As a practicing attorney, you may have heard the term “vocational consultant,” but you may have never really thought seriously about using one in one of your disability or divorce cases. Indeed, the notion of using a vocational consultant, i.e., vocational expert, might feel like a luxury that your client does not have the wherewithal to pay for.
Understandably, you want to keep your practice costs at a minimum because litigating a disability or divorce case is costly just with legal time. However, if you learn more about what a vocational consultant does, and the dual roles that a vocational consultant plays, you might find that paying for the cost of a vocational consultant on the front end, may result in a greater settlement amount for your client when the case is over.
In that vein, you should carefully consider whether the use of a vocational consultant would make sense as part of your case strategy. In this article, we will talk about the dual role of a vocational consultant and the kind of value a vocational consultant can bring to your case.
If you have additional questions, after reviewing this article, we invite you to contact us at Occupational Assessment Services, Inc. – OAS.
We are one of the most experienced employability and life care planning firms in the United States. To discuss your case, call us at 1-800-292-1919, contact us at a location near you, or through our online form.
What are the Dual Roles of a Vocational Consultant?
The earlier you bring a vocational consultant into your case the better. Because you will see that a vocational consultant has two roles to play in your case: evaluator and educator.
First, a vocational consultant is someone who needs to evaluate your client. In that regard, the title “vocational consultant” might feel a bit like a misnomer, because your client needs to understand that the vocational consultant is not a counselor or consultant for the client. Rather, the vocational consultant is someone who will review all aspects of the client’s background and earning potential in order to arrive at a conclusion on the client’s ability to work and his or her potential with regard to earning capacity. It is important to remind your client that the vocational consultant is an evaluator because there is a possibility that the vocational consultant may come to conclusions with which the client disagrees.
Second, a vocational consultant is someone who can educate you and the court on your client’s earning capacity. That is where the vocational consultant becomes your expert witness in court. Given that vocational consultants have a particular area of expertise in evaluating a person’s education and work background in connection with the job market, the vocational consultant can give expert-level opinions on whether a particular person is able to, and in what capacity to, work in the current job market in any given region of the country.
With regard to the kind of expert testimony a vocational consultant can provide, he or she can offer expert opinions regarding:
1. Evaluation Results. The vocational consultant will be able to discuss a client’s marketable skills given his or her age, physical and mental condition, transferable skills, and special needs.
2. Job Market Info. The vocational consultant’s job is to understand the labor market in any given field, in any given region of the country. Thus, the vocational consultant will be able to testify as to labor demand in a certain field, access to job opportunities, and what kind of wage a client can expect.
3. Vocational Planning. Particularly in disability cases (but can be applicable in certain divorce matters), a vocational consultant will be able to identify training programs and give an overall sense of what a client will need to do to re-enter the workforce.
4. Expert Testimony. Based on all of the vocational consultants evaluations and observations, the consultant will be able to take the stand in your case and testify as to some fundamental parts of your case, including your client’s earning capacity, in light of whatever challenges your client might be facing.
Indeed, the key to many divorce and disability cases in which a person’s potential for gainful employment is at issue, a vocational consultant can bring much-needed rigor and objectivity to the process. It is not uncommon for a party to claim that his or her spouse has unlimited earning potential, or for a disabled person to claim that he or she is unable to do any work at all.
Thus, a vocational consultant can bring all parties to a more realistic view of the world. The consultant does that by creating a report on all of the facts surrounding a particular individual, finding realistic statistics on what jobs are truly available in the relevant region, and then explaining why the reasons behind the consultant’s conclusion on earning potential.
Having that kind of fact-based, objective information is what will ultimately help your case at the end of the day.
Contact the Vocational Consultants at OAS For More Information
The experts at Occupational Assessment Services, Inc. (OAS) have over forty years of experience documenting the income potential and employment capacity of those with wrongful termination cases, as well as with the underemployed, unemployed, and disabled spouses in many types of cases
OAS specializes in working with the plaintiff or defense attorney to assist in objectively documenting the economics in a case. From the initial referral to the trial testimony, OAS works with the retaining attorney so that the vocational assessment of the case can be objectively and efficiently presented.
We strongly believe in the importance of a clear and understandable presentation of the facts. OAS is the leading provider of Vocational Expert and Life Care Planning Services for Plaintiff and Defense attorneys.
The company specializes in assisting attorneys in evaluating earning capacity in divorce cases and documenting the damages in cases where an individual has been severely injured by providing objective findings on how the injuries affect a persons’ ability to work and earn money, as well as the cost of care required in catastrophic injuries.
OAS is your Vocational Expert & Life Care Planner Nationwide, with offices in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Florida, Texas, Nevada, and California.
Occupational Assessment Services, Inc. is one of the most experienced employability and life care planning firms in the United States. To discuss your case, call us at 1-800-292-1919, contact us at a location near you, or through our online form.