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Selection Of A Lawyer



I feel compelled to warn all my fellow Veterans to be very selective in who they have represent them before the Department of Veteran Affairs.

I have as some of you know been envolved in an Agent Orange case for over 41 months now, for the bean counters it works out to 14, 600 days or 350,400 hours!

Once the lawyer I selected got my case remanded from the CAVC to the BVA and had me sign a paper in order for her to further represent me. I had precious few contacts with her to the point she seldom took my calls or acknowledged my paperwork. I was basicaly on my own. I developed my own case, did my own research, and pleaded my case without benefit of effective counsel.

I finally dismissed this lawyer and her firm and I am fervently getting another Lawyer up to speed as the local Regional Office refuses to render a final decision and insists on issuing an SSOC and returning the remanded claim back to the BVA for a decision; even though the local RO was given the option by the BVA to render a decision.

I tell you this as my brothers and sisters, we have only our selfs and each other....no one ...not he VA, Not the BVA...or even the CAVC is going to help you. It is your claim, you must be your own advocate, you must be agreesive, ruthless, cunning and even wallow in the gutter with the Veterans Administration.

A lawyer is a resource, a tool......but ultimately as President Truman said "The Buck Stops Here".

That firm I am talking about is Liberman & Mark, PLLC of Washington D.C. I absolutely do not recommend them. I am not trying to slander these lawyers but to warn you there are lawyers out there that are not looking out for your best interest. After the rmmand they have the Veteran sign a 20% agreement to futher represent the Vetrean at The RO level and hope they luck out by sheer number of Veterans Claims they have...for a few to bingo with them exerting as little effort as possible on the claims........a nice racket if I do say so.


Edited by rthomass
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My understanding as I am now in the process of getting a lawyer is a lawyer is legally allowed to charge up to 33% but if the lawyer wants a direct fee agreement, meaning they receive payment directly from the VA once the amount is awarded the fee can only be set for 20%. If they charge a fee over 20% up to 33% they have to collect from the veteran directly after the veteran receives the award. Hence why most prefer the 20% so the VA pays it.

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I dont recommend them either-I knew who you meant as soon as I read this post-

I helped a local vet win his claim after over a decade in the system- the VA wanted to send them 8,000 bucks from his retro.

I prepared an NOD, after looking through all the paperwork and found they did little to nothing to help him. I think the VA should send them about 400 bucks-2-3 phones and a generic letter or too -that is all I could find that they did-

and they did absolutely nothing at all to highlight and support his evidence and prosecute his VA claim.

You are RIGHT-BE CAREFUL anyone getting a lawyer-

I have questioned the fee agreement I just received from a lawyer who I thought would handle Two of my claims-

the aggreement covers ALL of my claims-

Two of these claims( to include the one with the largest retro)are still under the old Civil War 10 buck lawyers fee laws.

One has never received a decision in over 5 years so cant file any NOD on that-and the other -the NOD was filed many years ago and I was never docketed or denied by the BVA on it-so I dont see how they can handle those 2 claims along with the others.

One claim is part of a DC investigation into the POA status anyhow-

The firm has not responded to me yet as to my email questions on the fee agreement. I dont see how they can legally represent all of my issues and the June 21,2007 Reg lawyer law clearly states that vets and widows can make a partial attorney POA election-

meaning a lawyer can handle one claim and any other claim remains without lawyer-as many of us filed NODs long before the reg date and are still at the RO.

Also-the OGC told me they have had to disbar a few lawyers over the years who represented veterans poorly at the BVA.

Very few-

because vets do not take the time to question their lawyers right away, then get little or no feedback from them, and then when they finally dump these types of lawyers-they do not complain to the VA-as to how the lawyer handled their case-

so the lawyers just go on to handle (poorly) other veterans claims.

A local lawyer without any VA claims experience at all (except for his personal claim)was whoopti do about my claims-that I just happened to bring up last year when he handled something else for me-

He recently requested more info on these claims-

I sent him the VA's own guidelines-

asking him either to join Project Salute or NOVA and then to take their courses to be fully accredited with the VA.

Havent heard from him since.

There are exemplary lawyers out there that help veterans-

you can search their names at the BVA and he CAVC web site to see how they handled claims.

If they aggressively prosecuted the claim-they will be mentioned usually in the decision narrative.

I am glad this post was made here by rthomass-

The contract I received was full of DO NOTS-

DO NOT send anything to VA after signing the POA, DO NOT call the VA, etc etc etc---this is often SOP but---

Between you and mean I am quite unwilling to give up total control of my main claim-I have the POA problem in process on that-and the VA has to deal directly with me at this point-and who knows that claim better then I do.I also dont see how they can take legal POA over it anyhow- NOD was filed in 2004.

these lawyers can handle my other claims-otherwise no deal unless I see a regulation I am unaware of regarding my main issue.

Why get an award with a lawyer on POA and then have the VA question their POA?

I am already involved in that problem with this AO claim.

Read everything carefully on those contracts.

Edited by Berta
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Berta the sad part about this firm is that one on the partners Kathy A. Lieberman is the NOVA treasurer! I personally called NOVA and told them of my low opinion of this lawyer. It just Galls me that NOVA of all organizations would have this firm and lawyer as a member...let alone the Treasure and a Board Director! Is there any justice in this world....guess not when the insane are running the asylum! Look this up on www.vetadvocates.com the NOVA site URL.

Edited by rthomass
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Yes she is- rthomass---did you speak to Rich personally about her? (Rich Cohen Exec Director NOVA)if you talk to him- tell Rich that Berta Simmons (Stardust Radio)had a similiar vet's problem with them-I can explain it to him if he asks.

Jim-the new regs are explained here:


All lawyers must be competent in VA case law before they represent veterans.

As far as I know the lawyers under the NOD regs must take a VA test - unless they already repped vets at the BVA and CAVC and already are in good legal standing with the VA.

The office of General Counsel Web site has the whole 9 yards on what a competent rep- is whether attorney or VSO or DAV, AL rep etc- and what the new VA regs call for as to having them all recertified.

The lawyer who wrote these new regs said it is not dependent on having reps take annual tests- it is dependent on something else-

all explained at the web site and I think I explained here before but guess hard to find in search-

The effective date of this new reg is April 9th 2008 retro to Jan 2008-

it is basically more oversight potential from the VA itself over vet reps and they way they do business.

This might well be the subject of my show with Jim Strickland next week at Stardust Radio-if you read his VA WAtchdog column you will see the email he is getting lately with vets who have had SO and vet rep problems.

Edited by Berta
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Here is the whole 9 yards at the OGC site on the attorney and bet rep regs


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Guest Vietnam Tanker

Lawyers, VSO's, I still say the best person to work your claim is YOU, noone else will put forth the effort you deserve and need. I will take the advise on HADIT every time

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