Judson Calkins has spent most of his legal career representing clients before judges, so he’s developed an acute understanding of what it takes to achieve favorable decisions in court and administrative proceedings.
“Basically, you need to keep the judges happy,” he says. “They’re very busy as well, so you need to make sure that things run as smoothly as possible for them.”
Judson’s practice at the Disparti Law Group is focused predominantly on Social Security Disability cases, and he’s represented clients before administrative law judges throughout the country. One of the keys to achieving favorable outcomes from these judges, he says, is to make sure that he gives them what they need.
“Ninety percent of these cases revolve around the medical records,” he says. “If a judge is going to award benefits, he has to hang his hat on something, so to speak—an MRI that shows severe degenerative disc disease, for example, or a report from a treating psychiatrist or psychologist. You need to have something that a judge can pinpoint. You need to show one or more severe impairments, and in order to show severe impairments you need medical records to reflect that.”
Judson quickly honed his courtroom skills after receiving his juris doctorate from John Marshall Law School in Chicago in 1999 when he took a job as prosecutor in the Dade County State Attorney’s office in Miami. He was in court nearly every day and gained valuable experience.
He then took a less stressful job as in-house counsel for Delta Airlines, where his focus was on international matters involving local counsel for other nations as well as handling such tasks as asset purchase agreements and reviewing contracts for Delta employees. After his time with Delta, he worked for an insurance-defense firm and also developed a practice in family law prior to joining the Disparti Law Group in 2005.
“Doing the family law and being in the state attorney’s office, I was in front of judges all the time,” he says. “You learn that you always have to be prepared, to be organized and make the best use of your time.”
Judson says he finds representing clients in Social Security proceedings to be particularly satisfying on a personal level because he’s helping people who need help, oftentimes desperately.
“It’s fulfilling because many of these people that you’re dealing with are in pretty dire financial straits,” he says. “This process takes so long, and a lot of them have had homes foreclosed upon, they’ve run out of friends and family to help them, so they’re really between a rock and a hard place. So you feel pretty good when you can help them out.”
Judson has a variety of interests, including traveling, snow skiing, reading, and exercising. He also enjoys watching sports, particularly hockey and football.