Nearly all my clients ask, “What do you think the outcome of my case will be?”
As someone who has represented over 7,500 clients since 1985, I know to evaluate each case individually.
I listen carefully as my client describes how his or her disability makes holding a job difficult or impossible. I want to know how the impairment affects his or her ability to communicate, follow instructions, complete tasks, and get along with co-workers, supervisors, and the public. What challenges do they have with attention, concentration, and focus?
Only after hearing a client’s story am I able to formulate a plan that increases the probability of my client’s success—the plan may include writing to their doctor, taking statements from family or friends, obtaining school records, or scheduling an evaluation by a psychologist.
Before the hearing I prepare each client for questioning so he or she will know what to expect. This helps them tell their story to the judge with accuracy and in detail.
I learned to listen during my 10 years in the mental health field prior to becoming a lawyer when I worked with children, adolescents, adults and families. Then, during my early years as a lawyer, I represented clients in landlord/tenant disputes, divorce cases, child custody, those fired from their jobs, and people charged with crimes.
In 1996, I opened Michael Armstrong Law in Albuquerque and focused on social security disability and employment law. For the last 8 years, I’ve practiced social security disability law exclusively.
A wise administrative law judge once told me “you have to evaluate each claim on it’s own merits.” I believe that being skilled in the law is only part of what it takes to represent clients successfully—honesty, compassion and maturity are the other attributes needed. These values guide my practice and are the ones I want my clients to encounter when they enter the doors of my firm.
Michael Armstrong received his law degree from the University of Toledo, Ohio in 1984 and his MA in Social Ecology from University of CA, Irvine in 1977. He has been licensed to practice law in New Mexico since 1996 and in Washington state since 1985. He grew up in southern California and in the last few months has been re-learning how to surf.