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Stephanie O Joy, Esq
Stephanie O Joy, Esq, Soc. Sec. Attorney
Category: Social Security
Satisfied Customers: 13505
Experience:  19+ years legal exp. - 10+ years owning/operating her own SSD Law practice.
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I need a lawyer appeal as soon as possible. It needs to be

Customer Question

I need a lawyer for an appeal as soon as possible. It needs to be in my area, I live in Rancho Cordova, Ca. I will be checking reviews. Jacobson is out of the question, Fleming law offices are out of the question and Milam has negative reviews.
I am 100 percent disabled from the VA and was denied. They Social Security didn't bother to get all my records.
I have service dog.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Social Security
Expert:  Stephanie O Joy, Esq replied 1 year ago.

Why do you feel the need for a local lawyer. This is federal, not state. By limiting yourself to local, you are nixing just about all of the niche lawyers in the US that practice SS 100% - and likely limiting yourself to those who "dabble" or have their law fingers in so many legal pots that the saying, "jack of all trades, master of none, comes to mind". Others may be inexperienced. Can you clarify why you nix the 1st 2 you mention?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I want to be able to be face to face and not just on the day of the case. A friend of mine has her law company in Texas and they have a "lawyer" here who does not return her phone calls. Oh yeah she never gave her my friend her cell phone number so my friend has to call Texas and relay a message. Not an effective method for me!!!!!!! Second said lawyer never confered with my friend proor to her case. And met with her for 5 seconds vefore the court case....NOT effective for me. I would nor could not handle that and would lose my cool.
Expert:  Stephanie O Joy, Esq replied 1 year ago.

"I want to be able to be face to face and not just on the day of the case. ------- You may find that to be unavailable anywhere. The reason is this: 1) The strongest case development happens when there is NOT face to face (and there are reasons for this, the more inexperienced SS lawyers tend to "need" it, that first time/interview, because they may be less qualified to properly make an evaluation without, but that usually means they can not make a proper evaluation period), 2) Unless you wish to pay for unnecessary person to person meetings with your lawyer, he likely will not be wiling to let you take up his time, away from his legal work, so you can have a face to face at your will, during your case. I.e. the face to face that adds nothing to the strength of his work, and only detracts, he is likely not going to be wiling to pay for.

"A friend of mine has her law company in Texas and they have a "lawyer" here who does not return her phone calls. ------------ Now THAT is he crux - it is not location, it is whether the lawyer is rude, and does not do his important job of keeping open the communications, returning calls, providing cell number, allowing for text, email, etc. I do understand THAT problem, and it is often epidemic amongst lawyers, particularly those that are not paid by the minute for every call a client makes. I take on more clients that suffered that travesty than I can count. And that DOES cause a weaker case, often times because if the attorney doesn't communicate, then he is not going to be aware of new events that trigger a need for more specific development of evidence relating to same. Laweyers that treat SSD like other areas of law typically are not the ones that concentrate on SSD law - because if they did, they'd realize the grave important of open communication. For instance, they should have abilities to communicate by phone, email, text, fax, etc. If a client leaves a message and he can't call her back, there is no reason why he can't email her, since many of us can do that from court, from the train, etc., even if not in a place or time where phone call is appropriate. Or, if the client has a memory problem, obviously a phone call response with answer will likely result in the client forgetting the substance, so emailing the answer may be the best response. But by all means, there should generally be no reason for more than 24 -48 hours before a response is provided. He should also be cc'ing the client on pertinent paperwork so that the client can see what is going on, to some degree. But sadly, you can have a lawyer on your own block in your town, and you still won't be able to pop in for a visit, generally. Let's face it, clients do that and no legal work will get done. So it is not the "popping in" "face to face" that is relevant or even helpful (usually unhelpful), but the extremely open, thorough, and well received communications and relevant responses that you should be looking for.

