Our Team

Meet our highly experienced Social Security Disability attorneys and experts in the Bay Area

Since 1982

The most experienced law firm in the Bay Area for Social Security Disability claims, leading with integrity and compassion

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Terry LaPorte

Attorney

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Kevin LaPorte

Attorney

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Kelsey LaPorte

Attorney

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Maria Miranda-Hammon

Legal Representative

Lladira Abarca

Office Manager

Sylvia Marichalar

Legal Assistant

What we believe in

Empathy, Compassion, and Humility

We always put our clients first. As we know how daunting the disability process can be and understand that our clients are facing hard and uncertain times in their lives, we do everything in our power to make the process as stress-free as possible.

Honesty and Integrity

When we take on a case, we are straightforward about the chances of success — we won’t just tell you what you want to hear. We never overpromise and treat each client with the dignity and respect they deserve.

Respect and Accountability

We never abandon a case, no matter what. If we decide to take on a case, we will remain 100% committed until the final outcome.

Passion and Dedication

Helping people is what we believe in. With over 40 years of expertise and thousands of successful cases, we remain steadfast in our goal of helping people receive the benefits they deserve.

Our commitment to you

We believe in keeping our promises to our clients:

Tired of going it alone?

Get the assistance you need in three easy steps.

Free consultation call

Book a free 30- to 60-minute consultation call with us so we can assess your situation.

Evaluation by experts

Receive your free case evaluation from our experienced team, who can review your medical history and discuss how Social Security law applies to your situation.

Get started

Begin the onboarding process with LaPorte Law Firm if your case is taken on by the legal team.

The results you deserve

With over 40 years of service, LaPorte Law Firm has won thousands of claims and appeals for our clients.

I was very down on my luck and got an appointment set up with LaPorte Law Firm. The lawyers were straight shooters. I appreciate them being very generous with their time and preparing me for the worst-case scenario. I would highly recommend this firm to anyone serious about their court case.

Eyez V.

Emeryville, CA

Terry went above and beyond to get my brother approved for his Social Security benefits — jumping through many hoops in what should have been an easy process that was complicated by the unusual circumstances of the case. He fought through red tape and managed to get a successful outcome. His integrity and work ethic are fantastic!

Debbie Klahr

LaPorte Law Firm is very good at what they do. The application process for a Social Security Disability claim can be a long, complicated, and stressful experience, but LaPorte made the entire process so much easier for me. They’re the best!

Thomas Gardner

How it works:

How we can help:

NO FEES UNLESS YOU WIN.

At LaPorte Law Firm, we only receive a fee if you win your case – so you have nothing to lose. We’re with you every step of the way.
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Frequently Asked Questions

SSDI is a disability insurance program financed by your Social Security paycheck deductions. Unless prohibited by your age, you must have worked a total of 10 years (40 quarters), 5 of which must be within the last 10 years (20 of the last 40 quarters). In order to be eligible for SSDI benefits, you must have earned FICA-taxed wages during this work period.

For Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, no work time is required at all. There are, however, limits to eligibility based on how much property you own or money you have in the bank, as the SSI program is aimed at individuals who lack income or resources and are disabled. Benefits are paid as a flat rate, and the amount may be reduced if you receive any money or assistance from any source.

With both SSI and SSDI, you must be found disabled. The Social Security Administration (SSA) oversees both programs and defines disability as being unable to perform any “substantial gainful activity.”

No, SSDI can be seen as a safety net. It will pay monthly benefits to you based on the amount of money that you have already paid into the system through employment taxes.
If your claim is approved upon the first attempt, the process should take just a few months. However, it should be noted that only approximately one-third of claims are approved on the first filing. As such, most applicants need to go through the appeal process to secure their benefits. If your claim is then approved after an appeal to the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review, delays of a year or more before benefit payment commences are also common.
Attorney’s fees are 25% of the first retroactive payment to you by the SSA; however, the fee is capped at US$7,200 regardless of the amount of money you are owed by the SSA. There is no one-off or ongoing fee after you win your case. As the SSA can take several years to adjudicate a disability claim, disability claimants are often entitled to a large check for retroactive benefits for the period in which they were waiting for their claim to be decided. Our fees automatically come out of that first retroactive check, so our clients never have to pay us directly.
If your application is rejected on your first attempt, as is the case for many first-time applicants, you should seek legal counsel as soon as possible. An appeal must be filed using the proper forms within 60 days of the date of the denial decision. Your chances of winning an appeal are greatly enhanced by retaining a firm that specializes in Social Security law.
The monthly amount you will receive depends on factors such as age, past earnings, and type of benefit. The law allows retroactive pay up to 12 months prior to the month of a disability application. To get a better idea of your situation, it is advisable to consult the SSA’s benefit calculator.

Award-winning service

Equipped with years of experience and thousands of successful cases, LaPorte Law Firm is the leading disability attorney in the Bay Area, and we have the awards and certifications to prove it.

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Terry LaPorte

Attorney

Since receiving his JD from Santa Clara University School of Law in 1979, Terry LaPorte has dedicated his legal career to representing individuals in Social Security Disability claims and appeals. In 1982, he established the LaPorte Law Firm in Northern California, specializing in Social Security Disability law. For over 40 years, Terry and the LaPorte Law Firm team have successfully represented thousands of clients in California and the Western States.

