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Paralyzed Lawyer Hired Social Worker to Help Clients

Dennis Sandoval. Photo courtesy of the Press-Enterprise.

Cheers to the Press-Enterprise in Riverside, Calif. for this article about lawyer Dennis Sandoval, who was paralyzed in a car accident almost 20 years ago.

Sandoval fought for years to get his insurance company to pay for his injuries. Now he is a champion for others and opened a law firm to help clients cope with health care expenses, estate planning or tax problems.

Do you know the first thing Sandoval did when he opened his law firm? He hired a social worker to help him do his crusading work.

Q: Social workers are doing more jobs in corporate America, including doing community relations or helping employees cope with personal issues. Have you heard of any social workers in law firms?

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  1. I am not surprise to hear that a social worker was hired at a law firm. Having received myself a social work training and degree, there is no doubt that our training is well rounded. Therefore, we can target any desireable field and fulfill our functions accordingly with a unique perspective. I also believe that all law firms would GREATLY BENEFIT from employing social workers because of our view is wholistic, experience can be broad, and training very diverse.

  2. What a great show of support for the profession of social work. I totally agree that the holistic and supportive role of the social worker could enhance not just a lawyer but also a physician in his/her practice.
    There are so many ‘clients’ that could use the support of a good listener and problem solver above and beyond the legal and medical advice that they are seeking.
    We are trained listeners and can tease out very subtle problems which can impede the client’s ability to deal with his legal matters and his medical matters.

  3. I am not surprised at all. This reminds me of an article that was recently in the Univ. of Buffalo School of Social Work alumni page of one of their MSWs working for the NBA as a Vice President. Our degree really hits at every nerve of the social, private, public, and government sector. It doesn’t hurt that most schools are down with systems thinking. great article!

  4. Yes, lawyers who belong to the Life Care Planning Law Firms Association,, all have social workers or registered nurses on their staffs. I am happy to say I am the Vice President of the LCPLFA for 2011. Also, many of the attorneys whop are affiliated with the Special Needs Alliance,, have social workers on their staffs.

    Dennis Sandoval

  5. I’m not a social worker yet, but I worked as a domestic violence advocate placed at the Legal Aid Society of Columbus in Ohio for a year on a collaborative grant. Best job I’ve had to date – I loved it!

  6. Hiring a social worker as an employee of my law firm was the best move that I have ever made in my law career.

    Visit my websites at and to learn more about how I use my social worker to assist my frail elderly and disabled clients.

    I encourage all social workers (especially those who might be looking for a career change) to visit or to see if there might be any attorneys who practice life care planning or special needs planning in your area whom you can work with or cross-refer to. Most of the social workers we work with are members of the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers,

    Dennis Sandoval

  7. I am a NY Lawyer and social worker looking for any cases re: discoverability of notes files assessments of social workers who have collected the information while on assignment to an opposing lawyer.

  8. What an amazing article and thank you very much people! It is so nice to hear of Social Workers employed in lucrative positions you all mention where the work is rewarding and pay is good.

    Looks like a Social Worker won’t necessarily be stuck with low pay and tightness? What do you sall say?


  9. What a very touching article! How sweet that the lawyer hired the social worker as 1st thing. So nice how Social Work is applicable to variety of sectors and in this case law. My grandfather whom I adored was a top lawyer by being Chief Justice of Orissa and he would be so touched hearing this story. He once said anybody must be able to earn enough to support themselves and do not have to be rich. This touched me a lot. I strongly feel that anybody such as writer, artist, social worker, etc must be make comfortable enough as long as they like what they do.


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