When I first started working at Jarvis & Modun, Attorney Modun told me, “The good news is that there are dozens of discrete tasks that we do here, so you’ll never get bored! The bad news is that once you’ve mastered them, you’ll do them over & over again.” After a year, I still feel like I can relate more to the former statement than the latter. Representing claimants for Social Security Disability claims sometimes makes me feel like one of the blind men who has hold of the proverbial elephant. Claimants come to us at every stage of the game: pre initial application, maybe after a denial or two, or even at hearing level! Every claim is different, and I’m still learning. One thing that’s been helpful to me in understanding all there is to do here…Workers’ Compensation, long-term disability, short-term disability, personal injury, etc…has been carpooling with the attorneys—we often find ourselves still dissecting & discussing a case, even after hours.
My bachelor’s degree is in psychology, and to me one of the most fascinating and meaningful aspects of this work is hearing people’s stories. Our clientele is largely comprised of good people with strong work histories who want to work but are prevented by physical or mental impairments. I am motivated to work hard for these folks. I love nothing more than putting a ton of effort into a claim, working hard on behalf of—and with—a client, and then receiving a fully favorable decision in the mail. Or better yet, seeing one of the attorneys come back to the office after a hearing saying we got a decision on the record!
When we win a claim (OK, sometimes even when we don’t) we’ll get cookies in the office; our location on Pine Street in Burlington’s South End is surrounded by bakeries. We also like to keep things fun in the workplace by taking breaks to work on puzzles as a team. Attorney Modun & I like word puzzles best, but Attorney Jarvis beats everybody when it comes to logic puzzles. We often have music playing in the background here at the office. On the ground floor of the Maltex building, one of the only radio stations that comes in is UVM’s college radio station, WRUV. This suits us just fine as we all three tend to like eclectic sounding stuff.
When I’m not working part-time as a legal assistant, the rest of the week I produce local entertainment…right here in Vermont! (I’ve even gotten Attorney Jarvis & Attorney Modun to get in costume & get on stage before. I asked if I could post some funny pictures & videos of them performing, but…) When I find myself with any downtime between the law office and my work as a producer, I like to play trivia games, workout, read (I love the classics of literature and The New York Times), snowshoe in winter, and standup paddleboard or just find a good swimming hole in summer.