Throughout his career, Terry has continued to develop his expertise in various ways, such as attaining the National Board of Legal Specialty Certification and serving on the Board of Examiners of the National Board of Trial Advocacy. He is also a member of the National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives, a provider attorney to the American Association of Retired Persons, and a seven-time Chair of the Social Security section of the Santa Clara County Bar Association. In addition, he has served as a lecturer on disability law for the Continuing Education Program of the California Bar Association and for many community, legal, and support organizations.

Terry has received numerous awards and recognition for his commitment to individuals with disabilities and others in need in our community, including:

  • The Santa Clara County Bar Association Pro Bono Services Award
  • The Santa Cruz County Trial Lawyers Association Community Service Award
  • The Law Foundation of Silicon Valley’s Philip J. Berelson Award for Generous Philanthropy
  • Chapter Programs Partner of the Year and Social Security Attorney of the Year by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society
  • Client Distinction Award by Martindale-Hubbell and Lawyers.com (fewer than 4% of over 900,000 attorneys listed on Martindale.com and Lawyers.com have been awarded this distinction)
  • Acknowledgement of dedication to the disabled by the California State Bar’s Consumer Business Review, the Santa Clara County Bar Association, and the Pro Bono Project of Santa Clara County
  • Named a top Northern California attorney in Super Lawyers
  • Certificate of Recognition from the California State Assembly

Terry is licensed to practice in the State of California and the Northern District Federal Court.

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Kevin LaPorte

Attorney

Kevin LaPorte received his JD from the University of San Francisco Law School where he was also awarded an International and Comparative Law Certificate with Honors. He is a member of the National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives, where he has received specialized training in Social Security Disability Law.

Before joining LaPorte Law Firm, Kevin’s practice focused on international criminal law and human rights, such as serving as Assistant Attorney to the International Civil Parties in the trial of former Khmer Rouge leaders in Cambodia. This trial was conducted as a joint enterprise between the United Nations and the Cambodian government, and involved the drafting of closing statements in the historical trial of former Khmer Rouge leaders, along with conducting fact gathering missions for the crime of genocide. He also worked for the United Nations in The Hague, Netherlands, at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, which involved the criminal trial of a former general accused of genocide and war crimes.

Kevin’s experience helping victims of human rights abuses inspired him to assist individuals closer to home who are suffering from disabling illnesses and injuries. With his background in human rights law, he has gained a unique perspective in representing clients whose disabilities prevent them from being able to work. His practice now focuses on representing clients in Northern California in the Social Security Disability claims and appeals process. He was also named a Super Lawyers Rising Star in 2022.

Kevin is licensed to practice in the State of California and the Northern District Federal Court. Kevin LaPorte is also a member of the Alameda County Bar Association.

Kevin is also the main contributor to our blog, writing new articles every month on SSDI and SSI-related topics that you can consult for free here.

Kevin also contributes to other major online publications, like this Bloomberg article on SSDI and long Covid, thanks to his extensive experience as a Social Security Disability attorney

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Kelsey LaPorte

Attorney

Kelsey LaPorte is a zealous advocate for her clients, committed to helping them obtain the benefits they deserve while guiding them through a time in which they adjust to the effects of their disability on their daily life. With specialized expertise in appeals, she has demonstrated success in appeals to both the Social Security Appeal Council as well as federal lawsuits against the Social Security Administration.

Kelsey is a cum laude graduate of Santa Clara University School of Law with experience in appellate work with the Northern California Innocence Project and the California Public Defenders Office. As a graduate of the Center for Social Justice and Public Service at Santa Clara Law, she is committed to public service and has contributed to the Bay Area community by working on expungement petitions at the Santa Clara Public Defender’s office.

Kelsey is licensed to practice in the State of California and the Northern District Federal Court.

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Maria Miranda-Hammon

Legal Representative

Maria Miranda-Hammon has decades of experience as a Legal Specialist, representing clients since 1994. She is an experienced and dedicated Social Security legal representative who is deeply committed to achieving a successful outcome for every client. Maria specializes in the representation of claimants with SSI and SSA disability claims and appeals at Social Security hearing offices and district offices. She continues to expand her knowledge and experience through research and seminars offered by the Santa Clara County Bar Association, the National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives, and the Annual 9th Circuit Conference for Experienced Social Security Practitioners.

With her vast litigation support experience and electronic filing software expertise, Maria’s assistance in preparing documentation presentations and conference materials is an invaluable asset to the firm. With a fully integrated bicultural background, she has represented many monolingual Spanish-speaking claimants.

Lladira Abarca

Office Manager

Lladira Abarca joined the firm in 2008 as Office Manager. Her prior experience includes her work as a litigation and trial paralegal, where she was recognized for her excellent performance, innovative ideas and workflow improvements, and positive attitude. With her wide-ranging expertise in handling a broad range of legal cases, effective communication with clients and counsel, and a firm commitment to helping people, Lladira’s contribution to the management of our clients’ cases is invaluable.

Sylvia Marichalar

Legal Assistant

Sylvia Marichalar joined the firm in 2000 and has been a valuable member of the LaPorte Law Firm ever since. Her extensive background in customer service and office procedures in addition to her dedication to serving clients with compassion and personal attention enabled her to adapt swiftly to the client-centered approach of LaPorte Law Firm. Sylvia manages client files, prepares outgoing legal documents, handles our multi-line telephone system, and welcomes visitors to our office. Fluent in both English and Spanish, she is one of three Spanish translators employed by the firm to provide translation assistance to our Spanish-speaking clients.

Watch a free video presentation by the attorneys at LaPorte Law Firm – How to prepare for a Social Security disability hearing

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Prepare for Your Remote Hearing