Readers may by now be aware of the fact that Binder & Binder, the self-proclaimed “America’s Most Successful Social Security Disability Advocates” has recently filed bankruptcy.  If you are represented by or are considering retaining Goss & Fentress for your Social Security disability appeal, should you be concerned?

We are not Binder & Binder.  Here’s why.

  1. We are not disability advocates.  In 2004, the Social Security Administration relaxed rules and made it easier for non-attorneys to “advocate” for disability claimants in disability appeals. The theory at the time apparently was that more cases could be put through the court system if there were more representatives available to handle cases.  There simply weren’t enough experienced disability lawyers who would “feed the beast” with the assembly line approach to the administration of justice that SSA felt it needed.

This rule change was the foundation for creating the business model exemplified by Binder & Binder. The model is one of mass representation of disability claimants by “advocates”, who do not have law licenses and generally do not have professional training that would be the equivalent of degreed and licensed attorneys.  Although Charles Binder and Harry Binder are themselves New York attorneys, the company is largely owned by H.I.G. Capital, a private equity firm. Corporate “advocacy” groups rely on enormously expensive multimedia advertising to sign up clients.  Their non-attorney “advocates” are traveled all over the country to appear in court with clients they meet for the first time at the court house door. Costs are kept down in large part by eliminating experienced attorneys from the corporate expense sheet.

Goss & Fentress is owned by its six attorney members. One of us will be representing you.  Highly trained paralegals help us develop the evidence in your case, but we do not employ “advocates” to do our courtroom work. When you hire us to be your attorneys, you get us. It’s that simple.

  1. Goss & Fentress is a law firm, not a big business. While we do some marketing to let people know we have a Social Security disability law practice, most of our clientele is referred to us by former clients, their friends and families, health care professionals and law firms who know our attorneys and have seen our work. We practiced law long before these corporate advocacy groups came along in 2004, and long before the volume of disability claims reached such high levels in recent years. Our success does not depend on mass marketing and we don’t have a huge clientele that can’t be professionally and personally served.

Goss & Fentress relies on its reputation in the communities we serve for our success in the practice of law. We are confident this will always stand us in good stead.

  1. Winning is the key. With enormous marketing costs and lots of debt service, these corporate “advocacy” groups have depended on overwhelmed administrative law judges with huge workloads and high award rates to win enough claims to pay expenses and corporate debts.  That era is ending.  The courts are under enormous political pressure to stop paying disability cases, and they are responding with greater denial rates than in past years. Judges’ dockets are also being reduced, with increasing backlogs of unadjudicated claims reemerging as a problem nationwide. As a result, for these corporate “advocacy” groups, businesses revenues are down, expenses are up and profit margins are vanishing.

At Goss & Fentress, our attorneys have never relied on overworked judges being the key to winning.  Winning is the result of being prepared with the evidence and putting years of experience in trial advocacy directly to work in the courtroom.  That formula is still working for us.

Should you be concerned? There are one of a very few Norfolk law firms representing Social Security clients for over thirty years. Rest assured that we will continue the fight for your disability rights.