Attorneys who regularly practice in local courts are far more likely to be successful in disability cases than lawyers who travel the country. Judges who decide disability cases are going to be more receptive to arguments from attorneys they know and trust than from outsiders.
A judge will respond better to an attorney he knows than one he hasn’t met or doesn’t frequently see, for a variety of reasons. These reasons make it imperative to hire an attorney who works near your residence.
Mostly it comes down to trust. Trust is accumulated over time and experience. When an attorney has spoken truthfully to a judge consistently, that attorney’s word is going to carry value. Judge’s remember they attorneys they deal with for both the good and bad. Conversely, a judge may view a lawyer new to the courtroom with suspicion. The new lawyer hasn’t built up the track record of trust to be taken with the necessary credibility to win a claimant’s case.
Likability also matters. Judges are human and subject to the same tendencies as all people. When a judge likes an attorney, that attorney is going to be received with an open mind and generosity. In a close case, a Judge’s positive feelings towards an attorney may sway the decision from unfavorable to favorable. An attorney from out of town won’t have the same luxury. An attorney from out of town won’t have cried the same tears and laughed the same laughter over years of experience as the local attorney has with the judges. Such experience is invaluable.
Judges are also likely to be more frank and honest about the case with an attorney he or she knows well. This insight will allow the attorney to tailor arguments towards the judge’s concerns. If the judge doesn’t know the attorney, this insight will not be readily available. Insight into how the judge feels about each case can easily be the difference between winning and losing. The insight can be the difference between a claimant walking out of court with a fully favorable decision as opposed to an unfavorable one.
A relationship with local judges may be the most critical asset an attorney has in fighting for a client’s disability benefits. Sometimes it’s more valuable than any one piece of evidence or any part of testimony from a particular client.