Why Hire CCK for Your VA Disability Appeal?
Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick LTD is a national leader in the field of Veterans Law, with decades of experience successfully representing Veterans before the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (CAVC), and the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.
Why do you need a lawyer for your VA disability appeal?
Unfortunately, veterans are often denied VA disability benefits for conditions caused by or incurred during their service to our country. You have earned these benefits and deserve a fair shot at the compensation you are owed. A VA-accredited lawyer or VA-accredited representative can help.
Why should you trust CCK with your VA disability benefits case?
CCK is a hub for thought leaders in the legal field of Veterans Disability Law. Collectively, our attorneys, agents, and practitioners have well over 200 years of experience representing disabled veterans and their families. CCK’s clients benefit from the diverse professional experiences and legal backgrounds of our attorneys and advocates, including veterans service organizations, non-profit organizations, and even the Department of Veterans Affairs. Our team has a long history of leadership in professional organizations and legislative efforts, making CCK uniquely positioned and equipped to advocate for successful outcomes for our clients.
And perhaps most importantly: this work is personal to us. Many members of Team CCK have personal connections to the veterans’ community. We are friends, family members, and spouses of veterans, and some members of our team are veterans themselves. We hold ourselves to the highest legal and ethical standards while ensuring that promises made to our clients are kept through focused, experienced, and compassionate advocacy.
There are a lot of options when it comes to representation for your VA claim, and we want you to make the best decision for you.
Questions to Ask a Representative
Any legal representative should be happy to answer some basic questions from a potential client. Here are a few important questions to ask someone before trusting them with your VA disability case:
1. Are you accredited by the Department of Veterans Affairs?
If the answer is no, keep looking. To legally represent veterans in their VA disability benefits case, individuals must be accredited by VA. CCK offers our clients the benefit of our collaborative approach to case work coupled with the expertise of the most VA-accredited attorneys, practitioners, and claims agents of any law firm in the United States. We currently have 41 VA-accredited individuals advocating on behalf of our clients every day.
2. How much do you charge?
Most accredited veterans’ advocates charge a contingency fee based on retroactive benefits recovered. If someone charges a fee based on future benefits: don’t hire them, that’s illegal. Our representation before the Department of Veterans Affairs (the Regional Office and Board of Veterans’ Appeals levels) is on a contingency basis, meaning that we do not get paid unless and until you get paid. Here’s some additional information on attorney fees and costs.
3. How much professional experience do you have?
If the answer is less than 3 years, keep looking. Veterans disability law is complex. Appealing a VA case involves demanding evidence requirements, strict deadlines, and a lot of legal jargon. We have personally represented over 10,000 veterans or family members before the Department of Veterans Affairs. We leverage our vast knowledge of veterans disability law, over 200 years of collective experience, and the resources necessary to build the strongest cases possible for our clients.
4. Do you take cases to Court?
If you receive a denial at the Board of Veterans’ Appeals, will your representative assist you with an appeal to Court? Not all accredited agents and attorneys represent veterans before both the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (CAVC). Experience before the CAVC allows an advocate to stay up to date on the court decisions that affect how the Board of Veterans’ Appeals and Regional Offices decide claims. CCK has successfully represented over 10,000 veterans and family members before the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims.
5. Do you outsource any of your legal work?
If the answer is yes, keep looking. At CCK, we personally handle every veteran’s disability case. All of our legal work is done by members of Team CCK in the United States of America.
6. Are you leaders in the Veterans Law professional community?
If the answer is no, keep looking. Our team has a long history of leadership in professional organizations and legislative efforts, making CCK uniquely positioned and equipped to advocate for successful outcomes for our clients.
- Together with Harvard Law School and Disabled American Veterans, CCK helped launch the Harvard Legal Clinic for Veterans.
- CCK helped launch the Veterans Disability Appeals Field Clinic at the United States District Court for the District of Rhode Island in partnership with Roger Williams University School of Law.
- Seven members of Team CCK belong to the National Organization of Veterans’ Advocates, 5 of whom are serving or have served on the Executive Board or on a committee assignment. CCK is proud to have a past NOVA President, Robert Chisholm, on our team.
