The Attig Law Firm is unique – in many, many ways.
First and foremost, I am the only VA Disability lawyer Benefits law that has posted DAILY since 2007 on the Veterans Law Blog. A wealth of FREE information – every weekday – to help you take back the Power in YOUR VA Claim.
But today, I’m not going to talk to you about the Veterans Law Blog.
Today, I’m going to tell you a little something about the Attig Law Firm’s VA Compensation Review Process – the process we follow when you request a consultation from the Attig Law Firm – or what we call “The ALF”.
Our VA Disability Law Firm is FLOODED with calls.
The ALF gets hundreds of calls and requests for consultations in VA Disability Compensation claims — even in the slow weeks.
With that kind of volume, the ALF cannot and does not take every Veteran’s case. There are cases that we will routinely turn down.
And our decision about helping – or not helping – Veterans in Title 38 VA Disability claims have very, very little to do with how much money we recover.
Although, we do have a business to run here – I am a capitalist, after all. And if I don’t keep my business profitable, I can’t pay my employees – the people that rely on me for their pay, and their sense of fulfillment through their work – will be left without a job.
And without a profitable business, I can’t help ANY Veterans.
So I have to make decisions. As much as we’d love to, there’s simply not enough man-power or hours in the day to help everyone.
To help you communicate BETTER with us, and to make it more likely that we will offer a consultation, here are the steps my team follows – in every single consultation request.
Step 1: The ALF Team sees every Consultation Request.
What should you put in the consultation request form? Answer the questions, first of all, as best you can, and give us a good sense of why you need legal help.
If a Veteran doesn’t take the time to help us understand why they need legal help, it’s harder for us to figure out whether we CAN help.
Consultation Requests that say only “I need help on my Veterans Benefits Claims” or “Tell me how to file a VA claim” leave us scratching our head as to what kind of help you really need – and while we return every consultation request with a phone call, what you tell us in that initial contact makes a WORLD of difference.
Take your time and write a good consultation request … you don’t have to be perfect or use the right legal words.
It doesn’t even need to be long.
We just need to get a sense of what is going on in your appeal.
Step #2: We make an initial decision whether or not we are going to request your C-File.
Once you submit a consultation request to my team, someone will call you to do a follow up call and get a little more information.
I have told my team to make this decision within 48 business hours of the time you submitted the consultation request.
And they are getting pretty close to meeting that goal.
The information you give us is crucial – we have to make a HARD decision at this point. Ultimately, the decision comes down to this:
Is this the type of VA Disability Appeal that the Attig Law Firm is best situated to help with?
For a great many of you, the answer to that question is “no”. Why aren’t we the best situated to help you? A bunch of reasons….here are a few:
* You haven’t received a VA Ratings Decision that can be appealed
* Your issue is something that I think you can resolve on your own. In this case, you are going to want to use the free resources – there are over 600 posts on the Veterans Law Blog that are yours for the searching. You might also want to check out our Veterans Law Books in the Bookstore – these books contain 7 years of my experience battling the VA – all written to teach lay-men, not lawyers, how to better understand and navigate the byzantine VA Claims and Appeals Process.
* Your case is not something we have experience handling, or want to handle. FTCA Claims, Discharge Upgrades, employment issues, and some other types of VA Disability compensation claims come to mind. There are some cases I like handling (see, below), and there are some cases that I don’t like handling.
* Sad to say, but some folks contacting us for legal help are just jerks – and life is too short to deal with jerks. Fortunately, this is a VERY small number of Veterans, but I want you to know that we do choose our clients as much as they choose us…and we choose people that we enjoy working with….not people that disrespect us or our work.
I wish I had the time to explain to each and every one of you why we decided not to request your VA C-File and look into your case further…but there are so many Veterans contacting us that there is not enough time in the day to do this.
If, however, we request your C-File and decline representation after a C-File review, I will take however much time you need to explain our decision to you. All you have to do is ask my team and they’ll get you on my calendar for a phone call.
Step #3: We review your ENTIRE C-File in our VA Compensation Review Process.
One of the things that sets the Attig Law Firm apart from VSOs, and even a lot of attorneys, is that we absolutely will not offer representation to a Veteran or survivor without first reviewing the complete C-File from the VA Regional Office.
This is not the case with every veterans benefits law firm: be very suspicious of a VA disability law firm that takes your case without looking at your C-File.
Nearly every case where I see a Vet “left hanging” in a VA claim by an attorney, it turns out that the attorney didn’t know much about the claim until after he/she was in over her head.
So, years ago, I developed a unique process to request and receive a C-File from the VA Regional Office. I teach this process in my book “How to Get Your VA C-File”, which can be found in the Veterans Law Blog Bookstore.
Other law firms have bought my Guidebooks and are copying my processes. That’s great, if you ask me…mimicry is the highest form of flattery. Just remember that you can’t copy the ALF Vision, and you can’t reverse-engineer the value that the Attig Law Firm adds to a Veteran’s appeal.
In any event, our goal is to request, receive and review the C-File and make an offer of representation as quickly as possible. But sometimes we have to sue the VA in Federal Court to get your C-File, and this adds some time to the review process.
Rest assured, when we get the C-File, we use Chris Attig’s unique process for evaluating your case, and read/study every page of your C-File to find the reason your claim/appeal is taking so long, and to see if we can help at all.
Step #4A: We Offer Legal Representation.
If we decide to offer representation, we’ll send you an attorney-client agreement and some other documents, and will jump right into your VA Disability Benefits claim and get to work.
Here’s how our fees work – this is really brief, so don’t worry. If we offer representation I will explain this in detail to you.
* If we make an offer to represent you in your VA claim/appeal, our typical fee is contingency – between 20% and 30% of the past-due benefits, depending on the complexity of your case and the time we anticipate we will need to get closure on your VA disability claim or appeal. If we don’t recover past-due benefits in your claim or appeal, we don’t get paid.
*If we represent a Veteran before the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, we typically do not charge the Veteran anything out of pocket for that representation. If we “substantially prevail” in your Veterans Court appeal, we can petition the Court to order the VA to pay your attorney fees for you through the EAJA (Equal Access to Justice Act) Fund.
* We will usually advance the costs of the case: postage, filing fees, medical expert retainers, travel costs, etc. Our clients agree to reimburse those expenses out of their share of the past-due benefits.
Step #4B: We Decline to Offer Representation.
If, after reviewing the C-File, an attorney at the Attig Law Firm determines that we are willing to offer to represent you, I will take however much time you need to explain our decision to you. All you have to do is ask my team and they’ll get you on my calendar for a phone call.
Once you get an email from us saying that we decline to offer representation, it’s CRUCIAL that you continue to talk to accredited VA lawyers about your claim: every law firm and every lawyer is different.
Just because my Firm doesn’t offer representation doesn’t mean your case is bad.
To the contrary – I have yet to see a “bad” VA appeal. But I have seen plenty of cases where I know that my Firm is not the best fit.
Talk to several accredited VA attorneys – here’s how to find an accredited VA attorney that is a good fit for YOU!
Tips to help me learn more about your case.
Here are some tips to increase the likelihood that I will be able to get back in touch with you about your VA Disability Claim:
A. Take your time and give me a good explanation of what is going on in your case, and why you need legal help.
B. If you know what level of the VA Claims Process (VARO, BVA CAVC, Fed Circuit) your claim is at, that would be helpful for me to know.
C. Be sure to include an email address. Email communication is vital to the ALF. If you don’t have an email account – get a free gmail, yahoo or hotmail account. It will greatly increase our ability to get a better picture of what kind of help you need and whether we can provide it.
D. Don’t try to “sell” me on your case. Just tell me the facts, and let me make the best decision that I can after I learn the facts.
E. I look with extreme suspicion at cases that Veterans tell me are “turn-key” or “million dollar” cases.
First, I’m not looking to get rich: if I wanted to get rich I’d run for Congress. The alleged “million dollar case” is often a “White Whale” and isn’t tempting to me.
Second, I have never known a single VA case to be “easy” or “turnkey”…if it was, why would you be contacting me?
Here are types of cases that are of special interest to the Attig Law Firm:
Appeals to the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims:
I really enjoy the work our Firm does before the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims.
We have a chance – because of the newness of the Court (it’s only 40 years old…a YOUNG court in the eyes of the law) – to help shape the body of law governing Veterans claims.
SO…if you have a recent BVA decision in hand, I want you to pick up the phone and call us right away at (866) 627 – 7764. Tell my team you have a BVA decision you want to appeal to the CAVC, and they will take it from there.
We’re going to want to see a copy of your BVA decision, too, so feel free to email it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll make sure my team gets you a call back ASAP!
Survivor Benefit Claims.
When he died some years after the war, VSOs and the VA gave my grandmother some really bad advice, and as a result, she was denied access to life changing benefits for herself and her children. I take a special interest in reviewing Survivor Benefits claims – particularly the surviving spouses of combat veterans.
I can’t take every Survivor’s case, but I do make a special effort to scrutinize them very closely before deciding whether or not to offer representation.
Vietnam Veterans & Agent Orange Claims.
The VA just can’t seem to get Agent Orange right. When they do figure out that they are required to grant service-connection for Vietnam Vets that have certain medical conditions known to be caused by Agent Orange, they often souse up the impairment rating, or the effective date (Agent Orange claims have special effective date rules).
These Vets get the shortest end of the short stick. I can’t help everyone, but let me know if your claims has to do with service during the Vietnam War and exposure to Agent Orange.
Military Sexual Trauma.
Let’s call it what it is: Rape in the Military.
If you were raped or sexually assaulted in the military, reach out to the Attig Law Firm. We don’t take every Rape/MST claim, but we look at this cases very closely.
Contact the Attig Law Firm if you are seeking VA Disability Compensation for the injuries (physical or mental) that occurred as a result of a rape in service.
OIF, OEF, and Desert Storm Veterans.
I served with many of you – not in theater, but before these wars started. Some of you didn’t come home.
Some of you came home very different. If you served in Desert Storm, Operation Iraqi Freedom, or Operation Enduring Freedom, be sure to let me know.
Heck, if we knew each other in the military, let me know that, too.
* This post initially appeared on the Veterans Law Blog on May 21, 2013. It has been updated with MORE current information.
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