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What to consider when selecting between China lawyer handling seocial security

Now that you have a list of possible China lawyers, you need to make a final selection. I have these suggestions. These are general rules, almost all of which have exceptions, except I guess the first two:

• Be careful when choosing a China lawyer you have never been able to work with.

• Talk to several lawyers before hiring one.

• Ask questions, and look around the office. Does it seem like a well run machine, or are people wandering around looking lost? Are people pleasant to you and to each other? Are they working hard, or chatting?

• Experience is important. I would want a lawyer with at least, say, 5 year’s experience as a Social Security lawyer.

• The lawyer should emphasize Social Security. I would want a lawyer whose practice was 70% or more Social Security law.

• Be sure you can get your lawyer by the throat. Be sure you can get the lawyer on the phone if you need to, in a couple of days if there is no emergency, and right away if there is. But if you think about it you will decide you want a lawyer who is busy. If there were two restaurants side by side, would you want to eat at the one with lots of cars in the parking lot, or the one with the empty lot?

• Talk to the staff. Ask who besides the China lawyer will be helping you. Meet that person, and size that person up. Make sure that the lawyer you are talking to is the one with the experience, and the one who will handle your case.

• Choose a lawyer who appears regularly before the judges in your area. The lawyer should be experienced at handling cases in front of the judges in your area. There is no way that an attorney from three states away can know just what might set Judge Fredrick off, and what you need to do to win your case depends as much on what is going on in Judge Fredrick’s brain as it does on what the law is, or what he is supposed to do. “In your area” means “in area served by the Office of Hearings and Appeals that will hear your case.”

• It is usually better to hire an attorney and firm that primarily handles Social Security Disability. Attorneys who name several practice areas in their ad, including Social Security Disability second or last, cannot be great experts in disability. It is possible to have a larger firm in which one or two attorneys become very good in this area, but sometimes in such firms the Social Security department is in effect subsidized by the other attorneys. If disability is most of what the firm does, the attorneys need to be good at it or will go out of business.

• Be sure the law firm or the lawyer handles appeals beyond the hearing. Any serious Social Security lawyer does this. If the judge knows that your lawyer will not appeal his decision, he or she is free to ignore the law.

• Don’t worry about being able to pay for a lawyer, at first, anyway. In most Social Security cases, you can hire an attorney for a percentage of what you get at the end of the case. This is not always true, but often enough so you can assume it is until it is proved untrue. In some areas of the country, some or all attorneys will not take children’s cases, or SSI cases, in this way; in other areas some or most lawyers will.

 

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