A Firm For You

About Olinsky Law Group

If you need help with a disability claim, Olinksy Law Group brings a dedicated focus to situation just like what you’re going through.

Many people don’t understand how hard it is, but we know. An injury, chronic illness or physical disability disrupts your life and threatens your financial stability. Even after working all your life, you can get denied benefits that are crucial to staying financially afloat.

We’ll fight to enforce your rights through every stage of the appeals process, all the way up to the United States Supreme Court if needed.

Cases like yours have been at the roots of our firm from the very beginning, when Howard Olinsky first started helping Social Security Disability (SSD) claimants.

He founded Olinsky Law Group in 1990. Since then, we grew into a regional firm serving many states. Today, Olinsky Law Group is a nationally recognized expert at federal appeals, representing hundreds of Social Security claimants in Federal Court each year.

We know what it takes to create a successful disability claim for you, whether it’s for SSD, workers’ compensation, Supplemental Security Income, Americans with Disabilities Act discrimination or Long-Term Disability.
Disability Law is all we do. And this focus means you can put unparalleled knowledge to work on your case.

Every day we help people like you get the benefits you deserve.

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For over twenty years, we have helped people every day get the benefits they deserve.

Meet Our Team

With decades of disability benefits experience that includes SSD, workers’ compensation, SSI, ADA discrimination and long-term disability, our attorneys offer an unparalleled depth of knowledge about what is necessary to create a successful disability benefits claim.

To learn more about our attorneys’ backgrounds, follow the links below.

Howard D. Olinsky, Esq.

Managing Partner

What you’re going through is hard – health problems, financial worries, legal challenges. You want a lawyer who can’t stand to see good people struggle.

Ask Attorney Howard Olinsky why he prefers helping people with disability claims over, say, representing insurance companies, and here’s what he’ll say:

“That’s not what I went to law school for. I went to law school to help the little people.”

At the beginning of his career, he practiced other kinds of law but grew tired of it. Through disability law, he found a way to help real people with real needs.

From a young age, Howard has been on a mission to help people with disabilities. He worked five summers at a camp for children and adults with mental and physical disabilities.

As an attorney and disability advocate, he provides strong, experienced representation for his clients. And he goes beyond that. He aims to improve how the system itself works for them.

Some of his cases have set legal precedents.

One case helped define the rules for New York State workers’ compensation claims. Another case clarified the duties of Administrative Law Judges during Social Security Disability hearings.

He’s proud to have built a firm that has helped thousands of people during some of the most difficult times in their lives.

Contact us to find out more about how Howard and his team can help you.

holinsky@windisability.com

Howard D. Olinsky, Esq.

Managing Partner

What you’re going through is hard – health problems, financial worries, legal challenges. You want a lawyer who can’t stand to see good people struggle.

Ask Attorney Howard Olinsky why he prefers helping people with disability claims over, say, representing insurance companies, and here’s what he’ll say:

“That’s not what I went to law school for. I went to law school to help the little people.”

At the beginning of his career, he practiced other kinds of law but grew tired of it. Through disability law, he found a way to help real people with real needs.

From a young age, Howard has been on a mission to help people with disabilities. He worked five summers at a camp for children and adults with mental and physical disabilities.

As an attorney and disability advocate, he provides strong, experienced representation for his clients. And he goes beyond that. He aims to improve how the system itself works for them.

Some of his cases have set legal precedents.

One case helped define the rules for New York State workers’ compensation claims. Another case clarified the duties of Administrative Law Judges during Social Security Disability hearings.

He’s proud to have built a firm that has helped thousands of people during some of the most difficult times in their lives.

Contact us to find out more about how Howard and his team can help you.

holinsky@windisability.com

Areas of Practice

Social Security Disability
Workers’ Compensation
Long-Term Disability
Disability Discrimination

Bar Admissions

State Courts:  New York and Georgia

U.S. District Courts: Eastern, Northern, Southern and Western District of New York; District of Connecticut; Northern District of Florida; Eastern and Western District of Michigan; Northern, Middle and Southern District of Georgia; Eastern and Western District of Arkansas; Eastern, Northern and Southern District of Texas; Northern District of Illinois; Eastern and Western District of Wisconsin; Western District of Colorado; Court of Veterans Claims

Court of Appeals: 2nd Cir. 6th Cir. Federal Cir. and US Supreme Court

Additional Courts in conjunction with other attorneys in the firm and by pro hac vice by affiliation with Local Counsel

Education

Syracuse University College of Law
Degree: J.D. 1985
SUNY Oswego
Degree: B.A., Communication Studies 1981

Professional Associations & Memberships

National Organization for Social Security Claimants’ Representatives (NOSSCR)
Sustaining Member
Syracuse University, Burton Blatt Institute
Board Member, Executive Committee
SUNY at Oswego
Board Member
School of Communications, Media and the Arts
Executive Committee
Aurora of Central New York
Board Member
National Organization for Veterans Advocates (NOVA)
NDNY & Federal Court Bar Association
New York State Injured Workers’ Bar Association
Central New York Workers’ Compensation Bar Association
Onondaga County Bar Association
Oswego County Bar Association
Rondaxe Lake Association
Officer

Attorneys

Marisa Burkett, Esq.

