When it comes to hiring a Social Security attorney, it is important that a client find someone who is just the right fit for his or her case. That means the client must feel comfortable with the attorney he or she chooses, as this relationship will likely continue for several months if not years.
Depending on how complex the case may be and how many appeals will need to be made. Does this mean that the client is obligated to find someone local, or can the attorney be from another state?
We have asked attorney, Alaina Sullivan, and here is what she had to say:
Hiring Out-of-State Representation
The short answer to this question is, yes, the client is perfectly capable of hiring counsel that is not local to his or her state to assist in the Social Security claim. If the client feels that a certain attorney is the best fit for him or her, choosing on that determination instead of who is local is often the best idea.
Given how lengthy the entire disability process can be, the client needs to feel comfortable with the person who will be fighting for him or her.
Normally, attorneys are tied to only handle cases in their given state or at least in a state in which they are licensed to practice law. However, Social Security disability benefits are part of a federal program, which means they are handled in federal court and not state court.
This means that an attorney can be chosen from any jurisdiction.
Items to Consider
Keep in mind that if the client does choose to hire an attorney from out-of-state, the odds are that he or she will not meet face-to-face until the day of the administrative hearing, unless the client is able to travel to see the attorney beforehand.
Given the fact that much of the process involves paperwork, needing to actually physically see the attorney is not always required.
Many clients have concerns that having an attorney who is not local will hurt the quality of the representation they will receive. That is not always the case. All that matters is the client clicks well with the attorney and that the attorney has the experience and qualifications needed to get the job done.
Questions to Ask the Attorney
With all of this in mind, it helps to come prepared when meeting or speaking with a potential attorney, whether that person be in or out of state. Because of the complexity involved in disability cases and how long they tend to take, it is best to choose an attorney who the client feels will best represent him or her and will be successful.
The following questions can help in this selection process:
- Has the attorney one through any special training in disability or social security law?
- Does the attorney specialize in social security disability, and how many cases have they handled?
- What are the charges the attorney anticipates needing? What are the average costs for the cases he or she has handled?
- Should the client expect any out-of-pocket expenses on top of the basic legal fee structure? Do these costs go up because of the nature of the out-of-state relationship?
- Will the client and attorney meet before the hearing? If so, how often will they meet? Most clients will want to have some type of face-to-face interaction, and it is helpful if this meeting happens before the day of hearing.
- How does the attorney anticipate the communication between client and attorney going? Will there be regular phone check-ins or email communication?
It is not always possible for the attorney to predict just how a case will go, but the attorney, if he or she has a lot of experience in these cases, can certainly give an educated guess on the merits of the case.
It helps if the attorney is honest in how he or she feels the case could go and any pitfalls that may come along the way.
Contact an Attorney Today
If you are in contemplating filing a Social Security claim or are in the middle of a complicated social security disability dispute and have questions about finding the right legal representation for you, it is recommended that you contact a social security attorney to discuss your options.
An attorney can listen to the facts of the case and can best advise you on how to proceed. Contact an attorney experienced in social security disability to schedule a consultation today.