It may sound harsh; it may even sound “mean”; but I often tell my potential clients that I am not their therapist, doctor, or empathy-advisor. I am their attorney. When advising people to respond to an Office of Personnel Management denial with some “discretion”, it is often difficult for an individual who is so closely tied with his or her own case, to remain objective and detached. Yet, detachment is the mark of professionalism, and that is why the old adage is true — that an individual who represents himself in court has a fool for a client.
My job as an attorney who represents Federal and Postal employees to obtain Federal Disability Retirement benefits under FERS & CSRS must be guided with a focus of understanding the factual context, the medical conditions, the type of job, the symptomatologies manifested by the medical conditions, and apply the law governing disability retirement issues.
If I become a therapist, it detracts from my focus; if I become an empathy-advisor, I become “attached”, as opposed to de-tached. That is not to say that I will not listen to the relevant medical background (note the confusing double-negative, which merely means that yes, I will listen, to some extent) — I certainly will. But only to the extent that will allow me to win the case for my client. For, that is my job: to get an approval from the Office of Personnel Management. If I am successful at that, then my client will have gained all the needed empathy of the world: a semblence of financial security.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire