Federal employee attorneys create and manufacture a parallel universe of statutory interpretation, legal argumentation, case-law citations, and extrapolations from esoteric provisions in arguing the “finer points” of law. Thus, it is a temptation for the lay person — the “non-lawyer” — to attempt to borrow from cases and take a stab at citing case-law and statutory authority in trying to garner support for his or her Federal Disability Retirement application.
In taking on a case at the Reconsideration Stage or the Merit Systems Protection Board, I have the opportunity to read some of the “legal arguments” which non-lawyers have attempted to make. While many such arguments are valid, some (i.e., too many) mis-cite the law, and often fail to understand and proffer the substantive import of what the cases are saying. On top of it all, I suspect that the Office of Personnel Management gets a bit annoyed when a non-lawyer applicant attempts to preach the law to another non-lawyer OPM Representative.
A word to the wise: let lawyers entertain themselves in the parallel universe of the law; let the doctors render their medical opinions; let the non-lawyers make the best arguments possible, in simple language.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire