Is there a way to check the Credentials of a Disability Lawyer?
You can inquire as to whether or not a disability lawyer is board-certified; however, this is probably a great waste of time. Being board-certified does not mean that the lawyer has a high success rate in handling claims, or even that the lawyer is someone who won't decide to dump your case the day before the hearing (when they've finally gotten around to reviewing your file and medical evidence)---it goes without saying that this is a despicable practice, yet a fair number of disability lawyers do engage in this sort of unprofessional conduct.
What does it take to be board certified as a Social Security Disability lawyer? The lawyer must be in good standing and have a certain minimum amount of practice experience in social security matters and also must be able to verify that they are acquiring continuing legal education (all lawyers must do this on an ongoing basis and CLE credits are hardly taxing).
Rather than being concerned about the credentials of a disability lawyer, the best way to choose a disability lawyer is either to get a referral for one from a person who has actually used the lawyer in the past, or get in touch with the lawyer via some other trusted route.
Getting a disability lawyer off of an ad on tv, however, is very much like taking the Forrest Gump approach: you never really know what you're going to get, and all you'l really know from the very start is that the lawyer could afford to pay for the ad.
About the Author: Tim Moore is a former Social Security Disability Examiner in North Carolina, has been interviewed by the NY Times and the LA Times on the disability system, and is an Accredited Disability Representative (ADR) in North Carolina. For assistance on a disability application or Appeal in NC, click here.
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