Old methods of operating are sometimes so ingrained that accepting a different paradigm is sometimes difficult. In normal circumstances, an individual who seeks the counsel and representation of an attorney would (and should) seek out a local attorney who is versed and experienced in the laws of one’s particular state. Most legal issues require the counsel and representation of the state within which the legal issue arose — whether it be contractual, tort, domestic relations, or other matters — and, indeed, an attorney is generally restricted to practicing law in the state in which he or she is licensed by.
In representing Federal and Postal employees in obtaining Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the Office of Personnel Management, however, the Federal or USPS Worker must understand that the issue to be litigated concerns a “Federal” issue, and not a state issue. As such, an attorney who specializes in representing Federal or Postal employees to fight for Federal Disability Retirement benefits, will normally not be a “local” attorney.
Because Federal Disability Retirement is a Federal issue, the fact that an attorney is licensed in a different state is irrelevant. The attorney certainly needs to be a licensed attorney — otherwise, such an attorney who is not licensed should not hold himself or herself out to be an attorney. For representation to obtain Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the Office of Personnel Management or, if the Federal or Postal employee has already filed, or been denied and filed a Request for Reconsideration with the Office of Personnel Management and was denied again and is now in need of filing an appeal to the Merit Systems Protection Board, the necessity of an attorney at any level of the process should focus upon the specialization and experience of the attorney in Federal Disability Retirement issues — and not on whether the attorney is “local” or not.
Indeed, in all likelihood, one will not find a “local” attorney who has even an inkling of an idea what Federal Disability Retirement law is all about. Paradigm shifts are difficult to accept, but they are nevertheless necessary in a world of ever-changing circumstances. While “going local” may be a great paradigm to adhere to in supporting local farms and local products, it is probably not a practical approach in attempting to secure Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the Office of Personnel Management.
Robert R. McGill, Attorney