The Practice of Social Security Disability Law - Part 2

Course Description

Part 2 of the course focuses on representation tips and practical skills. Participants will gain insight to the levels of review of the administrative process by former Social Security Administration employees and/or current Social Security Disability Law practitioners and learn basic principles in the effective and ethical representation of claimants. Participants then will use a simulated case to question a claimant and vocational expert at a practice hearing and receive feedback from a retired Administrative Law Judge.

Target Audience

  • New Eligible for Direct Payment Non-Attorneys (EDPNA)
  • New practitioners who recently took the EDPNA examination
  • New attorney practitioners
  • Recent hires at firms practicing Social Security Disability Law
  • Recent graduates of law school and paralegal school

Learning Outcomes

  • Gain insight into effective representation in the administrative process
  • Question a claimant and vocational expert in a practice hearing

Cost and Refund Policy

Part 2 of the course costs $800. Individuals who register and pay prior to April 30 will receive a $50 discount. Payment must be made prior to the start of the course. You may receive a full refund if you withdraw from the course by 5:00 p.m. Eastern on May 31, 2019.

Continuing Legal Education (CLE)

If you are interested in CLE, please reach out to us. With sufficient notice, we may be able to apply for CLE in your jurisdiction. We, however, make no representation that this course will qualify for CLE in any particular jurisdiction. If we seek CLE in a jurisdiction, we will post that information on this page.

If you wish to personally request CLE credit in your jurisdiction, please reach out to us so that we can make our best efforts to assist you.

Technical Information

We use Adobe Connect for our course, and you will have to download the application to attend.

You can download the application for Windows and for Mac. You can download the application for mobile devices, but we would not recommend it.We think that the course is best viewed on a desktop or a laptop computer. Mac users have reported no problems using Adobe Connect.

After downing the application, you should perform a diagnostic test to ensure that there are no computer or network issues. We do not anticipate that you will have any problems downloading the application or performing the diagnostic test. Contact us if you experience any problems.

You can listen to the presentation through your computers or by phone. We will provide a toll number that you can use. A toll number, however, may result in fees for you. Many individuals have access to unlimited cell service or an unlimited personal/business landline and,therefore, will likely not have any fees with using a toll number. Regardless, you are responsible for any fees associated with using the toll number and should verify prior to the course whether you will experience any fees.

Accessibility Features

Adobe Connect has accessibility features for individuals with visual, auditory, and mobility issues. You can learn more about these features HERE.

We can also provide closed captioning services. We will not provide closed captioning services unless requested.

Please contact us to assist you with any accessibility features.

Craig Ormson


With more than 14 years of experience at the Social Security Administration, Craig knows first-hand the intense, careful craft of serving as a successful Social Security Disability law attorney. He served as the lead agency counsel on several high-profile Federal regulations, Federal class actions, and Agency initiatives, and has argued before several Federal Courts of Appeals and District Courts. Craig has a Juris Doctorate from the University of Wisconsin Law School, where he was the Editor-in-Chief of the Wisconsin International Law Journal. He is a licensed attorney in the State of Wisconsin.

Honorable David G. Hatfield (retired)


Judge Hatfield worked in the Social Security Administration from 1976 until his retirement in 2012, serving in such key positions as the Acting Chief Judge, Assistant Regional Chief Judge, Hearing Office Chief Judge for the Seven Fields Hearing Office, Hearing Office Chief Judge for the Pittsburgh Hearing Office, Administrative Appeals Judge with the Appeals Council, and Director of the Office of Civil Actions. Judge Hatfield has written and taught extensively in his field. He was a faculty member for new Administrative Law Judge training since 1990, and was in charge of Supplemental Training for all new Administrative Law Judges. He has testified before Congress regarding the Social Security disability program, and has been a frequent speaker on Social Security matters. He received his B.A with high distinction (Phi Beta Kappa) from Indiana University and his J.D. from George Mason University School of Law.

Robert E. Rains, Professor of Law Emeritus


Robert E. Rains, J.D. Harvard 1974, is a Professor of Law Emeritus at the Pennsylvania State University Dickinson School of Law in Carlisle, PA, where he taught a seminar on Law and Individuals with Disabilities from 1980 to 2012. He founded the law school’s Disability Law Clinic in 1985, and was its director for almost three decades. In the clinic, supervised upper-level law students represented indigent clients, mostly in claims for SSI, at all administrative levels, as well as in federal court. Prof. Rains has lectured widely on Social Security and SSI law and practice to law students, lawyers, and Social Security Administrative Law Judges. His writings on this area of law have appeared in numerous professional and academic journals. His article, “Professional Responsibility and Social Security Representation: The Myth of the State-Bar Bar to Compliance with Federal Rules on Production of Adverse Evidence,” 92 Cornell L. Rev. 363 (2007), was cited by the Social Security Administration (SSA) when it adopted its 2015 “all evidence” regulations. SSA designated Prof. Rains as a “leading scholar in this area.” 80 FR 14833 (March 20, 2015). A longstanding member of the National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives (NOSSCR), he was elected to its Board of Directors in 2002. He has authored or co-authored several amicus briefs to the United States Supreme Court on behalf of NOSSCR on various cases on Social Security and SSI law, including Sullivan v. Zebley, 493 U.S. 521 (1990), regarding children’s SSI; Sims v. Apfel, 530 U.S. 103 (2000), regarding issue waiver; and United States v. Windsor (2013), the challenge to the provision in the “Defense of Marriage Act” which denied all federal benefits based on marriage to persons in state-recognized same-sex marriages.

