Caring. Effective. Efficient.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you work with individual veterans?

While we prefer working with law firms, agents, and VSOs to improve their results on appeal, we are happy to offer a consultation to an individual veteran denied benefits by the BVA within the past 120 days. Click here to learn more.

We do work with a small number of individual veterans on their administrative claims and appeals, but our focus at this level of the process is limited. Click here to tell us about your case and learn more about our thorough claims review process.

Why should I consider hiring an appellate professional?

Winning a case at the CAVC or the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals requires an attorney with a different skill set that can take years to develop and master.

Whether you are a VSO, agent or attorney, hiring an Appellate Professional to handle your client’s benefits appeal at the CAVC, Federal Circuit, or Supreme Court can make a real difference.

The attorneys at Attig | Steel are committed to the craft of appellate advocacy. We study the court’s precedential and non-precedential decisions and uncover and explore trends in the law.

Appellate attorneys at Attig | Steel remain objective and focused despite the injustice done to your client. We work to discover the facts, law and reasoning that will persuade a federal judge to reverse or remand a decision of a BVA Veterans Law Judge.

We take a “whole-record” approach to uncovering the real problem standing between your client and his or her VA benefits, whether that problem is simply a straightforward error of fact, an inadequate reasoning of your case, or an archaic, unconstitutional, or inappropriate statutory or regulatory interpretation.

What type of appeals do you handle?

Attig | Steel focuses its appellate work at 3 courts.

Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims: We appeal BVA Decisions that deny your benefits to this Article I federal appellate court. The CAVC, as it is known, reviews BVA decisions for clearly erroneous factual findings, reviews legal findings that lack adequate reasons or bases, and reviews statutory and constitutional issues “de novo”.

U.S. Federal Circuit Court of Appeals: This elite Federal Circuit Court of Appeals has a very narrow jurisdiction over adverse decisions of the CAVC. Chris Attig has briefed cases to, and orally argued before, the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals, where he was admitted in 2006.

Supreme Court of the United States: In rare circumstances, a veteran or survivor may petition the U.S. Supreme Court for a writ of review, commonly called the Writ of Certiorari. Should a majority of the justices of this highest court in the land decide that the “Writ of Cert” raises an issue of significant legal importance, the Supreme Court may grant review of a decision of the U.S. Federal Circuit Court of Appeals. Chris Attig is admitted to the bar of the Supreme Court of the United States.

Does my client have to fire me to hire an appellate professional at Attig | Steel?

No. While the VA only allows a veteran to designate one attorney at a time, representation at the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims and the U.S. Federal Circuit Court of Appeals do not require us to enter an appearance as your client’s attorney before the VA. As such, your VA Form 21-22 or 21-22a remains “live” throughout the course of your court appeal.

We do not want your clients, and we do not want your fees. We want to secure justice and the best results for your clients at the CAVC and the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals.

Does it cost me anything to hire your firm?

If your client is unable to prove a financial hardship, you will have to pay a $50 filing fee at the CAVC.

Your client will not, however, have to pay attorney fees. If an attorney at Attig | Steel substantially prevails in your case, the firm petitions the court for attorney fees under the Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA). We ask the court to order the VA to pay our attorney fees — not out of your client’s past due benefits, but out of the VA’s own operating budget.

We do not charge veterans or their administrative attorneys contingency fees for representation at the CAVC.

If we lose your appeal to the CAVC, Federal Circuit Court of Appeals, or the United States Supreme Court, we do not charge you or your client attorney fees.

How long do appeals to the CAVC take?

If a case requires full briefing to the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, the process can take 1-3 years, more or less.

About 80% of the cases we take to the CAVC resolve much more quickly — usually around 8-10 months.

When the VA’s attorneys at the VA Office of General Counsel agree with our presentation of legal or factual error, and agree to send the case back to the BVA Veterans Law Judge to get it right, we join them in filing what is called a Joint Motion to Remand, or “JMR”. The JMR is a tool that quickly sends the appeal back to the BVA for correction of factual and legal errors.

Do I have to live in Arkansas to retain your firm?

Jennifer Steel's grandmother used to say, “You’d be a durned fool not to live here.”

While we all tend to agree, neither you nor your client needs to live in Arkansas to take advantage of the experience and skill of the appellate team at Attig | Steel.

We work with veterans all around the United States and even in places like Thailand, Southeast Asia, Europe and the Middle East.

Attig | Steel is a leader in law firm technology; we operate in a 100% paperless environment. Wherever we have access to an internet connection, we have access to advocacy.

Do you provide BVA Appeals support to attorneys and VSOs?


We have represented thousands of veterans before VA Regional Offices and the BVA over the past decade.

We are happy to pass on what we have learned about building better proof in veteran and survivor benefits claims; making more persuasive arguments to BVA Veterans Law Judges; and, preparing for an eventual court appeal in cases with tougher issues.

If you are an accredited agent, attorney, or VSO representative who is serious about improving the results you deliver to your clients, and ensuring that your firm will be around long enough to help more and more veterans, please send us an email telling us about your practice and how we can help: [email protected]

What is the “VA Form 21” Blog?

The VA Form 21 blog is written by attorney Chris Attig for VSOs, agents, and attorneys who represent veterans before the BVA.

The goal of the blog is to help busy BVA appeal advocates stay current on the law coming out of the appellate courts, improve their practical advocacy skills, and streamline their advocacy businesses to ensure they can continue to help veterans long into the future.

Click here to see the latest VA Form 21 blog posts.

Are you affiliated with the Veterans Law Blog®

The Veterans Law Blog® is a separate business entity and project of Chris Attig. Through the Veterans Law Blog®, Mr. Attig teaches veterans how to cut through the fog of VA claims and take back the power by proving, arguing and hopefully winning their own VA claims. We do pay to advertise our law firm on the Veterans Law Blog®, but otherwise we are not associated with the blog.

Recent Cases

This case involves the special, and very powerful, Nehmer effective date rules.  Mr. Greene, the veteran, sought an effective date for his service connected coronary artery disease. He argued his effective date should go back to 2006, the first clai… Read More
This case involves the BVA’s rejection of a theory of service connection by aggravation for a back condition. The BVA refused to service connect the veteran’s back injury, which he argued was aggravated by service-connected knee and hip i… Read More
  This case involves a veteran who served in the Air Force from 1953 to 1957. During service, he injured his back on a flight line, and has repeatedly tried to service connect the injury since leaving service in 1957. Each time, the claim was de… Read More

See More Appellate Results

VA Form 21 Blog

Earlier this year, I tested an idea – what if a group of lawyers grabbed a virtual cup of coffee every Monday morning and chatted about their progress building a profitable law firm that prioritizes the attorney’s well being? Thos… Read More
If you hear the phrase, lawyers with a purpose, what is your immediate reaction? Do you roll your eyes? Yawn? Close this page and find something else to read? I’ll be honest, the first time a business coach told me that my law practice… Read More

Read the VA Form 21 Blog