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A TEAM EFFORT FROM BASEBALL TO THE HEARING ROOM
While the rest of the nation goes mad over college basketball this month, I keep a watchful eye on Major League Baseball’s spring training. I’ve been a fan of America’s pastime ever since my grandfather, “Poppy,” first started taking me to games as a kid. I always get excited to see these first exhibition games before the season kicks off in earnest. You see, this is the time of year we get to see professional teams work out the kinks that have accumulated in the offseason. Old hands have to warm up, rookies have to get used to a whole new level of play, and both have to learn how to communicate with each other. You can usually tell which teams are going to do well before the season even starts by watching how well these players learn to communicate with one another during the spring. The client-attorney relationship works best when viewed as a sports team. As the managing attorney at the Gillette Law Group, I have created a legal team including an intake specialist, case managers, a legal assistant, and a legal nurse, among others. Sometimes overlooked is the fact that the client is also a very important part of the team, not just a spectator in the stands.
If you start seeing a new doctor or receive a new diagnosis, let your case manager know. If your legal team leaves you a message, return the call as soon as possible. Do what you can to get the medical care needed to treat your conditions and prove your claim. If you are having trouble getting medical care or paying for medications, call your case manager for referrals to community resources. If you are thinking about returning to work, call to schedule an appointment to talk with your attorney to discuss how this may affect your claim. Always make an appointment before coming to the office, so your legal team can be prepared to provide you with the exceptional service you deserve. Just like when a baseball player doesn’t back up a teammate, when a client doesn’t keep in communication with their legal team, their opportunities to win can be lost. This is especially true in the field of Social Security disability. The Social Security Administration sometimes fails to send copies of important notices to our office. Do not assume that just because you receive a notice, we have also received a copy. Doing your part to ensure we are up-to-date on your latest Social Security decision and any medical issues or treatment that has occurred since we last talked makes it easier for us to represent you effectively.
Protecting your legal rights is a very personal, involved process, requiring both the client and their legal team to be in it together, 100 percent. While it is the attorney’s role to know the law and how to apply it to the facts of a case, the client has to keep their legal team abreast of any relevant life events that may affect their case.
Much like baseball, law isn’t a game defined by star players. It’s the teams with players who work together and are always on the same page that carry the day. We have different roles. I know your rights under the law and how to present strong arguments in support of your claims, and you know your medical conditions,
treatment, and living situation. Bringing those two roles together leads to effective representation.
For example, if you move or change your phone number, your legal team needs to know. How else will they be able to reach you if they need important information from you, or if they need to update you on a hearing date?
N e x t D o o r Bu
While we don’t get to travel to Florida to hone these skills, I hope you’ll keep them in mind. We are so fortunate to have worked with so many team players over the years. Thank you for being a part of this team with us! –Brian Gillette
If you receive a form from your case manager or the Social Security Administration (SSA), complete the form and return it to your law firm for review and submission to the SSA.
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WAIT — SCREEN TIME IS GOOD FOR KIDS? HOW A BALANCED MEDIA DIET BOLSTERS CHILD DEVELOPMENT
If you Google the effects of screen time on children, you’re sure to be bombarded with horror stories. Numerous articles claim that, beginning in infancy, the more time a child spends in front of a TV, phone, or computer, the worse their developmental outcomes will be.
that any kind of screen time would be better spent climbing a tree or running in the backyard. But in October of 2016, they offered new recommendations for parents. For infants and young toddlers, the research still sides pretty heavily against the use of iPads and television. Before 18 months of age, a child lacks the cognitive capabilities allowing them to apply the lessons of technology to real life, and even after that, the APP recommends that media consumption should be limited to “high-quality programming, such as the content offered by Sesame Workshop and PBS.” But for kids ages 5 and up, parents should avoid banning screen time outright, but function as their child’s media mentor. Instead of decrying time spent building complex structures in “Minecraft” as hours that could be spent on the soccer field, we should set expectations and boundaries to ensure that children can deepen their experience of the world through media, not hamper it. The problem starts not with the screen itself, but when the consumption of media becomes problematic, replacing regular face-to-face interactions and physical activity. But with a balanced media diet, kids can have the best of both worlds.
At first glance, the research is utterly conclusive. It seems we should throw out every TV in our house, smash our kids’ smartphones, and usher our children into the great outdoors as soon as possible. But what most of these studies fail to take into account is the content of the electronic media. If a child spends two hours a day bingeing episodes of “The Big Bang Theory” or screaming obscenities into a headset while playing “Call of Duty,” it’s going to negatively impact their experience of the world along with their mental and physical health. But not all content is created equal.
In the past, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended strict limits on electronic engagement for kids, following the old line of thinking
HELP US WIN!
