AuthorScott M. Riemer/Jennifer L. Hess
         
either during the initial application phase or during one of the
appeal phases. e best way to avoid litigation is to prepare the
client’s application and/or appeal in anticipation of litigation. When
you have a well-supported claim and appeal and signal to the insurer
(by your thorough preparation) that you would litigate if you have to,
insurers are more likely to pay the claim and save litigation for someone
else’s client. Moreover, if in the unlikely case, the insurer requires you
to bring litigation, you are well prepared to prevail in that litigation.
ERISA litigations are like no other. ey have their own rules, pro-
cedures, and standards. In some ways, they are easier than individual
disability insurance cases litigated in state court. While you do not have
the incentive of bad faith insurance damages, that is oset by the likeli-
hood of an attorneys fee award if you prevail. Moreover, because most
cases are resolved by either a motion for summary judgment or judgment
on the record, the costs of litigation usually are much lower. ere usually
is no need to take extensive discovery and pay for expensive medical
and vocational witnesses. Because of these advantages, we often are
more willing to litigate an ERISA disability case in federal court, than a
comparable case for individual disability benets in state court.
e bottom line is that a lawyer can make a nice living in the highly
specialized and niche area of ERISA disability claims and litigation,
and in so doing provide much help to clients in great need. It is highly
rewarding work on many levels.

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