Marisa Burkett, Esq.

Attorney

mburkett@windisability.com
Areas of Practice

Appeals in Social Security Disability Law

Education

SUNY Cortland
BA in Political Science, 2010
Penn State Dickinson School of Law
Graduated in 2013

Professional Associations

Member of the New York State Bar Association

Past Employment

Penn State Dickinson Community Law Clinic Certified Legal Intern, 2012-2013 The Law Firm of Frank W. Miller Intern, 2011 District of Columbia Office of the Attorney General Civil Litigation Section

Paul Eaglin, Esq.

Paul Eaglin, Esq.

Federal Court Group Practice Leader

peaglin@windisability.com
Areas of Practice

Social Security Disability Appeals in Federal Court

Bar Admissions

Supreme Court of North Carolina Supreme Court of Pennsylvania Supreme Court of Alaska Eastern District of North Carolina Middle District of North Carolina Western District of North Carolina District of Alaska U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces Supreme Court of the United States

Education

Duke University School of Law, Durham, NC Degree: J.D. The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD Degree: B.A. Liberal Arts

Professional Associations

Volunteer for Ninth Circuit Pro Bono Program The Federal Circuit Bar Association Nationally Board Certified for Social Security Disability Advocacy Member of NOSSCR

Past Employment

Eaglin Law Office Sole practitioner University of Alaska Statewide Associate General Counsel University of North Carolina Wilmington Assistant to the Chancellor for Legal Affairs U.S. Army, Field Artillery, Lieutenant


Michelle Fecio, Esq.

Michelle Fecio, Esq.

Attorney

Areas of Practice

Appeals in Social Security Disability Law

Bar Admissions

New York State

Education

Syracuse University College of Law Degree: J.D., 2014

State University of New York College at Oneonta Degree: B.A., Music Industry, Minor in Audio Arts Production, 2011

Professional Associations

American Bar Association

New York State Bar Association

Erie County Bar Association

Past Employment

Burton Blatt Institute, Syracuse University, Research Assistant, Appellate Brief Legal Training Program, 2013-2015

Megan Savaia-Ortiz, Esq.

Megan Savaia-Ortiz, Esq.

Partner

msavaiaortiz@windisability.com
Areas of Practice

Social Security Disability Law

Bar Admissions

New York State, February 21, 2013

Education

Albany Law School of Union University, Albany, New York Degree: J.D., 2012 Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa Degree: B.S. Psychology Minor in Philosophy, 2009

Professional Associations

Capital District Black and Hispanic Bar Association

Past Employment

Albany Law Clinic and Justice Center Law Intern, Interpreter, 2010-2012 US Attorney\\\’s Office for the Northern District NY Law Intern, 2011-2012 Hermosa Law Firm, Austin, Texas Law Intern, 2010 Texas Facilities Commission – Legal Department Austin, Texas Law Intern, 2010

Pro Bono Activities

Interpreter for the Albany Law Clinic and Justice Center

Edward Wicklund, Esq.

Edward Wicklund, Esq.

Partner

twicklund@windisability.com
Areas of Practice

Social Security Disability Law
Federal Court Disability Appeals

Bar Admissions

New York State, 2012

Education

Syracuse University College of Law, Syracuse, New York Degree: J.D., 2011 Law Review: Syracuse Law Review Managing Board – Computer Editor The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio Degree: B.S. Business Administration – Marketing, 2007

Professional Associations

New York State Bar Association

Past Employment

Advocates for Basic Legal Equality, Inc. Toledo, Ohio, Law Clerk, 2011-2012


Suzanne Harris, Esq.

Suzanne Harris, Esq.

