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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 discussed ethics in Social Security disability appeals practice specific to writing. This was a panel presentation with Chris Dellert, plaintiffs’ attorney, and Joe Langkamer, a Government attorney. The discussion involved 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 led a panel discussion about ethical considerations regarding the respective roles of the claimant, the Administration, and attorneys for both sides.  Podcast 2a provides the perspective of Victoria Chhagan and Amy Gilbrough, attorneys who represent claimants. Podcast 2b, provides the perspective of Stephen Dmetruk, an Administration attorney.

Podcast 3: Ethical Considerations in Case Management
In this podcast, Magistrate Judge David Christel led a panel discussion with Erin Highland and Leanne Martinez about Washington Rules of Professional Conduct 1.3 and 3.2. The panelists shared 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 Grady J. Leupold, Magistrate Judge (co-chairperson); Eric Smits; Victoria Chhagan; Nicole Jabaily; Becca Cohen; Maria Manalac.

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.


The Annual Bench-Bar CLE on Social Security Appeals Practice in the Western District of Washington

Thursday, December 12, 2024

CLE program:  1:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Reception:   4:30 - 5:30 p.m.

Stay tuned - further information about the CLE program will be posted here in the coming months.




Social Security Case Resources