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Erica Chitwood

Attorney

Nashville, TN

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I have ten plus years of legal experience in both litigation and administrative law. Six years in practice working in the areas of Workers' Compensation, Personal Injury, and Social Security Disability Law. I have prepared, filed, and litigated cases in both the trial and appellate courts. My legal experience includes trial preparation, discovery, research/writing, motion practice, and brief writing. I have very strong legal writing/research skills and have written several appellate briefs (in workers' compensation cases) for Tennessee Supreme Court cases. I have also won many "On the Record" decisions for my disability clients.

Work Experience

Associate Attorney

Large & Associates
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Bristol, TN
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October 2014 to Present

Responsibilities 
Responsible for building and managing the Firm's Social Security Disability Department. Recruit and screen prospective social security clients to determine eligibility and filing status. File disability applications, Title II (SSDI) and Title XVI (SSI), and complete diability appeals. Review and analyze medical records against the Social Security Listings and prepare medical summaries for each case. Work with clients and their doctors to medically develop their cases utilizing Medical Source Statements and Pain Questionnares. Prepare Pre-Hearing Briefs outling applicable Social Security Rulings and Code Regulations. Represent claimants in hearings before Adminstrative Law Judges across the states of Tennessee, Virginia, and North Carolina. File hearing decision appeals in the Appeals Council and U.S. District Courts. Seconday responsibilities involve work within the Firm's Workers' Compensation Department drafting complaints, filing Requests for Assistance, researching workers' compensation reform, and representing clients in Benefit Review Conferences including Approval hearings in the state courts.  
 
Accomplishments 
Since my start date I have doubled the social security caseload in just four months. I brought in an operating system for the Firm to effectively process disability applications to include "online" applications, pre-processing Intakes, Appeal Forms, and a Pre-Hearing Checklist to ensure attorney fees are promptly paid by social security. This Firm had not been paid on previous Favorable Decisions, and I have worked to recover $24,000 in unpaid fees. I have also successfully negogiated workers' compensation settlements, obtained panels, and converted many workers' comp cases into social security claims.  
 
Skills Used 
Marketing, Sales Techniques, Persuasion, Leadership, Follow-Through, Management, Organization, Analytical, Research/Writing, Agressive/Effective Representation.

Associate Attorney

Walker & Associates
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Nashville, TN
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May 2007 to August 2014

I began here in 2007 as a Workers' Compensation Paralegal while I worked through Law School. I was then licensed under the Limited Practice Rule in 2009 and began doing Benefit Review Conferences. After licensure, I was hired as an Associate Attorney, and I was soley responsible for the Firm's Workers' Compensation and Personal Injury caseload (over 75 cases). I screened/interviewed all prospective clients and prepared summaries for each case. I prepared and filed all administrative forms including RFA's, BRC's, and Certificates of Readiness with the Department of Labors. I represented clients in Benefit Review Conferences negogiating settlements and then in Approval hearings in the state courts. I filed Complaints and secured service if an Impasse was issued and was responsible for all trial prep, discovery (party and expert), motion practice, and I prepared pre-trial briefs. Led, first-chair, workers' compensation and personal injury trials in Davidson, Rutherford, and Hickman counties. I was the sole writer and researcher for the Firm which included trial and appellate level brief writing (also including the Tennessee Supreme Court Work Comp Panel). I conducted extensive legal research using Westlaw and Lexis Nexis. In this position, I secured high-dollar settlements including perm. total verdicts and uninusred policy limits. I won many Orders for Medical Benefits (including orders for spinal fusion) and Orders for TTD totaling 20,000 dollars. I also wrote the Appellate Brief in the infamous Panel case of Furlough vs. Spherion where the Panel ruled that a settlement agreement is not a "final judgment" if the SD-1 is not completely and fully filled out.

Head Sales Representative for Nashville School of Law

Kaplan PMBR Bar Review
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Nashville, TN
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October 2004 to March 2009

Responsible for the aggressive marketing and selling of Bar Review Courses to the Nashville School of Law student body. Managed/supervised a team of ten student representatives. Recognized as Top Salesperson for Academic Sales Years 2008 and 2009 for the State of Tennessee.

Librarian & Research Assistant

Nashville School of Law
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Nashville, TN
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August 2006 to February 2009

Assisted Patrons with Legal Research and Writing utilizing the National Reporter System (NRS) and West's Tennessee Digest. Assisted Students and Law School Faculty in Academic Legal Research and Writing utilizing Thomson Reuter's "Westlaw."

Head Research Representative for Nashville School of Law

Thomson Reuters "Westlaw"
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Nashville, TN
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May 2006 to May 2007

Trained by Westlaw in Eagan, MN to serve as the Academic Representative for Nashville School of Law. Worked in the school library and hosted research tutorials/seminars on "how to" research and write using Westlaw. Assisted students and Law School Faculty in academic legal research utilizing Westlaw "Research Tools."

Congressional Intern

Congressman Zach Wamp
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Chattanooga, TN
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August 2003 to May 2004

This Internship was for one full semester within the Political Science Department at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. I assisted Constituents in the areas of Veterans' Benefits and Social Security Disability Benefits. Checked status of pending claims with the VA and SSA and reported back to the Congressman directly. Drafted letters to constituents regarding status and had Congressman sign off on the letters. I also spoke directly to the constituents on a daily basis.

Education

J.D. in Law-Honor Society (Cooper's Inn)

Nashville School of Law -
Nashville, TN

2009

B.S. in Political Science Public Administration-Magna Cum Laude

University of Tennessee at Chattanooga -
Chattanooga, TN

2004

Skills

Motion Practice, Discovery, Brief Writing, Legal Research, Customer Relations, Supervisory Skills, Persuasion, Selling/Marketing

Certifications

Social Security Adminstration

March 2010 to Present

I am certified to represent claimants before the Social Security Adminstration

Middle District Court of Tennessee

April 2013 to Present

I am licensed to practice in the Middle District Court for Tennessee

Veterans Administration

April 2013 to Present

I am certified to represent Veterans in claims for veterans' benefits.

State Bar of Tennessee

October 2009 to Present

I am licensed to practice law in the State of Tennessee

Additional Information

I have excellent writing skills (had a publication request in "Young Scholars in Writing,"), have specialized training in legal research by Westlaw, have exceptional relational skills, and work well in teams and/or in supervisory positions.