Gillette Law - January 2019

Call Now! 757-220-4529





Happy New Year’s from all of us at the Gillette Law Group, PLLC! We hope you are having a great start to 2019, and to those who’ve made New Year’s resolutions, we wish you all the luck in the world! In the spirit of new beginnings, we’re acting on a resolution of our own: improving our communications policy to better serve you. At the Gillette Law Group, PLLC, we help people make smart decisions to improve their lives. As a result, timely and effective communication is a top priority for us. Our promise to you is this: While we are working on your case, our case managers, legal nurse, and I will not take any unscheduled inbound phone calls. This is a practice used by many law firms, and I’d like to explain our reasons for this policy. Over the past year, it became increasingly clear that my team and I were letting our days be controlled by the telephone. We always want to be available for clients that have questions or concerns, but we were frequently dropping whatever it was we were doing to hop on the line and help directly. While we had the best intentions in doing this, we realized that there was such a thing as being overly available. Making the effort to take all these calls was interfering with our ability to give you and your case the attention you deserve.

business day. If you need to talk with us, call 757-220-4529 to schedule an appointment.

While we handle most inquiries over the phone, we do like to meet our clients face to face. If you wish to come by the office, please call and schedule an appointment so we can set aside time to give you the attention you deserve. In every interaction with our firm, we want you to feel respected and cared for by experienced professionals who truly enjoy helping you improve your life. We are always interested in hearing how we can better serve you, our clients. We will also continue to remain proactive in our communication with you. As always, we will be mailing out information to you at every stage of the appeals process. In fact, you should have received our calendar magnets by now, which can help you track important dates for your case. If you haven’t received this in the mail, please let us know! We’d be happy to send you one!

“In every interaction with our firm, we want you to feel respected and cared for by experienced professionals who truly enjoy helping you improve your life.”

If you have a scheduled appointment with us, the last thing you want is for your case manager, our legal nurse, or myself to leave mid-meeting to take a phone call from another client. Similarly, when we sit down to work on your case, we want to give it our full attention without being pulled away to answer unrelated questions. To help us extend this courtesy to all of our clients, we ask that you use our phone system to direct your call to the appropriate person to best help you. My team and I understand that you may be anxious about your case, and that questions can crop up at any time. Our staff can provide many answers when it comes to questions about the process and paperwork. If you have a more case-specific question, simply leave us a detailed message, and you will receive a return call by the end of the next

N e x t D o o r Bu

–Brian Gillette

Call Now! (208) 888-8888 • 1 757-220-4529 |

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Give Gifts to Loved Ones If you have children, they will undoubtedly want to keep a few cherished mementos and precious possessions. Deciding who will keep what can be a sensitive subject, so you’ll need to devise an equitable way to divvy up the goods. Some families engage in the process collaboratively, but there should always be some communication before anything is thrown out. Your kids may value certain items more than you ever realized. If you suspect a certain heirloom could be a source of contention, it’s best to hold on to it and make it part of your estate plan. Only Keep the Essentials After completing the first three steps, you should be left with only those items you actually use and those that have the most sentimental value to you. These are the objects worth bringing to your new home. Bonus Tip: Color Code Each Category Odds are that you’ll find junk and valuables stored right next to each other. If you don’t have time to physically separate them at the moment, use different colored Post-it notes to keep everything organized when it comes time to move.

Many homeowners reach a point in their lives when they’re ready to move from the house they raised their families in to something smaller and more manageable. While finding the right place can be a challenge, the hardest part of downsizing is often sorting through a lifetime’s worth of possessions. This process, called contents downsizing, is much easier when you follow this four- step system. Start With the Junk Beginning your downsizing with the hardest items will only lead to frustration and inaction. Instead, start by tackling areas of the house that are full of documents, knickknacks, and boxes you haven’t touched in years. These will be the easiest to part with and will put you in the right downsizing mindset. Donate Unwanted Items The next category contains items that are no longer valuable to you or your family but may be useful to others. These items can be donated to one of many worthy organizations, such as Goodwill, the Salvation Army, or St. Vincent de Paul. Donations are a way to give back to the less fortunate instead of simply giving or throwing things away. We are proud that so many of our clients came to us thanks to the kind words of those we’ve already helped. It’s a deeply rewarding feeling to know that our clients trust us enough to recommend our services to their friends and family. It has happened many times over the years and is always incredibly humbling. Of course, sometimes things slip through the cracks. Occasionally, we don’t learn that a new client was referred to us until much later. So, we’d like to hear from you! What led you to our firm? Were you recommended by a friend? If not, how did you find us? Regardless of your answer, we’d love to hear it! In fact, those who submit an answer, whether by phone or our website, will be entered for a chance to win a $100 Amazon gift card! As always, we will only accept one submission per person, so multiple submissions will not increase your odds of winning. We would love to have a more complete picture of how you came to find our firm and we relish any opportunity to give out fun prizes! To be entered for a chance to win the gift card, visit and let us know how you found us! We’ll select the winner randomly at the end of the February, so be sure to get your submission in! Thank you for helping us better understand how you found us, and best of luck in the drawing!

