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Bench Bar Committee on Social Security Disability Appeals


The Committee has produced four podcasts, approximately 15 minutes each. Attorneys can obtain one CLE ethics credit from the Washington State Bar Association for listening to all four segments in this series. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Committee chose an audio-only format to provide access to this informative series, featuring attorneys and judges discussing important ethics topics. Written materials and outlines are also provided. The WSBA Activity ID for requesting CLE credit is 1164520.

Podcast 1: Practice Tips for Effective and Ethical Legal Writing
In this podcast, Magistrate Judge Theresa Fricke will discuss ethics in Social Security disability appeals practice specific to writing. This is a panel presentation with Chris Dellert, plaintiffs’ attorney, and Joe Langkamer, a Government attorney. The discussion will involve Washington’s Rules of Professional Conduct (RPC) with respect to briefing practices in federal court.

Podcast 2a & 2b: Ethical Considerations Regarding the Respective Roles of the Claimant and the Attorneys for Both Sides
(2a: Attorneys for the Claimant; 2b: Attorneys for the Administration)
In these podcasts, Magistrate Judge J. Richard Creatura will have a panel discussion about ethical considerations regarding the respective roles of the claimant, the Administration, and attorneys for both sides. In podcast 2a, we will hear the perspective of Victoria Chhagan and Amy Gilbrough, attorneys who represent claimants. In podcast 2b, we will hear the perspective of Stephen Dmetruk, an Administration attorney.

Podcast 3: Ethical Considerations in Case Management
In this podcast, Magistrate Judge David Christel will have a panel discussion with Erin Highland and Leanne Martinez about Washington Rules of Professional Conduct 1.3 and 3.2. The panelists will share their experiences, challenges, and best practices of case management.

Combined Resource Materials for the Podcast Series.

United States District Court for the
Western District of Washington
Bench Bar Committee on Social Security
Disability Appeals

Members: The Honorable Tana Lin, District Judge (co-chairperson); The Honorable Theresa L. Fricke, Magistrate Judge (co-chairperson); Eric Smits; Victoria Chhagan; Nicole Jabaily; Kristin Johnson; Chelsea Davis.

The Social Security Disability Bench Bar Committee is comprised of representatives from the Court, attorneys who specialize in Social Security practice for the plaintiffs’ bar, and government counsel from the Office of General Counsel and the U.S. Attorney’s Civil Division. The Committee is a problem-solving sounding board and serves as an advisory group to help the Court implement and obtain feedback about proposed changes to protocols. This Committee also collaborates with the Social Security disability legal community to host Continuing Legal Education events.

Social Security Case Resources