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How Do I Choose A Lawyer?

The choice of an attorney to represent you on one of the most important events in your life can be scary. Many of us don’t know what factors to consider in making the decision. Here are some suggestions.

Experience – How long has the attorney practiced law?  What is their specific experience in Social Security law? Have they taken cases to Federal Court?

Location, location, location- You will want to meet directly with the attorney, both when you hire them, and as they prepare for your hearing. That’s hard to do if they are a thousand miles away.

How do they prepare? Contrary to TV, attorneys don’t just walk in and try a case—or they shouldn’t! The preparation starts long before that. Is the attorney willing to get the records for you, or do you have to do so? How far back in time is the attorney willing to look for records? Do they meet with you at least a week before the hearing to prepare you to testify? Do they prepare a hearing brief for the administrative law judge at least a week before the hearing? Sadly, we see attorneys meeting their clients for the first time at the hearing office, and asking them questions in the waiting room. We take appeals, and find that the attorney only went back to the date of disability, even though there may be vital evidence before that time.

Talk to others: Do you have friends or family who have been through the disability process? Did they use an attorney and, if so, what did they think of that attorney? Ask if the attorney went through the preparation steps above.

What is their commitment to client communication? The most frequently heard complaint about attorneys is that they don’t communicate with the client. Will the attorney make a commitment to keep you apprised of the case and to return your calls (or e-mails) by the next business day?

Can you communicate with them? Importantly, you should take the opportunity to meet with the attorney for a free consultation, just to see if they are someone to whom you can relate. Are they someone in whom you can put your trust for this important aspect of your life?

Call Glen Cook, Social Security Attorney, at 801-261-0674, and ask him these questions.