Legal Food Frenzy — A Great Event for a Great Cause
With April just around the corner, we at Gillette Law Group are stocking the pantry in preparation for the annual Legal Food Frenzy. This event, organized by the Attorney General, the Young Lawyers Division, and the Federation of Virginia Food Banks, combines compassion with friendly competition. Between April 16–27, we’ll be competing to donate more non-perishable food than our friends at other law firms. Every year, our whole team gets into the spirit, bringing in pounds of soup, applesauce, pasta, peanut butter, oatmeal packets, and so much more! We get to engage in some fun camaraderie with our friends and address a pressing need in our community. In a recent study, Feeding America estimated over 935,000 Virginians are food insecure. These are our neighbors, friends, and loved ones, living without reliable access to nutritious meals. Many are people who have been disabled, and can no longer work. Our firm has seen first- hand the difficult struggles that come after a debilitating injury, and we know how easy it is for malnutrition and hunger to set in.
That’s why the Legal Food Frenzy is so important to us and the entire Virginian legal community. Believe it or not, most folks go into law because of their passion for and belief in making a difference. But sometimes, we lose site of the good we can do outside of the courtroom. Events like these remind us that advocacy alone means very little if it isn’t paired with compassion and a deep understanding of the needs and challenges faced by our community. We applaud the event organizers for making this event a yearly success. It is an amazing charity that does so much tangible good. It’s the highlight of our year. To those firms, law schools, and solo practitioners we’ll be competing against nest month, bring everything you got! This year, Gillette is going for gold. P.S. To back up this bravado, we need all the help we can get! If any of our readers would like to bring in non-perishable food donations to our office between April 16–27, it would mean the world to us!
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BY BRANDY L. GUERRERO, CASE MANAGER A21: PUTTING AN END TO HUMAN TRAFFICKING
Let’s begin by defining human trafficking. According to the Department of Homeland Security, human trafficking is modern-day slavery that involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion for commercial sex purposes or to obtain some type of labor. It’s also defined as slavery, forced prostitution, physical or verbal abuse, and keeping victims in barbaric working conditions. The concepts of “slavery” and “trafficking” are tough to wrap your mind around because it seems they couldn’t possibly exist
abolitionists who work to free slaves and disrupt the demand for involuntary labor. They envision a world without slavery and work to make it a reality. A21 tries to prevent human trafficking through awareness campaigns like The Walk for Freedom. The organization protects survivors in shelters and transition homes, helps prosecute traffickers, and partners with law enforcement to find ways to fight human trafficking. The first way to prevent human trafficking is by being able to recognize the signs. According to A21, there are a few clues to identify a possible victim: • They are accompanied by a controlling person and do not speak on their own behalf. • They are transported to or from work, or they live and work at the same place. • They are frightened to talk to outsiders and authorities. • They have a cellphone despite lacking other basic belongings. Recognizing clues is just the beginning. If you would like more information or are interested in becoming a part of the New Abolitionists, please visit a21.org. This website is filled with educational tools about human trafficking and the ways you can get involved to help end slavery forever.
in the 21st century. But unfortunately, human trafficking is a billion- dollar business worldwide. This illegal trade of human beings does not discriminate. It includes women, men, and children of all races, ethnic groups, and religious backgrounds. A21 is a nonprofit organization fueled by the radical hope that human beings everywhere will be rescued from bondage and completely restored. A21 is shorthand for the organization’s mission: “Abolish slavery everywhere in the 21st century.” Its members are 21st-century
RICE KRISPIES EASTER EGGS DIPPED IN CHOCOLATE
• 2 (12-ounce) bags candy melts in a color of your choosing
• 2-3 containers of holiday sprinkles • Plastic eggs, washed and dried
Makings for Rice Krispies Treats
1. Clean plastic eggs well and set aside to dry.
6. Once eggs are set, remove from plastic molds. 7. Place candy melts in microwave-safe dish. Microwave the candy in 15-second intervals until smooth.
2. Make Rice Krispies Treats following your favorite recipe.
3. Coat inside of plastic eggs with cooking spray. Firmly press Treat mixture into each side of egg and close. Do not overfill. If you do, the eggs will not close and set.
8. Dip each egg 1/3 of the way into the
melted candy, then cover with sprinkles of choice.
4. Place a piece of tape over egg seam for extra security.
9. Let dry, and enjoy!
Our Harley, winner of Coastal Virginia Magazine’s Cutest Pet Contest, celebrates her first birthday in March!
5. Place filled plastic eggs in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
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INSIDE This Issue
Help Us End 21st- Century Slavery page 3
Law Is a Team Sport page 1 When Screen Time Is Good for Kids page 2 Help Us Win the Food Frenzy page 2
Easter Treats page 3
Tell Us How We’re Doing! page 4
HOW’S OUR WRITING? TAKE THE GILLETTE GAZETTE SURVEY!
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