Gillette Law Group September 2017

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September marks the 10th anniversary of the organization of Gillette Law Group, PLLC. As I look back on the early days of the firm and how I felt — anxious, determined, and excited all at once — all those feelings come rushing back, accompanied by one emotion that overpowers all the others: gratitude.

opportunity to serve. While my team members may call me boss, we know that without our clients we would be out of business!

Of course, it takes a unique team to provide exceptional service. I’m proud of the terrific team I have attracted to help serve our clients. Their goal is to give exceptional client service that creates happy clients who send their family, friends, and co-workers to us for help. While some of you may remember our television advertisements, we have learned that our best clients are referred to us by people like you. I’m forever grateful for my team members’ contributions to the success of the firm. In return, I have focused on taking care of my team members. It’s my belief that if I help my team members to achieve their work and personal goals, they will do a better job of taking care of our clients. My team and I now help hundreds of people every year to make smart choices to improve their lives. We focus our practice on helping individuals with claims for Social Security disability and Virginia Retirement System (VRS) disability retirement benefits claims. To this day, we’re just as concerned about providing exceptional client service. If we ever let you down, I want to know what we can do to make you happy. You can call me directly at (757) 279-8878. We appreciate the feedback and the opportunity to make things right! We also set out to have a positive impact on the community, and we have been blessed with opportunities to do so. I’m proud to be serving as the chairman of the Board of the Center for Child and Family Services, Inc. and to be a board member of the Bon Secours Mary Immaculate Foundation. As a firm, we participate in the “Legal Food Frenzy” to raise money and collect food for the local foodbank, and we also support Here for the Girls, Inc., an organization that offers support to young women diagnosed with breast cancer. Helping out these organizations has been one of the greatest blessings of our growth.

“Do what you do so well that people can’t resist telling others about you!” -Walt Disney

Truth be told, starting a new firm was one of the biggest challenges of my life, but it has

also been one of the most satisfying. As the leader of the firm, I am able to guide the vision and direction of my firm. But without the help and support of my family, friends, team members, and wonderful clients, the firm wouldn’t be what it is today. I’d like to thank every one of you who have helped us to grow the firm. Since day one, we’ve been driven by our philosophy of caring for people, each other, and the community. Initially, the firm started with just four clients. As we thought about how to grow from four clients to eight, 16, 32, and beyond, we knew it would have to be on the shoulders of exceptional, compassionate service. Walt Disney said, “Do what you do so well that people can’t resist telling others about you!” We knew if we could focus on making our clients happy and giving exceptional service, we would naturally grow. That’s been our mantra since the beginning. We are grateful for the

N e x t D o o r Bu

Thank you again for being a “friend of the firm.” With your help, we hope to continue our mission of exceptional service for another 10 years and beyond.

– Brian Gillette

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

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Can the power of positive thinking change your life? Bookstores brim with self-help books written to guide readers toward positive thinking and countless websites claim to do the same. But what is positive thinking? Essentially, it’s shutting out negative thoughts. One website,, says, “Negative thoughts drain you of energy and keep you from being in the present moment. The more you give in to your negative thoughts, the stronger they become.” This sentiment is ironic considering the Buddhist philosophy of detachment (or non-attachment) suggests that one should let negative thoughts and emotions enter the mind, but not dwell on them, so they pass with the moment. Research into the subject agrees. In the 1960s, researchers studied grief — or the lack of it. When people attempted to suppress grief, it took them longer to recover from what caused the grief in the first place.

negative consequences. Stress can influence overall health, both mentally and physically. If you are stressed, chances are you are not in a good mood and, by extension, are thinking negative thoughts. And this presents another problem with positive thinking. Anne Harrington, Franklin L. Ford Professor of the History of Science and director of undergraduate studies at Harvard, and author of “The Cure Within: A History of Mind-Body Medicine,” says, “It’s just as stressful to keep up a performance of positivity as it is to [keep up] a bad mood. It’s very stressful to be inauthentically upbeat all the time.”

So, what can you do? Let yourself think negative and positive thoughts. Don’t dwell on the negative, and let it run its course. Then, turn your attention to your sources of stress and do what you can to minimize them.

In reality, the biggest factor at play when it comes to positive or negative thinking may be stress. Stress comes with its fair share of



Are new rules about Social Security disability hurting people? Experts are saying it’s possible. On January 18, 2017, the Social Security Administration (SSA) published the final rules “Revisions to Rules Regarding the Evaluation of Medical Evidence” in the Federal Register (82 FR 5844). The final rules became effective on March 27, 2017. The Daily Hampshire Gazette reported a Massachusetts woman’s experience that highlights potential problems with the new rules. Maybe you’ll relate to her story. Cheryl Sawyer was educated and had 10 years of work experience. She never made much, but she was able to support herself without being dependent on anyone else. But when she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2013, she experienced pain that made it difficult to stand, let alone work. Despite resistance, she eventually applied for Social Security disability insurance benefits. Like many of our clients, she put in the time to wade through the Social Security disability application process with all its steps. And, like most applicants, she was denied at first. And while she was eventually approved, the new rule changes in March have made it more difficult for people like Cheryl to receive a favorable decision. In the past, the SSA gave a good deal of weight to the medical opinions of a treating physician about the medical conditions and the limitations they cause. For claims filed before March 27, 2017, a disability claims examiner or an administrative law judge was required to give the

opinion of a treating physician controlling weight if the opinion was well-supported by medically accepted clinical and laboratory diagnostic techniques and not inconsistent with the other substantial evidence in the case record. For claims filed on or after March 27, 2017, the rules about how the SSA considers medical opinions have changed. First, SSA will no longer give any specific evidentiary weight to medical opinions; this includes giving controlling weight to the opinions of treating physicians. Instead, SSA will consider the persuasiveness of medical opinions using the factors specified in its rules. Second, SSA will consider the supportability and consistency factors as the most important factors. Finally, SSA revised the factors used to consider medical opinions. These factors include: Relationship with the claimant; length of the treatment relationship; frequency of examinations; purpose of the treatment relationship; extent of the treatment relationship; examining relationship; specialization; and other factors. The National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives, a group of lawyers who work on disability claims, opposed the rule change. They, along with experts, agree that it could keep people with strong medical evidence from being approved. Every case is challenging, but many are still winnable with the right help. If you have any questions or concerns about filing for Social Security disability, give us a call!

