I tell my Social Security Disability clients that the hearing is their chance to let the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) walk a mile in my client's shoes. This is done through preparation. I want my clients to feel at ease when we go before an ALJ, because my client can put their best foot forward when they are not stressed. Most people have never gone before an ALJ and are nervous. To help with the nerves, I usually sit down with my Social Security Disability clients four to five times throughout the appeals process. This helps me clarify the issues and point out the pros and cons of my client's case.
I try to get to know my Social Security Disability clients before we walk into the hearing room. For example, some of my clients are chatterboxes and others do not like to talk. Some of my clients are not good historians so we go over their medical history repeatedly. By getting to know my clients, I know how to best represent them before the ALJ. Besides getting to know my clients, they get to know me. My clients are at ease because they get a good idea of who I am and how I approach their case. It also puts my clients at ease because they know I know about them and what needs to be pointed out to the ALJ.