I had a stretch of time this summer where our little Social Security disability law firm had very few hearings scheduled, due to slowdowns at the Portland, Maine and Manchester, New Hampshire hearing offices. I devised a four-point strategy to use the extra time of our two lawyers, our paralegal, and our legal assistant.
Now that Labor Day is around the corner, we are back to a more normal hearing schedule. I thought it was worth taking a look at how the strategy worked out. Each of the four points is discussed below:
1. Get a head start on the claims that will be scheduled in the Fall
We are in great shape for our September and October hearings. But as it turned out, it was not much of head start on what we would have done anyway. We were prepared a little earlier than usual. So no big deal on this item.
2. Write "on the record" requests for every appropriate claim
We filed several on the record requests, but only a few of them were granted. I don't know why more of the OTR requests were not granted, but the claims that were not approved are basically now all set for hearing. We will continue to focus on these OTR requests, because they are a very efficient use of our time. I feel pretty good about this item.
3. Redouble our efforts to communicate frequently with our clients
We talked with our clients, updated them on status (and received updates from them), and put a medical source statement form in the hand of everybody with an upcoming doctor's visit. We also captured as many client email addresses as possible, so that we can stay in touch that way as well. This was time very well spent, and is an ongoing effort. As a result of our efforts, we are making progress earlier in the case, and even more claims are ready for an OTR request.
4. Focus on outreach
Our excellent ebook, 10 steps to prepare for your Social Security disability hearing, was released in July, and has been downloaded hundreds of times since then. Regular visitors may have noticed some minor changes to the look of this blog, and there is a new New Hampshire Social Security Lawyer website. Our outreach efforts continue apace.
Overall, it wasn't as big of an activity gap as I feared back in June. We stayed busy, enjoyed our Summer, and made good progress in the four areas described above.