Expertise with Administrative Law and Court Rules
Attorneys are licensed by State Bars and have fiduciary duties to their clients. Additionally, attorneys have professional ethical requirements to the Court and their clients. This means the attorney must expertly handle your case.
Contrasting this with a VSO I once had an experience with as my representative on a claim for myself, the VSO employee / National Service officer was fast to state legal terms like “hearsay” and cite regulations showing she did not have to do more than fill-out the claim form. Her understanding of hearsay, however, was applied incorrectly. The documents I needed were records. Hearsay applies to spoken testimony, and there are exceptions to admit even hearsay. The record I wanted had an exception allowing its use. This particular VSO had fought over 5 years not to fill-out a form supported by evidence. Once I took the claim from the VSO, I received payment for the benefit from the DoD within 2.5 months. Unfortunately the government will not pay interest on the back pay, and in-addition to losing the interest I lost the use of this money for the 5 years the VSO fought not to fill out one paper.
An additional area separating an attorney from a VSO is the volume of cases being represented by one person. A typical VSO has over 1100 veterans for each national service officer or benefits counselor. Now think about your medical records, if you had any sort of injury while on active duty, or if you did not have an injury, think about those colonels you knew with 2 or 3 binders of medical records. Can you accurately read a thousand pages times 3 or 4 veterans per day and accurately present the evidence that the VA needs to prove a VA benefits claim?
The reduced client load, expertise in veterans law, and the use of independent medical professionals is just a few reasons why you should hire an experienced VA law firm at the earliest opportunity.