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What made you want to become a Social Security disability lawyer?

I had the opportunity to work on disability cases with Whitley Law Firm while I was in law school. When I started the internship I knew nothing about Social Security disability. By the end of the internship I not only understood the nuts and bolts of disability, but I also knew I wanted to practice disability law after law school.

I was an analytical chemist in the pharmaceutical industry prior to entering law school. Chemistry was a great career but I really wanted a career that would allow me to help people in a more direct way. Although I didn’t know it when I switched careers, Social Security disability was the ideal job for me. Disability law allows me to directly interact with clients in their time of need.

In your opinion, what sets your firm apart from the rest?

The attorneys and case managers are very accessible. Clients are encouraged to contact us with questions and/or concerns about their case.

Tell us about a case that you are particularly proud of:

I represented a young veteran in his case for Social Security disability. We went to a disability hearing and unfortunately received an unfavorable decision. We appealed the decision to the Appeals Council who granted a fully favorable decision.

What steps do you take to prepare for a difficult case?

I like to call my preparation for difficult cases “studying.” I review the medical records page-by-page. We also aggressively pursue opinions from our clients’ treating physicians. Difficult cases require developing legal theories early into the cases.

What advice do you most often give to your clients & why?

A successful case must be supported by medical evidence. One of the first things Social Security looks at when making a determination of disability is whether the claimant has at least one medically determinable impairment. A medically determinable impairment is an impairment that is supported by medical evidence. Social Security has stated that: “No symptom or combination of symptoms [alone] can be the basis for a finding of disability, no matter how genuine the individual’s complaints may appear to be, unless there are medical signs and laboratory findings demonstrating the existence of a medically determinable physical or mental impairment.” Therefore, if a client is unable to afford medical treatment, we try and help them find a no-cost or low-cost medical clinic. This advice not only helps a client build a successful case, it could mean the difference between life and death.

How do you view your role in the attorney-client relationship?

I am an advisor and an advocate. Due to the complexities of Social Security disability law, I spend a great amount of time advising current and prospective clients about Social Security disability law. I advocate for my clients by representing them before the Social Security Administration.

Tell us about a turning point in your career:

I experienced a spinal cord injury in 2012. This profoundly changed the way I represent my clients. I now have first-hand knowledge of impairments and symptoms that many of my clients deal with on a daily basis.

Why should a prospective client choose to work with your firm?

Whitley Law Firm’s attorneys come from various backgrounds and bring life experiences to the table. For example, I served in the United States Coast Guard and then worked for several years in the pharmaceutical industry prior to becoming an attorney. My wife and I have seven children and enjoy watching them race mountain bikes and playing soccer. When clients hire Whitley Law Firm they are hiring real people.