My good friend Vicki sent me a link the other day that really rolled my socks down. I was mortified to think how this impacts the backlog at the BVA for docketing our appeals. Mind you, I take some of these internet sites with a wheelbarrow of salt grains. This one would be legitimate from my standpoint. Either that or Notreallyalawyer and his buds are the most elaborate hoaxers of all time.
The website jdunderground.com explores many post doctorate jobs and their focus of law. This particular vein is a discussion of how overprivileged, underworked little snowflakes’ real life crises are dealt with every day in the real world of the VA’s movers and shakers at the Board of Veterans Appeals. Just imagine if all these disgruntled souls were required to be Veterans with at least two continuous years of active duty to qualify for the job.
Check it out.
Unfortunately, this impacts us “little people”-i.e. Vets waiting on the Group W bench for years. Snowflakes aside, I know what it takes to get a law degree-seven years and an ungodly student loan to pay off. I cheated and became a VA Agent so no big Pell grants for me! For those reasons, I can more than commiserate with their displeasure at being saddled up with a hellish workload and an unforgiving agency bent solely on production over accuracy. This culminated in the complaint here:
The thought that comes to my mind is…why on earth would any soul with that much knowledge of 38 USC/38CFR squander it all at 810 Yellow Brick Road (at the corner of Delay and Deny)? Why, with that certain knowledge used to deny, could one not eke out an equally above-average financial existence in far less stressful conditions as a … yep… VA attorney for Vets? Pick a state to practice in. It’s not geographically exclusive. No Errors and Omissions insurance. Form an S Corp. and pay 21%. Work from home on your schedule. Learn how to make Macrame Beer hats. Take up Yoga and Yogurt. Find antique CUEs and make hundreds of thousands with your aquired knowledge. #Doitdude.
Currently, there are far too many Vets who finally arrive here, Hadit, and other sites and hear the deja vu rejoinder- “I can’t get ahold of my rep. He won’t return my phone calls.” Hey. Remember those same VSOs have been doing their dangdest to deter the participation of attorneys and private agents in this business since The War of 1812. We get a shot at it after the VSOs finish reducing it to Hamburger Helper at the BVA. Or, if the Vet finally wakes up to the need for a nexus or IMO, he’s usually waiting in line for a docket number at the BVA and discovering the need on Hadit or here. Ruh-oh Rorge! AstroVet Need Nexus faaaaaaaast!
The obvious 800-lb. gorilla in the VA living room is war-continuous war in Southwest Asia. It is now becoming an trans-generational phenomenon. Fathers who served in 1991 have sons serving in Afraqistan. Count ’em folks. 17 years of on again, off again combat not to mention a shit ton of PTSD claims. This phenomenon has been variously described as ‘the lump in the python’ to VA’s descriptive Adobe 9- “an unforeseen seventeen-year glitch in the statistics which no one could have programmed in to the equation.” VA fully expects this cohort to begin decreasing in 2019 based on their prediction models.
Business demand hates a vacuum. Someone will fill it. NOVA ought to advertise there. Imagine if you turned loose two or three thousand more attorneys into this VA fray. Seems like the easiest to train to think pro-Vet rather than the obverse would be those already entrusted with our appeals. Oddly, in most cases, it boils down to whipping up a good IMO at the BVA at the eleventh hour to save the day. Always remember. In ex parte jurisprudence, you want to be the very last to submit your killer IMO. This deprives those BVA staff attorneys of the opportunity to rebut it at the eleventh hour. Protect it from a remand back to the AOJ and those chowderheads are going to be forced to eat it in order to make their 2.5 appeals per day quota.
I was taught once by a warrior to always think about how your opponent operates. What is his/her Prime Directive? What motivates them? How do your defeat them or neutralize them as a threat? What are their ROEs? If you know their limits, you can exploit them. In the legal jungle, you bide your time and they’ll eventually let their guard down.
VA raters and DROs are not morons but they do have a propensity to deny all but the most obvious without clear and convincing evidence to rebut their mistakes. Absent even rudimentary bipartisanship, you make your stand at the BVA. Present a good VA 9 argument and a SME review and a waiver of review in the first instance at the VARO to keep the DRO’s mitts off it. Sit back, remodel the kitchen and convert the garage into that fourth bedroom w/ bath. Before you know it the oldest kid is ready for college and you get TDIU and P&T. Problem solved.
The teaching lesson today is to give these tired overworked, mentally stressed out VA staff attorneys an easy way out and a simple path to your success that they feel they figured out by themselves with Phonics®. Arrange it so they can ‘sound it out’ legally. In truth, the last thing Veterans of all stripes want to see is an exodus from the BVA’s staff ranks. Golly, no. The backlog would become enormouser.
G. Alexander Graham, Non-Attorney Practitioner VA #39029 POA E1P Accepted CAVC