PHIL STUDENBERG, Attorney
Phil was raised in the small town of Winner, S.D., and received his law degree from the University of South Dakota. He edited and published in the AG Law Symposium and clerked for the Chief Justice of the South Dakota Supreme Court.
In 1978, Phil moved his family to Oregon and began his legal career as a criminal defense lawyer for Legal Aid where he developed a lifelong passion for vigorous defense and social justice. “I had opportunities in larger cities, but chose Klamath Falls for its good schools, sense of community, and the familiar open spaces I grew up with.” Phil knows how to fight hard for your legal rights and looks forward to serving Southern Oregon for many years to come.
Another of Phil’s passions is Indian law and culture. He has worked for the Lakota Tribe and was a member of the Edison Chiloquin defense team. Phil is also an expert in the area of medical marijuana defense. He has been an advocate for the decriminalization of marijuana for adults and an active member of NORML since 1972.
SARA M. DYER, Social Security Disability Claims Representative
Sara started working with Disability and SSI files five years ago. Her job is to analyze the medical records, the SSA documents, and Social Security Regulations applicable to the each client's case. She then prepares a memo for Phil to use either to request approval of benefits or in preparation for a hearing. Sara attends the hearings and hopes to be certified next summer as a non-attorney to represent clients at hearings.
"I thoroughly enjoy research particularly when it is in the course of helping individuals get through the maze of the SSA rules and regulations. Unlike criminal defense work, where there is 'guilty' or 'innocent,' when we win benefits for our client, everyone wins. Fighting for a client's benefits so that he or she can at the least have some monthly income and therefore does not have to go hungry and homeless is very important to me, morally and ethically."
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