On August 15, 1983, I started as a young associate attorney with a Brooklyn law firm named Pasternack Popish and Burton. I had just left my first law job at a general practice firm, with the solid conviction that learning and juggling many different kinds of cases in different areas of the law wasn’t for me. Although going in I had almost no idea what practicing Workers’ Compensation or Social Security Disability law was about, specializing in just one or two areas seemed, to me, to be a better fit.
Well, I must have been right, because here I am still representing injured and disabled workers in 2013. Today marks 30 years since I started as a Workers’ Comp/SSD lawyer, and I have seen almost everything in those 30 years. One constant, however, has been my endless joy and satisfaction at what I do. I feel very blessed to have found something that has paid the bills while at the same time challenged me intellectually and allowed me to truly help those who need help. I was brought up in a home where the underdog was always exalted, and certainly in my line of work I fight for the underdog—the injured and disabled worker—every day.
Today I cross-examined a City of New York psychiatrist (read: hired gun) who examined my client exactly once and decided that although he didn’t perform any tests of any kind, he just KNOWS that my client has no psychiatric disability. This scenario could well have been in 1983 (God knows, I think this quack was doing the same thing when I started) so it just shows that although many things have changed in 30 years, many remain the same. We still in 2013 have multiple doctors who can examine the same injured worker and come to completely opposite conclusions regarding that worker’s “degree of disability”, and we still have Judges who then must decide whether that injured worker gets a lot of money, a little, or nothing at all.
It’s been a pleasure being a Workers’ Compensation and Social Security Disability lawyer for the past 30 years. I sincerely hope that I can keep fighting for the injured and disabled for many, many more.
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