How I Select Social Security Disability Cases

Posted Wednesday, April 15 by Gilbert B. Laden

There are firms that take many more cases than I do, particularly national firms, but do the math. There’s no way they can do the quality job necessary to win, especially with judges’ approval ratings the lowest they’ve been in roughly 30 years.

It’s important to have a good staff – I am proud and grateful for mine – but I believe an attorney should have a hands-on approach in meeting with clients from the get-go. I pick up on things in a face-to-face meeting that are valuable to me. They help me in advising my clients. I’m better equipped to come up with a plan that I think will improve the chances of winning the case. I start preparing for the hearing at that first meeting.

If you contact me about becoming a client, I think about a lot of things in gathering information. Do I think you meet the definition of disabled? Can I prove your case? As Nathan Chapman of The Marketing Center once said, “Screen in the client, not screen out.”

When I consider meeting with you in my office, I go over basic things:

  • Are you still working?
  • How often are you working?
  • Are you eligible for benefits?
  • Do you have serious medical problems?
  • Are you receiving medical treatment?
  • How is your case going to look over the next year? (It takes about 12 to 15 months to get a hearing in the Mobile hearing office, which takes cases from South Alabama and Northwest Florida.)
  • Are you willing to follow my advice?
  • Will you go to the doctor as needed for your health, be upfront with your doctor, comply with treatment, and keep my office informed?

I have to be knowledgeable on the law, but I also have to develop the evidence. The judge has to be persuaded that the law requires finding you to be disabled. That means hitting the ground running from the moment you walk into our office.

Clients come from all walks of life. They have different levels of education. But they are all suffering with health issues and financial problems. They are dealing with a government agency with rules that are complicated and difficult to understand. Most have never been in a lawyer's office before.

It’s my responsibility to make you feel comfortable so you’re willing to share information you may be embarrassed to reveal. You need to understand what you say to their doctors is very important, so your doctors will know what direction to go in for the examination and the treatment plan. Compliance is critical, most importantly for your health, but also in the hope of generating evidence in support of your case. It’s important for lawyers to understand how to ask questions and how to listen.

Then, throughout your case, I want to follow up on how your case is progressing. Are we on the right track? Do we need to talk about information I see in the records? What changes should I consider to my strategy? Is this a good time to ask the doctor to provide me a report and complete a form? There are numerous decisions to be made all through the case that are important.

We all say we should prepare our client for a hearing – but that should not be done the day of the hearing. Yet, I still see attorneys meeting their clients for the first time on the day of the hearing, one of the most important days of their lives.

My clients, my staff and I have to work together from the first meeting. I look for clients who are willing to do that. If you need Social Security Disability benefits and you’re interested in becoming a client of our office, give us a call.

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The information on this web site is made available by Gilbert B. Laden, P.C., for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls, letters and electronic mail. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to us until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established.

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He has been certified as a specialist in Social Security Disability Law by the National Board of Social Security Disability Advocacy, as acknowledged by the Alabama State Bar.