"Oh yeah she never gave her my friend her cell phone number so my friend has to call Texas and relay a message. -------- That is typical of "big firms" ------- I'd steer clear of that. Unless the lawyer than calls your or emails you back in a reasonable time frame. We ourselves us VOICEMAIL so our clients can leave a confidential message for me (or whoever they wish) and only me if I can't pick up (which is often, since while working on one aspect, we don't interrupt or work to chat on phone when VM can be left) - but the difference is that it has been my strict policy that short of being out sick or another similar urgency, that call is responded to asap. Usually within 24, but could be longer. But generally not more than a couple of days.

"Not an effective method for me!!!!!!! ---------- I understand. But I think what you are saying is that you want responsiveness (and manners would be nice, right?). In person you likely won't get because it is not relevant to providing the best legal work on your case. But, responsiveness IS. It both provides for full information being shared AND provides a level of security and comfort to the client so he/she knows she is always on the front burner and not forgotten.

"Second said lawyer never confered with my friend proor to her case. And met with her for 5 seconds vefore the court case....NOT effective for me.-------- Did your friend win or lose? My clients and I go over expectations of the hearing about a week before the hearing, over the phone. Everything should be 100% by then, NOT the day of the hearing. Also, the SSA engages in many a video hearing these days, so there are times when Judge will be video from another state, while client is in his own state. For my far away clients (I don't ditch them when they move), I am often in my own regional ODAR office in a video hearing room, while Judge and client are in the same room, and then sometimes a VE (vocational expert) is on the Judge's phone, on speaker. You'd be amazed.

I would nor could not handle that and would lose my cool.------ If you think you can't adjust to what does actually work best, ***** ***** technology they way it is meant and the SSA uses it, that is understandable, and some people do have those limitations. The only unfortunate thing about it is that you are stuck with those around you, in your local area, and they may not be the best at what they do. There are not that many of us that do SSD and only SSD. Let's face it, you have to have enough winning cases for that, and to have that, you have to be very well studied and experienced and have your processes top knotch. Of course, if SSD is all you do, it is easier to be top of that game. Whereas those that dabble here and there may find it difficult to stay on top. They are human, after all and there is only so many hours in a week. My biggest concern for you is that you are hoping perhaps for more " face to face " than any lawyer will offer you. And then, if you get snookered due to a requirement that you do trek to the office before that lawyer will sign on with you, you will likely find that that is the ONLY face to face you'll get. Remember, time is money and that lawyer will not want to spend it where it is not best spent. So that part I do condone. But what sets apart the pros from the dabblers is how they communicate with you - how responsive they are when you have questions or how they allow you to send in information. Remember, interacting closely does not require face to face, it requires communication and interaction and a mutual respect.

That all said, try Avvo.com. There you can search by area and location. Then, if you have a need to meet in person with the lawyer each month, ask each lawyer you call if she/he promises to provide that (and include it in the contract). You'll be able to weed out those that won't do that. You can also ask about assurances of communication and what the policy and practice of that office is. Again, weed out those that don't provide what you need. Depending on how reasonable your expectations are, is whether you will find a lawyer willing to provide what you need. Many of us bend over backward and provide unnecessaries solely for the comfort of the client (with no effect on legal strength of case), but this will vary on a lawyer to lawyer basis, so you need to ask each one. But try to focus on what you actually need. A face to face with no real communication may not be what you find you want - but vibrant and robust communication practices may make a big difference for you.

Again, try Avvo.com. Look in locations broader than only your town. Dedicated SSD lawyers (vs. those that have not very much experience) are not a dime a dozen yet, so you may need to go outside your town or county. And if you want to avoid large firms or factories, yet again. So just be sure to look wider, if you still need the face to face, you will likely have to look far and wide. If you change your needs for no need for face to face but big need for ability to communicate and be responded to, the USA is your oyster - you can then pick from the cream of the crop.

Good luck!

Expert:  Stephanie O Joy, Esq replied 1 year ago.

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