Of Counsel

sharris@windisability.com
Biography

For more than 30 years, Suzanne Harris has been helping the disenfranchised with their Social Security issues. Suzanne was a lead attorney in Social Security and other public benefits litigation for nearly 20 years in legal services programs in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Florida. Suzanne formed the law firm in 1995, and Peter Helwig joined the firm in 1999. Suzanne and her staff are committed to providing personal and experienced service to every one of her clients. Harris & Helwig has continuously served clients from its offices at Christina Cove Office Park, 6700 South Florida Avenue, in Lakeland, since 1995

Area of Practice

Social Security Disability Law Administrative Hearing & Adjudication Disability

Bar Admissions

Florida, 1986 Massachusetts, 1977 Connecticut, 1978 U.S. District Court Middle District of Florida, 1986 U.S. District Court Southern District of Florida, 1986 U.S. District Court Northern District of Florida, 1986 U.S. Court of Appeals 11th Circuit, 1986 U.S. Supreme Court, 1990

Education

Northeastern University School of Law, Boston, Massachusetts Degree: J.D., 1976 Denison University, Granville, Ohio Degree: B.S., 1972

Past Employments

Florida Rural Legal Services, Head of Benefits Unit, 1986-1995 Western Mass Legal Services, Attorney, 1967-1985

Nathaniel Riley, Esq.

Nathaniel Riley, Esq.

Associate Attorney

nriley@windisability.com
Areas of Practice

Social Security Disability Appeals in Federal Court

 

Bar Admissions

Supreme Court of Illinois

Supreme Court of Michigan

 

Education

The John Marshall Law School, Chicago, Illinois, J.D.

The University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico, B.A., Political Science

 

Past Employment

Law Clerk to the Honorable Randye A. Kogan, Associate Judge, Circuit Court of Cook County, Chicago, Illinois

Staff Attorney to the Honorable Clifford Meacham, Shakman Compliance Monitor, Chicago, Illinois

Principal Attorney at Wallace & Riley, P.C., Chicago, Illinois

 

 Alyssa Van Auken, Esq.

Alyssa Van Auken, Esq.

Associate Attorney

Jerry T. Berkhalter, Esq.

Jerry T. Berkhalter, Esq.

Associate Attorney

jberkhalter@windisability.com
Biography

Jerry Berkhalter is an attorney in the Orlando, Florida office of the Olinsky Law Group. He was born and raised in Georgia where he attended Valdosta State University on an academic scholarship and graduated cum laude in 2006. He moved to Jacksonville and attended Florida Coastal School of Law, where he obtained a certificate for Advanced Research, Writing, and Drafting.

Mr. Berkhalter began his legal career working for Jacksonville Area Legal Aid, Inc. and Morgan & Morgan before joining the Olinsky Law Group in 2016. Since that time Mr. Berkhalter has devoted his practice to helping clients in the area of Social Security Disability.

Areas of Practice

Social Security Disability

Education

Valdosta State University Degree: B.A., Criminal Justice, 2006, Cum Laude

Florida Coastal School of Law Degree: J.D., 2010

Memberships

Florida Bar

Southern District Court of Florida

American Bar Association

Brandon Armstrong, Esq.

Brandon Armstrong, Esq.

Associate Attorney

Jillian DaSilva, J.D.

Jillian DaSilva, J.D.

Attorney Advisor

John F. Mcdonough, Esq.

John F. Mcdonough, Esq.

Partner

jmcdonough@windisability.com
Contact

Phone: 315-701-5780
Fax: 315-701-5781

Area of Practice

Workers’ Compensation Law

Social Security Law

Bar Admissions

State: New York State, 1984

Professional Associates & Memberships

Onondaga County Bar Association

New York State Bar Association

Workers’ Compensation Bar Association of Central New York

Injured Workers’ Bar Association

Education

University of Toledo Law School, OH Degree: J.D., 1982

State University of New York at Brockport Degree: B.P.S., cum laude, 1977

Mager A. Varnado, Jr., Esq.

Mager A. Varnado, Jr., Esq.

Of Counsel

Biography

The Law Office of Mager A. Varnado Jr., Attorney at Law focuses on meeting your individual needs. Our practice is not just about helping people get money in Social Security disability cases and workers’ compensation cases. It is about helping people make their lives better.

Mager Varnado has more than four decades of experience with personal injury, SSD/SSI disability, and workers’ compensation claims in Mississippi and surrounding areas and is a member of both the National Organization of Social Security Claimants Representatives (NOSSCR) and National Association of Disability Representatives (NADR).

Area of Practice

Social Security Disability

Memberships

National Organization of Social Security Claimants Representatives (NOSSCR)

National Association of Disability Representatives (NADR)

Professional Staff

Debora Goodhines

Debora Goodhines

Director of Operations/HR

Amy Lee Hogan

Amy Lee Hogan

Supervising Paralegal Southeast Region

Audrey Lee

Audrey Lee

Office Manager

Lorie Ruggiero

Lorie Ruggiero

Supervisor Client Support Center

Vanessa Sena

Vanessa Sena

Accounting Manager-Approved Claims Department

Michael Smith

Michael Smith

Supervising Paralegal Federal Court Group