Frequently Asked Questions
Why Do I Need a Lawyer?
The PEB system is exceptionally complex, and the burden is placed upon the individual, soldier, sailor, airman, or Coast Guardsman to identify and push to include all potentially unfitting conditions in their case. You cannot depend upon your MTF or clinic to do so because their resources are limited, and no one knows both your symptoms and the requirements of your job as well as you.
When you go to medical appointments, have you ever noticed how they ask you to focus on one issue with which they can help you? Even though you may have several issues that affect your health daily? Well, guess what? This will be the same approach that they are going to take with your medical board too. In reality, the burden will be upon you to press for any testing, rebut narratives, ask for specialty referrals, etc. No one else is going to do it for you.
That is where I come in, as I can review your records and discuss how we will work together to add as many potentially unfitting conditions as possible, update your profiles, and assemble the best possible case for review.
When you work with me, you can rest assured that I will bring thirty years of experience practicing in this setting before every branch of the armed and uniformed services and know how to present your case to achieve the best result possible for you and your family. This insider knowledge of the system and the personalities of the key players in it will help me to work with you to make it easy for board members to say “Yes” to us.
Why Hire Me Instead of the Free JAG or MEB Counsel?
As a former JAG, I can assure you that most judge advocates and MEB Counsel are bright, capable attorneys. However, they are often assigned enormous caseloads that severely limit the time that they can spend with you. In most cases, the MEB counsel will only have time for a few brief meetings before writing rebuttals, appeals, and impartial review requests before a formal hearing. The detailed counsel for your formal board typically only has time for a few phone calls and e-mails before meeting you the day before your formal hearing. That is a terrible time to learn that you need updated medical testing data or additional nonmedical evidence to support your goals in the case. By contrast, when you work with me, you are buying one-on-one attention to help you develop your case from the outset, navigate past obstacles, and develop a solid package to win as early on as possible.
If we need to go to a formal hearing, your case will be thoroughly briefed in writing and submitted to the board members well in advance of the hearing date. Why? Well, sometimes they may agree with our written presentation and give us an on-the-record decision so that we do not have to travel. If not, then they usually provide us with useful feedback as to where we need to shore up our case or focus our efforts at the hearing. Either way, it is an opportunity that we can and should fully exploit.
The day before the formal hearing, we will spend several hours preparing our case. You and any witnesses- live or by speakerphone- will practice responding to every question that I will ask you and any that I suspect that the board may wish to ask. We will go through this process several times until you are thoroughly prepared for the next day. As opposed to those who have only had an hour or two with their assigned counsel, we will look like rock stars.
Why Hire Me at the Start of the Process?
The PEB process is not like receiving a traffic ticket or parking violation in which you can hire someone literally on the courthouse steps. By the time you attend a formal hearing, you will have been in the disability evaluation system for many months and completed several stages of evaluation- each of which is critical to effectively influence to obtain the best outcome for you.
Those who raise new issues for the first time at a formal hearing will be in for a rude awakening, as board members ask them why- if these issues are so important- such matters are only being raised for the first time at the hearing panel. This is a recipe for disaster. It is not, repeat not, acceptable to reply that you did not know that it was your responsibility to do so.
By allowing me to review your records to identify potentially unfitting conditions and devise a strategy for fully developing these claims, we will successfully brush past the “liar, liar, pants on fire” issue faced by persons who are raising new concerns for the first time at their hearings.
What Are the Core Benefits of Working with Me?
By working with me, you will gain inner knowledge of the PEB systems, its practices, procedures, and players that I have acquired in nearly thirty years of practicing in this setting. This insider knowledge cannot be found by reading instructions, policy memoranda, and attending IDES and TAP seminars. It comes from working hand in hand with key personnel in this system across all branches of the armed and uniformed services daily.
Many times, prospective clients have an inaccurate perception as to how the system works from speaking with their PEBLO, their doctor, or their ombudsman. Unfortunately, this is a highly complex system, and each player is typically only familiar with his or her particular specialty area. Thus, their perspective is narrow, focused, and only provides insight into what they do for a living.
Knowing that you are not alone and that you have an advocate who will be with you through every step of the process will reduce your stress level and allow you to focus on your health issues and spend time with your family. The peace of mind and sense of self-confidence that this will give you may be hard to quantify in monetary terms, but eventually, you will come to see it as one of the most valuable core benefits of working with me. But don’t merely take my word for it- go to my Client and Peer Review page to see what others have to say about me.