WHO REFERRED YOU? LET US KNOW AND YOU COULD WIN A $100 AMAZON.COM GIFT CARD is not a sponsor. Restrictions apply, see

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As important as Social Security Disability benefits are, the processes surrounding them still have their flaws. Chief among them is the complexity of the applications process and the many legal pitfalls that come with appealing those applications when they are denied. As a firm that has helped countless individuals through the application and appeals process over the years, we’ve seen firsthand that experienced legal representation can make a big difference. Nevertheless, it was satisfying to see that the government’s own numbers agreed with us. A survey by the US General Accounting Office (GAO) titled “SSA Disability Decision Making” found multiple disparities between SSDI claims at the hearings level of the appeal process. The report exposed multiple institutional biases, with factors such as race, gender, and income level being shown to be “statistically significant influences on the likelihood of benefits being allowed.” The only case where these biases did not crop up were in cases where claimants were represented by attorneys. Stripping away all other factors, including severity of the disability, the GAO found that those with an attorney representing a claim “were more likely to be allowed than claimants who had no

representative.” In their analysis, the GAO noted “attorneys increase the claimant’s likelihood of being awarded benefits by (1) providing assistance with the development of evidence over and above SSA’s efforts to develop evidence and (2) preparing claimants to improve their effectiveness and credibility as witnesses.” Having a government agency publish this statistical data is huge. It reveals, among other things, that legal representation does make a statistically significant difference. It’s nice to know

that Uncle Sam shares our view that having knowledgeable legal professionals on your side can help you navigate the appeals process effectively. We’ve seen firsthand the effect a skilled, professional attorney can have. If you have had a social security claim denied, please reach out to us.

VIRGINIA SCALLOPED OYSTERS Recipe provided by Waypoint Seafood and Grill restaurant.




• 1/4 pound butter • 2 cups Vidalia onion, diced small • 1 cup celery, small dice • 1 1/2 teaspoon garlic, minced

• 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, ground • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt • 1 quart shucked Virginia oysters, strained, with liquor reserved • 1/2 cup heavy cream Crust: • 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs • 1 cup Ritz crackers • 1 cup parmesan, shredded • 1/4 lb butter, melted

Q: Have you ever tried to eat a clock? A: It’s very time-consuming.

• 2 fluid ounces white wine • Zest and juice of one lemon • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce • 1 tablespoon Tabasco sauce • 1 tablespoon fresh herbs, finely chopped (chives, parsley, thyme, tarragon)


1. Heat oven to 375 F. 2. In a saucepan, melt butter and sweat onions, celery, and garlic until onions are translucent. 3. Deglaze with white wine and add heavy cream with residual oyster liquor. 4. Reduce by 25 percent and season with lemon zest and juice, Worcestershire, Tabasco, herbs, salt, and pepper. 5. Brush baking dish with butter and place oysters in bottom of dish. Spoon onion mixture over oysters. 6. In a mixing bowl, combine breadcrumbs, crackers, parmesan, and melted butter and thoroughly blend together. Place breadcrumb mixture over the oysters to form a crust. 7. Bake at 375 F for 30–45 minutes until golden brown and thoroughly hot in center.

757-220-4529 | 3



1315 Jamestown Rd. Suite 102 Williamsburg, VA 23185


Call Now! 757-220-4529

INSIDE This Issue

Our Improved Communications Policy page 1 Why Less Stuff Means More Freedom page 2

Representation Makes a Difference page 3 Viginia Scalloped Oysters page 3 What Happens to Military Service Dogs? page 4

$100 Amazon Gift Card Contest page 2



There are around 2,500 military working dogs currently in service, and their efforts help save the lives of countless soldiers and civilians every day. One of these brave military dogs is Sgt. Fieldy, an 11-year-old black lab who was trained to locate the No. 1 threat in Afghanistan: IEDs. Sgt. Fieldy was deployed to Afghanistan with his handler, Cpl. Nicolas Caceres, in 2011. Early in their deployment, their vehicle struck a pressure plate while they were on patrol. Fieldy and Caceres were all right, but one of the other Marines in their company was badly injured in the explosion. The injured Marine could not be evacuated by helicopter until the landing zone was secured. Fieldy found another IED in the area and alerted Caceres. The bomb was quickly disarmed, and the injured soldier was taken to safety. This wasn’t the only IED Fieldy found. His sharp nose and dedication helped save thousands of lives. After his deployment, Caceres returned home, but Sgt. Fieldy served several more tours without him. While Fieldy continued to protect soldiers

and civilians by tracking down IEDs, Caceres worked tirelessly to make sure he could bring Fieldy home when his service was over. Military working dogs can be adopted by former handlers, law enforcement, or qualified civilians when they retire. After three years apart and a total of four tours served, Sgt. Fieldy was reunited with Caceres. In 2016, Fieldy received the K9 Medal of Courage Award, and in 2018, he won the American Humane Hero Dog Award for his service. “These dogs are out there with us,” said Caceres when he and Fieldy accepted the Hero Dog Award. “The dangers we face, they face them too. They deserve to be recognized. We ask so much of them, and all they want is to get petted or play with a toy. They’re amazing animals, and Fieldy is just an amazing dog. I can’t begin to express the gratitude I have for him.” If you are interested in supporting our nation’s working dogs or would like to adopt a retired working dog yourself, you can learn more at .

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