Small firm attention. Big firm expertise.

My name is James Ratchford, and I am a whitewater kayaker and a lawyer.  This page is about my legal and recreation pursuits and to a lesser degree about lifestyle design. It’s not strictly a business site, and it’s not strictly a personal site. Consider it your opportunity to get to know me and my opportunity to share something with you.

I am an attorney focused on helping people in appeals for Social Security Disability benefits.  I am licensed to practice in this area in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and Guam.

I have been representing claimants in Social Security matters since 2008, when I began with a major national disability firm.  Since then, I’ve represented hundreds of claimants in hearings before Administrative Law Judges for the Social Security Administration, and worked on the written appeals of thousands more.

My practice today is focused on collaboration with other firms to provide written and oral advocacy services in hearings and administrative appeals.

When I’m not fighting to win benefits for my clients, you can find me paddling on rivers throughout the US and Canada, although mostly along Appalachia.  Some of my favorite rivers include the Gauley in West Virginia, the Upper and Lower Youghiogheny in Maryland and Pennsylvania, the Moose in the Adirondacks, and the Ottawa in the Ottawa River Valley.  I am a confident class 4 boater and I occasionally venture into class 5.  I am always down to paddle as long as it doesn’t conflict with an obligation to my clients, who come first.

The reason I’ve created this site is to bring the two areas of my life together.  Because I am licensed to practice before the Social Security Administration in all US states and territories, I am not limited to one or two states like most lawyers.  So I am working on building relationships with clients and referral sources all throughout the US, focused on places near whitewater destinations.

If you are a whitewater paddler and know someone who needs help with a Social Security matter, please pass my information along.



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