I often tell young people who are contemplating going to Law School that, to become a lawyer, one must accept a life of constant contentiousness. While “professional courtesy” in the field of practicing law is often spoken about, and courtroom decorum is indeed important to maintain, it is nevertheless a profession which faces controversy, contentiousness, debate, disagreement — and, yes, disagreeableness.
One might think that in the field of Administrative Law, such as Federal Disability Retirement law, where the singular issue is whether a Federal or Postal employee is eligible for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, that the level of confrontation and contentiousness may be limited. It is not. This is because the emotional, mental, financial and future security of an individual is at stake. At any given moment in time, the client who is counting on getting an approval from the Office of Personnel Management, may feel the anguish of the wait. It is up to the Attorney who represents the Federal or Postal employee to win the fight, and to know that so long as there is another day to fight, there is always a chance that the client will obtain the Federal Disability Retirement benefit that he or she rightfully deserves. Today or tomorrow is another day to fight, and it is another day of contentiousness which is worth it, because that is what we are paid to do.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire