Over the past several years, Balin Law owner Paulette Balin presented at various healthcare providers and veteran facilities, ensuring the firm works closely with nurse practitioners, case workers and veterans themselves to build critical relationships that better serve clients and their cases.
“It’s so satisfying to see these health care providers that treat our clients so engaged and interested in what we do in the same way we’re so indebted to veterans and their services,” said Matt Shupe, associate attorney at Balin. “It’s crystal clear how committed they are to their patients.”
Shupe and his team share the same commitment to clients, using every tool at their disposal and exhausting every resource to hopefully earn a win on their clients’ behalf.
“Over-prepare for everything,” Shupe said of Balin’s winning strategy. “Spend more time than it takes. You need to know the case better than the client, the judge and, any experts combined. If you can convey that that is your level of knowledge, it builds confidence in yourself and in the client, too.”
With veteran disability cases, Balin’s attorneys also seek out narrative statements from an individuals’ treating physician citing any physical limitations that support the clients’ claim and the physicians’ own treatment notes.”
Even with all those tools, representation for disabled veterans is newer territory.
When Andrew November, a litigation attorney at Balin, started at the firm in 2009 he found very few attorneys in the state of Ohio even represented veterans.
“The backlog and volume for these veterans to get representation was incredibly frustrating,” November said. “Using our experience as disability attorneys, we thought it would be a natural transition to start representing veterans.”
The VA hasn’t had the high level of development that programs like Social Security have, making partnerships between firms and the VA challenging. This is largely attributed to most employees’ inexperience working with attorneys and the sheer amount of cases they’re asked to address daily.
“The VA regional office in Cleveland Ohio handles all claims for the state of Ohio,” November said.“Compare that to the abundance of Social Security offices that are used to breaking up the case load, working with attorneys and supplying documents to us.”
Still, Balin hasn’t let the challenges in working with the VA dissuade them from working to build a meaningful and collaborative partnership.
“What our firm decided to do was learn as much as we can about the law now,” November said. “If we continue to make ourselves known to the VA, we can be better known for representing our country’s veterans on a larger scale.”