John S. Whitelaw


John Whitelaw is the Advocacy Director at Community Legal Aid Society, Inc. in Wilmington, Delaware. Founded in 1946, CLASI is a statewide nonprofit law firm whose mission is to combat injustice through creative and persistent civil legal advocacy on behalf of vulnerable and underserved Delawareans. CLASI is also Delaware's designated Protection and Advocacy agency for individuals with disabilities, one of only two such combined legal aid and P & A programs in the country. Previously John was Co-Director of the Aging and Disabilities unit at the North Philadelphia office of Community Legal Services, Inc of Philadelphia. He was with CLS for almost twenty years. For much of his career John has represented clients in matters involving the Department of Public Welfare and the Social Security Administration. John has represented claimants at all administrative levels and in federal and state court. John has been a presenter at many national and regional trainings. John previously worked for legal aid programs in Wilmington DE (1995—1997), Beckley WV (1990-1995) and Minneapolis MN (1987-90). He also worked for the Federal Public Defender Association in Philadelphia in the Capital Habeas Unit (1997-1998). John received his law degree from Stanford Law School in 1986. He graduated from the College of William and Mary in 1983 where he majored in History.

Terry Willis


Terry Willis is an Oklahoma based Social Security Disability Representative serving the entire state of Oklahoma, with offices in Oklahoma City and Lawton. He has extensive experience in government and most recently managed one of Oklahoma’s largest social security law practices. Prior, Terry served as a Social Security Disability Examiner for the State of Oklahoma Disability Determination Division. He also spent 10 years with the Federal Reserve Bank and briefly served as a police officer.

How does this course help me as an employer?

To paraphrase a popular sentiment, if you think it is expensive to train a good employee, try a bad one.

This course provides you with significant economic benefits as an employer. Our course should reduce the costs and time spent in hiring and training an employee, and minimize the risk of employee turnover.  

How can this course reduce the costs and time spent in hiring and training an employee?

Our course offers an efficient way for employers to fill job openings. Employers are often flooded with resumes from unsolicited applicants or in response to a job posting on a national job board. It can be very time-consuming to find applicants who possess even the minimum qualifications.  Rather than reach out to the world at large, you may be proactive in reaching out to our participants to find more qualified applicants.

Our course also offers a more efficient way to train new professionals. Many educational institutions provide little or no training in Social Security Disability law. Since Social Security Disability law is a very unique field, the initial learning curve is steep. This is problematic because many Social Security practices are small, and training takes time away from fee-generating activities.

In assisting employers in hiring and training, an individual who has completed our course should hit the ground running because he or she will have already gained practice, through simulated cases, in tasks that are commonly performed when representing a claimant. This advantage should lead to more satisfied clients and improve the practice’s profitability.

How does this course reduce the risk of employee turnover?

Our course offers a more efficient way to find professionals who want to have a career in Social Security Disability law and who possess the skills needed to stay on the job. New hires will generally have no knowledge of Social Security Disability law or the tasks involved and, as a result, may soon conclude that Social Security Disability law is not the path for them. In contrast, we provide course participants with information about the field before they enroll in the course, and also expose them to the tasks that they would perform on the job.  

Does this mean that participants who have completed your course will require no further training?

No. Our course covers the topics and skills that will form the foundation needed by a practitioner in Social Security Disability law.

If I hire someone who has taken your course, won’t I have to retrain them?

We think that our course will complement your office’s way of doing things. We provide the basic knowledge and practical skills that a new professional needs to learn before they are ready to move on to more advanced Social Security Disability law concepts. For example, it is difficult for a new employee to learn your office’s procedure for evaluating symptoms when that employee does not even know the five-step sequential evaluation process. We provide the training that readies a new employee to better learn your office’s way of doing things.

Can you guarantee that I will be able to hire someone who has taken your course?

No. Although we believe that individuals who have completed our course will be more desirable employees, we cannot make any guarantees.

Can I hire someone and then send them to your course?


I’m interested in hiring someone who has taken your course. What do I do next?

You can contact us at If you have a job posting ready, we can circulate it among our course participants. If you do not have a job posting ready, we can work with you to create one for our participants. If a participant is interested in your posting, he or she will contact you.

Sessions and instructors are subject to change.

Last updated March 25, 2019

Day 1 - Tuesday, June 4, 2019 (11:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. Eastern)


Day 2 - Wednesday. June 5, 2019 (11:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. Eastern)

II. ETHICS IN SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY LAW - Professor of Law Emeritus Robert E. Rains
V. ASK THE EXPERTS SESSION - Honorable David G. Hatfield (retired), John S. Whitelaw

Day 3 - Tuesday, June 11, 2019 (2:00 - 4:00 p.m. Eastern)


JUNE 6-7, JUNE 10-14

Practice hearings of Kirk and Vocational Expert (scheduled individually) - Honorable David G. Hatfield (retired), Honorable Michael Heitz (retired)

Click here to view Part 1 of the course

Register Here

You may also like...

Free Presentation - Appealing Social Security Disability Decisions

A how-to in securing remands and reversals from the Appeals Council for your clients.


April 23, 2019

The Practice of Social Security Disability Law - Parts 1 and 2

Core knowledge + Representation Tips + Practical Skills


May 21, 2019

Practical Social Security Disability Law Training

Immersive learning for current and future Social Security Disability Law practitioners