corporation.  Jan has a J.D. from George Washington University and a B.S. in Speech from Northwestern University. She is admitted to practice in the District of Columbia, Florida, and California and is a certified civil court mediator. She maintains an active legal ethics consulting practice. Jan and her family have made South Florida their home for the past 32 years.


Bernard A. Krooks – J.D., CPA, LLM (in taxation), CELA®, AEP® (Distinguished), Littman Krooks LLP , Founding Partner


Bernie is a founding partner of the law firm Littman Krooks LLP with offices in New York City, White Plains and Fishkill. He is the president of the board of directors of the Arc of Westchester, the largest agency in Westchester County serving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. Mr. Krooks is past President of the Special Needs Alliance and past President of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA), a Fellow of NAELA, past Chair of the NAELA Tax Section and past Editor-in-Chief of the NAELA News. In addition, he is certified as an Elder Law Attorney (CELA) by the National Elder Law Foundation and is an Accredited Estate Planner (AEP). He is a founding member and past President of the New York Chapter of NAELA. In 2008, he received the Chapter’s Outstanding Achievement Award for his lifelong work on behalf of seniors and those with disabilities.


David Lillesand – Lillesand & Associates P.A.


David Lillesand has represented over 3,500 clients with SSI disability claims in ALJ hearings, federal court, and the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and assisted individuals to become financially eligible for means-tested benefits through Special Needs Trusts, ABLE accounts, and other permissible spend-down alternatives. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin law school, was a Peace Corps and VISTA volunteer and then worked in legal services programs for seven years before establishing his firm, Lillesand, Wolasky, Waks & Hitchcock, P.L. David serves on the Board of ARC Tampa Bay and its legislative advocacy committee. He frequently lectures at law schools and state bar associations around the country, and trains trust officers on SSI and SNTs at some of the nation’s largest financial institutions. He is the author of the bi-annually updated chapter on Florida Special Needs Trust law in the Lexis/Nexus publication, Administration of Trusts in Florida (2017).  His analysis of the impact of Obamacare on SSA disability claims and Special Needs Law was published in Forbes.com.  David received the Florida Bar Elder Law Section’s Lifetime Achievement Award, the ARC Plotkin Outstanding Legal Service Award for service to persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities and the Florida Bar President’s Pro Bono Award.  David is trilingual, speaking English, Spanish and POMS (the SSA staff manual), and to his wife’s amazement, he accurately reads IKEA without leaving any extra pieces behind. He is many-decades married to Dr. Diane Lillesand, a Clinical and Forensic Psychologist, who keeps him semi-sane when having to deal with public agencies.


Barry A. Nelson, Esq. – Nelson & Nelson P.A.


 Florida Bar Board Certified Tax and Wills and Trusts and Estates Attorney. He practices in the areas of tax, estate planning and administration, asset protection, fiduciary matters, partnerships and business law. As the father of a child with autism, Mr. Nelson combines his legal skills with compassion and understanding in the preparation of Special Needs Trusts for children with disabilities. Mr. Nelson has been listed in Best Lawyers in America® since 1995 and was named their 2015 Miami Trusts and Estates “Lawyer of the Year.” He has been named in Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business as one of less than 10 lawyers receiving the highest rating of “Band 1” in the Florida Estate Planning category from 2010-2015. He has been listed in Chambers USA High Net Worth Guide as “Band 1” in Private Wealth Law in Florida since its inaugural edition in 2016. Mr. Nelson has been a Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent® Rated Lawyer for over 25 years. He has been listed as a top Florida attorney in Florida Super Lawyers since 2006 and in South Florida Legal Guide since 2003.


Richard K. Newman,CPA/PFS, AEP, CAP – Life Audit Professionals, LLC.,  Managing Member


Richard is a CPA/PFS, AEP, CAP and the founding Member of Life Audit Professionals, LLC. Richard is a well-known life insurance expert who works with CPAs, attorneys, Registered Investment Advisors and nonprofits. For more than 25 years, he has guided clients with their estate planning, wealth transfer and tax-related matters. While providing these services, he also has helped his clients create legacies of giving to favorite charities. He has transformed this knowledge into MyLifeGiving, an innovative life insurance consulting program that specializes in the practical application for identifying and using underperforming and new life insurance policies to benefit clients and the charities they support. A resident of South Florida for 50 years, he is active in various charities. Those special to his heart are his temple, where he served on the board of directors, and Comfort Zone Camp in Richmond, VA, caring for the needs of children who have recently suffered the loss of a parent or main caregiver.