The Chicago Bar Association

Top Reasons Why You Should Have An Attorney

(Preferably David Porter) Represent You At Your Unemployment Hearing

Thousands of former employees win their unemployment hearings every week without having an attorney representing them. Yet there are likewise thousands of former employees who do not win their hearing (but should have) because they did not have an attorney representing - and protecting - their interests.

Provided below are some top reasons why you should have an attorney represent you at your unemployment hearing - with that attorney preferably being someone, such as me, who has extensive experience in successfully handling such hearings - (with some references also to how I can help you in this regard).

  1. It is an actual trial. Individuals should realize that unemployment hearings (which are usually conducted by telephone) are actual hearings (a/k/a – mini trials), with evidence taken and with there being numerous unwritten (or difficult to find) rules for how the hearings are conducted. It is best to have someone in your corner who knows what they are doing and is experienced in handling the unemployment hearing.

  2. Usually the Employer has a representative -- you should also. The Employer is frequently represented by either an attorney or by a non-attorney representative service, and so an employee who does not also have a representative is at a decided disadvantage.

    By contrast, when I represent you at the hearing I have more experience (450+ hearings) than the Employer, and usually more experience than the Employer's representative (who frequently isn't even an attorney), and it is then the Employer who is at the disadvantage - and in case you were wondering, the Employer usually does not react well to suddenly (sometimes for the first time) being at the disadvantage, which usually works out even better for my clients.

  3. Cross-Examination. You do not know how to effectively cross-examine (e.g. - ask questions of) the Employer/ Employer's witnesses. Over and over again, from transcripts I have seen of hearings in which the individual did not have a representative, when it is the individual's opportunity to question the Employer/ Employer's witnesses the employee merely makes statements rather than asking questions, and when questions are asked they are not asked in an effective manner.

    Moreover, it is best to enable you during the hearing to have the role of just being the good conscientious worker who got fired - rather than also being a Pro Se attorney (someone who represents themselves) asking questions - and let someone else (your representative) be the bulldog who asks the tough probing questions to the Employer/ Employer's witnesses.

    I regularly handle unemployment hearings, and I am very skilled in cross-examination, towards effectively asking the questions and getting the responses that we want and need, and putting your position in the best light for the judge.

  4. Direct Testimony. At the hearing the Referee (a/k/a the judge) will ask you questions. After the Referee has finished asking you questions the Referee will usually ask you if you have anything further to add. Most individuals in that situation have a difficult time bringing out all the relevant evidence that supports their position. Moreover, it is more difficult for the Referee to follow along to a monologue by you than by a question and answer format from a representative (such as me) to you.

    With me as your representative I will be fully prepared and organized, so that the important facts supporting your position come out (and come out in a way that puts you in the best light).

  5. Paperwork. The notice of appeal and request for a referee hearing must be timely filed. Exhibits, if you want to use them at the hearing, need to be timely and properly submitted in advance of the hearing.

    You may have tremendous documents showing the truth of your position, and that the Employer is lying, but if you don’t follow the required IDES procedures then you will not be able to use those documents at the hearing, and they will not do you any good.

    I handle the paperwork for the hearing (notice of appeal requesting hearing as well as notification to judge (and the Employer where needed) of contact information and exhibits. This enables you to be more relaxed for the hearing, and enables you to more focus on the content of your testimony for the hearing - which focus increases your chances of success at the hearing.

  6. Affordable. If you win at your unemployment hearing then this will enable you to receive your unemployment compensation benefits, which benefits could last for a couple weeks (if you get a new job right away) or for many months or even a year or two (depending on the economy).

    By contrast, if you lose at your unemployment hearing then not only will you not get those benefits (which, depending on your income when you were employed, could very well be approximately $400/week or more, and is increased by the number of dependents that you have), but you may need to repay thousands of dollars of benefits that you may have already received.

    Please note that I am extremely reasonably priced and very affordable (generally equivalent to approximately 2 weeks unemployment compensation benefits - where sometimes you can get benefits for 26 - 99 weeks).

    Given the possible thousands and thousands of dollars of monetary benefits that you stand to gain (I know many individuals who have received $10,000.00, $20,000.00, and more), and the thousands of dollars that you stand to lose if you lose at the hearing, that given the low cost that I charge for me to represent you, the real question is can you afford/risk not to have me represent you.

  7. Preparation. If you have never participated in an unemployment hearing before then you are going into it blind, and there is bound to be confusion by you as to the procedures of the hearing and how to best prepare for the hearing.

    While you could prepare with the assistance of a friend or relative, that person likewise is probably not experienced in handling unemployment hearings and doesn’t know what to expect. The blind leading the blind is not a winning strategy. Winging it also is not a winning strategy.

    I can and do strategize with you and prepare you intensively in such a way that when the hearing takes place you will feel like you have already been through it - which will result in your being more relaxed and having an improved comfort level at the hearing and in the time leading up to the hearing.

    I also do not pass you off to a paralegal or an inexperienced attorney, but rather I handle the hearing and represent you myself.

    Due to my extensive experience in handling unemployment matters - and my strong interest in obtaining justice for my employee clients - over the years I have developed a particular method for preparing for the hearing that not only results in my being well-prepared for the hearing but also has my clients well-prepared and much more at ease than they otherwise would be (which along with thorough preparation greatly helps to get good and just results for my clients).
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Client Reviews
"I found David Porter's representation of me to be both professional and compassionate. He did a solid job of explaining my legal options and provided me with real world examples of how labor/employment law works. His support and advocacy helped me to get through a very difficult time in my professional life. I would without hesitation highly recommend him to a friend in need of a seasoned practitioner." Jack
"I can't thank you enough for dealing with the bureaucracy of the Indiana and Illinois unemployment offices. Their response to my individual communications seemed to be the default answer of "No". With your help and persistence you were able to cut through the red tape and win my Trade Adjustment Assistance, allowing me to pursue my Master's of Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering. It is a good feeling to know I can call on such a great resource in trying times." Marc
"After finding myself in a terrible position with a former employer to whom my fate was at their mercy, David Porter stepped in and negotiated a settlement plan that not only kept me out of court, but also prevented any negative references or information being leaked out to possibly hinder my future growth as a professional." Mike