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Hilary scheduled to teach Continuing Education across Arkansas


I will speak about my experience as a Bipolar attorney for CLE credit at two locations in Arkansas.  On Friday, November 1 at 2:30pm I'll speak at the University of Arkansas School of Law in Fayetteville.  On Monday, November 18 I'll present at 12:00pm at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock's Bowen School of Law.  My talk is approved for 1 hour of Ethics CLE and it is free.  The talk is titled "Through the Open Door: A Bipolar Attorney Talks Mania, Recovery, and Heaven on Earth."  I'll have copies of my book of the same name for sale at the CLE for $12.00 (also available for purchase at Amazon).  The target audience is law students, professors, and attorneys, but both talks are open to the public.  

By speaking about my own struggles and eventual triumph over Bipolar Disorder, I hope to shine a light on mental illness and help remove the stigma associated with it.  Mental illness is not a death sentence, and with the proper treatment and support, anyone can beat mental illness and become a professional, spouse, parent, advocate, and friend.

I volunteer for Arkansas Judges and Lawyers Assistance Program which provides free treatment for lawyers, judges, and family members suffering from mental illness, addiction, and a variety of other illnesses.  I have found that advocating for mental health awareness and offering counsel to those suffering is a tonic, and as close to a cure as you can get.  

My personal insight into mental illness has proved a powerful tool in securing Social Security Disability benefits for my clients.  Few attorneys can relate to a client's manic or depressive episodes.  However, I can offer the compassion and understanding that clients seek and deserve.  

If you would like for me to speak to a group about my story, please contact me at the Chaney Law Firm.


Hilary to teach CLE at the Arkansas Bar Meeting

Hilary will be presenting a CLE entitled "Through the Open Door: A Bipolar Attorney Talks Mania, Recovery, and Heaven on Earth" at the Annual Arkansas Bar Meeting on June 13 in Hot Springs. She has told this personal story via speaking engagements over the last year, and she has written a book of the same title about her experiences which is due out on Amazon this summer.

Hilary calls upon her own triumph over bipolar disorder when advocating for her disabled clients who are seeking to secure disability benefits. She takes cases for clients suffering from a wide variety of impairments and will appeal merit-worthy cases to the highest court for disability cases. Hilary also gives back to the community when it comes to mental health advocacy: she is a volunteer and committee member for Arkansas Judges and Lawyers Assistance Program.

Please contact Hilary if you would like for her to speak at your event, and call our law firm if you need her to represent you in your disability appeal process.

Hilary, Nathan, and oral argument – It's not what you think


Ordinarily, the mention of husband and wife in the same sentence as the term "oral argument" isn't a good thing. However, Hilary and Nathan recently showed there is an exception to this rule!

Nathan argued a big truck collision case before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit on January 16 in St. Louis. In this case, the Chaney Law Firm is defending a jury verdict it won for a client in federal district court in Hot Springs in January 2012. One issue on appeal dealt with the routine use of medical visual aids based upon digitized x-rays and proton density MRIs. The other main issue on appeal was a procedural question concerning two professional defense witnesses that were excluded; the defense tried to call these new experts at the last minute because its original expert's theory of degeneration did not hold up under cross-examination. You can listen to Nathan's argument here.

Hilary argued a social security disability case before the Eighth Circuit on February 14 in Kansas City. Hilary's case involved issues of whether the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) gave the proper amount of weight to all the medical evidence. Hilary argued that the ALJ erred by only considering just five pages of medical records from just one doctor who said he didn't have enough information to fill out the disability paperwork, when hundreds of other pages of records from four other doctors showed our firm's client is truly disabled. Even the one doctor the ALJ relied upon prescribed narcotics on at least 13 different occasions, yet the ALJ found our client's pain was not severe enough to preclude work. This case truly shows why many people need legal representation when dealing with the Social Security Administration. You can listen to Hilary's argument here.

It is truly a high honor and great privilege to argue before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. Below are pictures from the courtrooms in St. Louis and Kansas City. Which has the better view?


Ticket to Work

Some people receiving SSD or SSI benefits think they have recovered enough to be able to work, but are afraid of losing benefits if they try and don't succeed.

Fortunately, the Social Security Administration has a Ticket to Work program that allows SSD/SSI beneficiaries to give work a try without risk of losing benefits. The program is called Ticket to Work, and it will allow a beneficiary to keep benefits while exploring employment, receiving vocational rehabilitation, or gaining work experience. Benefits only stop once the beneficiary begins earning enough to support him- or herself.

Visit the Ticket to Work program website for more information.