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Every 22 seconds, a child loses a parent. We know that losing a loved one can be difficult at any age, but as a young child or teenager — our most formative years — it can be particularly affecting. Our hearts go out to any among us who have lost a loved one at a young age. Mikey’s Camp , an annual gathering sponsored by Bon Secours, provides an environment for these young people to explore the normal process of grieving. Children ages 7–17 work with professional grief facilitators and trained volunteers to learn how to handle their loss. Each child is paired with an adult, called “big buddy,” who can be a companion to them. Together they undergo activities meant to boost self-esteem and fulfillment, all the while providing the

youth an outlet to express themselves and be heard. Those activities include arts and crafts, games, outdoor activities, skits, and more.

In the end, the goal is for the child or teen to learn these important principles: • Grief is a normal process. • Each of us has the natural capacity to heal in our own time frame. • The duration and intensity of grief is unique to us. • Care, support, and acceptance are essential to the healing process. With those lessons learned and applied, the camp aims to give them the tools they need to get through the most trying events they’ll experience in their early lives. Mikey’s Camp is held each year in November. For more information, or to enroll your child, contact Beth Pile at 757-737-2287 or email her at You can also visit their website: bonsecours. com/hampton-roads/our-services/bereavement-center/kidz-n-grief/ mikeys-camp.



Prep Time: 15 minutes | Cook Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes Yield: 6–8 servings

Vickie Lawrence was the winner of our Norfolk Tides ticket giveaway! Vickie and her family joined the Gillette Law Group team at Harbor Park on June 4, for an afternoon


• 1 large onion, chopped • 1 pound extra lean ground beef (hamburger) • 1 clove garlic, minced • 1 tablespoon chili powder • 1 teaspoon ground allspice • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

• ½ teaspoon red (cayenne) pepper

• 1 teaspoon salt • 11 tablespoons

unsweetened cocoa or 1 ounce grated unsweetened chocolate*

• 1 tablespoon cider vinegar • 1 cup water • 1 (16-ounce) package

of family fun. Read our newsletter for other contests and giveaways — you never know what we’ll be up to next!

• 1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce • 1 tablespoon

uncooked dried spaghetti pasta

Worcestershire sauce

We’ve learned that our dog, Harley, has won Coastal Virginia Magazine’s Cutest Pet Contest! She will be featured in the September/October issue of Coastal Virginia Magazine. Thanks to all who voted for her!



1. In a large frying pan over medium-high heat, sauté onion, ground beef, garlic,

3. Cook spaghetti according to package directions and

• Oyster crackers • Shredded cheddar cheese • Chopped onion • 1 (16-ounce) can kidney beans • I also like to add diced jalapeños!

transfer onto individual serving plates (small oval plates are traditional).

and chili powder until ground beef is slightly cooked.

4. Ladle Cincinnati Chili

2. Add allspice, cinnamon, cumin, cayenne pepper, salt, unsweetened cocoa or chocolate, tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce, cider vinegar, and water. Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, 1 hour 30 minutes. Remove from heat.

mixture over the cooked spaghetti and serve with toppings of your choice.

5. Oyster crackers are served in a separate container on the side.

Recipe Inspired by:

757-220-4529 | 3



1315 Jamestown Rd. Suite 102 Williamsburg, VA 23185


Call Now! 757-220-4529

INSIDE this issue

Celebrating 10 Years in Business page 1 Put Positive Thinking to Bed page 2 Doctors vs. Judges: Who Decides? page 2

A Young Person’s Greatest Loss page 3 Cincinnati Chili Recipe page 3 Fresher, Cheaper, Tastier page 4

FRESHER, CHEAPER, TASTIER The Benefits of Seasonal Eating

Ever wonder why tomatoes cost so much more in December than in July? The answer is simple: shipping distance. Transporting produce long distances is expensive because it needs to be protected and temperature-controlled. Eating seasonally means you’ll save a ton on fruits and veggies. Even better is to cut out the middleman entirely and buy directly from a supplier. In his exceptional cookbook “Six Seasons: A New Way With Vegetables,” Joshua McFadden writes, “The best way to eat with the seasons is to frequent and support local farms, markets, and grocery stores that are doing good things.” The USDA website ( has a directory of markets that you can search for by ZIP code. Learning what’s in season at a given time might seem like a daunting task, but there are plenty of tools to help you. You can ask what’s in peak season at the market and what to look forward to in the coming weeks. Apps like Farmstand will also let you know the freshest crops in your area and alert you to deals on produce. Getting the nutritional benefits and great taste of fresh produce doesn’t need to cost an arm and a leg. Eat seasonally and locally, and the savings will pile up.

The nutritional benefits of fruits and vegetables hardly need explaining. These health staples, though, can put a dent in your wallet if you’re not making the right choices at the market. One way to feed your family healthy and delicious produce on the cheap is to eat seasonally. Not only will this save you money, but you’ll also vary your diet, support local farms, and put the freshest foods on your table.

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