Until 2007 veterans weren't allowed to have attorney representation for VA actions in most cases. Only appeals in higher courts were open to lawyers who would represent vets.
When a veteran filed a claim for a deserved benefit with the VA, he or she had two choices. They could use a Veterans Service Officer (VSO) or they could go it alone. I refer to that as the Do It Yourself (DIY) way of handling your claim.
The restriction has loose origins about the time of the Civil War. As the war came to an end and many veterans were injured, the government started development of what would eventually become today's Department of Veterans Affairs. The profession of law wasn't as well defined, controlled or restricted as it is today and any number of charlatans were advertising their services as lawyers.
Veterans were easy targets for these less than honest types and the government sought to protect veterans by making it illegal to charge veterans for any services that had to do with claims against the government. Professional lawyers can't afford to give away their services all the time so they were more or less forced to deny veterans representation.
n 2007 veterans gained the right to hire attorneys for appeals at all levels. At first there were very few lawyers practicing veterans law but over time the field grew and practitioners were trained and professional organizations were formed and standards were set. Today there are many excellent attorneys available who can assist you.
The trick, of course, is to find the right lawyer for you. I'll help you along with that task...."
Now, I'm not going to rip off Mr. Strickland by grabbing his whole article. If you're thinking of filing a VA claim, or hiring a lawyer for any purpose, go read the whole article here:
How To Hire An Attorney by Jim Strickland of VA Watchdog
Then come back and tell me what do you think: did it make sense to you? are you going to take his advice?