"I know at the end of the day when I sign a decision as a veterans law judge that my council and I, have given our best shot at giving a veteran resolution of a question that he or she has brought to the government.
If I sign a decision, what is satisfying to me is when I can look at the decision and say I've taken the veteran seriously. I've given him a fair shake, a straight answer as quickly as I can. That is, that's the real payoff for me, some resolution for the veteran. You really get a picture, as does the council, when the council sits in on these hearings, of what the veteran is all about.
You know, veterans, they want, at the very minimum, they want respect. What a veteran does is he comes to us with a vision, with a memory of what his or her military service is about.
The primary difference between VA and non-government law practices is, is that we are a non-adversarial, paternalistic system that is regulated by law. Weighing the testimony, the accounts of friends of the veteran, the veteran himself, herself. Ascertaining the disability levels of veterans, and working very, very closely with judges, and other council.
When our lawyers come in as associate council, they by and large, spend the first year doing cases. They spend the first year at their desk learning the law. Working with their judge. Working with other council. You're going to be looking at the lives of veterans, from the time they entered military service, until today.
It's not the kind of job where you'll be tied to your desk for the remainder of your days. If you have drive, a little fire, if you have some curiosity you'll move.
For me personally, it's a continuation of my military service. It's my service to the country.
It is also a job where I personally can be interested and be concerned and be enthused and, and curious about history, about medical science, and about my country. You know lawyers; lawyers are what might be called passionate people.
So if you're a passionate person, if you're interested about government, if you're interested about the relationship between government and people, this is the kind of job where you can do something about that. You can help to take care of veterans.”