- Our attorneys and practitioners have taught thousands of veterans’ advocates at over 75 conferences, presentations, webinars, and lectures how to win VA disability cases before the VA and the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims.
- 11 of our attorneys are active members of the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims Bar Association, having served in various leadership roles including 4 past-Presidents and the current President-Elect, Treasurer, and members of the Board of Governors.
- Members of our team are also active with the Federal Circuit Bar Association, to include two Former Chairs and a current Co-Chair of the Veterans Appeals Committee.
- Four of our attorneys are active members of the Federal Bar Association.
- CCK Partner Brad Hennings is a founding member, former Vice-President, and current President of the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims Historical Society.
7. Has your firm impacted the lives of thousands of veterans through precedent-setting legal advocacy?
The attorneys and advocates at CCK have been involved in legislative processes and landmark, precedent-setting cases that have benefitted the entire veterans’ community.
- AZ v. Shinseki, held that the absence of service records documenting an alleged sexual assault cannot be used to show that the assault did not occur, impacted thousands of veterans who are survivors of military sexual assault. The outcome of this decision means that veterans’ disability claims regarding MST cannot be denied due to lack of official documentation.
- Bailey v. Wilkie, ruled that VA must adjudicate entitlement to service connection for complications of the claimed disability, even if the vet did not explicitly file a claim for service connection for the complications. This means that VA should be looking at a veteran’s condition holistically and taking complications into consideration regardless of whether the veteran specifically asked for benefits for those complications.
- Murphy v. Wilkie, says that VA must liberally construe requests to reopen previously denied claims based on the symptoms claimed by the veteran, not just the specific diagnosis the veteran identified on the claim form.
- Morgan v. Wilkie says VA has to maximize a veteran’s benefits by considering separate ratings, analogous ratings, secondary service connection, total ratings based on unemployability, and any other way to fully compensate the veteran for all of their symptoms.
- Ray v. Wilkie held that VA has to look at things like a veteran’s ability to stand, sit, walk, focus, remember, get along with supervisors, show up for work, and be reliable and productive when deciding entitlement to unemployability (TDIU) benefits.
- CCK Founding Partner Robert Chisholm’s work on behalf of NOVA shaped legislation that helped thousands of veterans in the VA disability appeal process.
- To read more on our involvement with the veterans’ community, scholarships we offer, and non-profit donations and sponsorships, head to our CCK in Action page.
8. Have you won any awards or recognition?
We love what we do, and we are honored that our commitment and passion for serving our clients has been recognized by colleagues, peers, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims.
- CCK is recognized by U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers as one of the Best Law Firms in America. Our attorneys have been recognized by Super Lawyers, Best Lawyers, Martindale AV Preeminent, and America’s Top 100 Attorneys.
- Two CCK partners, Robert Chisholm and Barbara Cook, have been admitted to the National Organization of Veterans’ Advocates Hall of Honor and have both been awarded the prestigious Kenneth M. Carpenter Achievement Award for Excellence for making significant contributions to the field of Veterans Law.
- Robert Chisholm was honored by the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims with the Hart T. Mankin Distinguished Service Award in recognition of his 25 years of outstanding service to the Court.
- CCK Partner Brad Hennings was a 2016 Fellow in the Leadership VA program and is a member of the Leadership VA Alumni Association.
- CCK has been recognized as one of the Best Places to Work in Rhode Island since 2013. We are proud to celebrate the work we do and of our team of dedicated professionals.
9. Do you have examples of cases that you’ve won?
A few examples of client success stories can be read on our Case Wins page, or browse through some testimonials we have received from clients. Keeping our clients’ information safe and secure is of utmost importance to us, and we always respect our client’s privacy. To protect our clients’ confidentiality, we never share any client stories without their permission.
Let the CCK Team Fight for the Benefits You Deserve
You or your loved one served our country with honor and the Department of Veterans Affairs promised to take care of you and your family. It is our mission to make sure they keep that promise. CCK would be honored for the opportunity to get you the benefits to which you are rightfully entitled. If you have been denied VA disability benefits, contact us for a free consultation to determine if we can assist you.