Finding a good attorney is never easy. It takes both considerable time and effort. If you are looking for a Federal Disability Retirement attorney, you have even less choices. Before investing heavily for your future source of income, an annuity from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM), you should do extensive research to find out who is the best and most qualified attorney in this unique field of law: Federal Disability Retirement, also known as OPM Disability Retirement.
Good and competent Federal Disability Retirement lawyers should not have positive reviews only in their own websites and social media profiles — as anybody’s relatives, friends, and colleges can write excellent reviews as a favor; but instead, you should ask for feedback from former clients. You may also search for precedent-setting court decisions that an attorney has been involved with. There is also some valuable information in bar associations and lawyer directories. Some of these former websites have specialized tools to make sure the reviews are genuine, that is, written by former clients.
Also, before the first telephone interview with a potential attorney (which ideally should be free and without any strings attached), do your homework to find out everything you can about Federal Disability Retirement in general (avoid wasting valuable attorney time with general questions such as “What is OPM Disability Retirement?” or “Who approves/denies a Federal Disability Retirement claim?”). Instead, test the knowledge of your prospective attorney by asking questions specific to your individual case with regard to your Agency and your own medical condition, that is, ask for specific questions which will help you to evaluate the competence and knowledge of the attorney.
Perhaps even more importantly, this telephone interview should give you a realistic idea about what chances you have to get approved for OPM Disability Retirement. If your chances are poor, your prospective attorney could even suggest the steps you need to take to improve your chances of getting approved before you initiate the process. This last particular advice will require some additional time that the attorney may or may not have for you (that is why I recommended not to waste valuable time with general or redundant questions).
Before signing your check, it’s always a good idea to test the availability of the attorney with at least one follow up call. Remember, however, lawyers are always busy people, but they should get back to you in a reasonable amount of time. Make sure you deal with the lawyers themselves, not their helpers, assistants, or nephews. You’ll be spending your hard-earned money for quality services. Demand value and service.
One last tip, the field of Federal Disability Retirement is a “Federal” issue, as its name clearly implies, and this means that you don’t have to worry about hiring a local attorney. Unless you live in a big city, chances are you won’t find a local attorney anyway. Thus, you should focus on finding the best attorney in the country. They all typically work with clients from different states; so make sure you get real references from different regions of the United States.
Carlos M. Chapa