When Elizabeth Schmidt first started at New Berlin-based Alan C. Olson & Associates, short-term and long-term disability cases merely sounded interesting.
Five years later, they’ve become a passion.
“It just really became a perfect fit for me,” she said. “It’s such an interesting practice area.”
What Schmidt really enjoys about her practice is that it requires her to know both about medicine and the law. To that end, she finds herself regularly reading medical records, medical journals and other medicine-related texts.
The more obscure the medical condition she is researching, the better.
“I’m trying to make an impact in the law in terms of case law,” Schmidt said. “I really enjoy taking on those difficult cases so I can make new law when I can.”
She said she relishes opportunities to change case law not only for the good of one client, but also for other people who suffer from a particular condition and are at risk of being denied insurance coverage.
And while it could be easy to get bogged down in the medical details of her job, Schmidt says the best part comes from the impact she makes on her clients’ lives.
“These are not quick and easy cases. You can be working on them for years,” she said. “You work with (clients) for years, so it really sticks with you.”
Many of Schmidt’s clients come to her at some of the most difficult times of their lives. They tend to be disabled and too sick to work or pay a mortgage.
Many have also lost their health insurance.
“These people are trying to do some basic activities. But when you watch what they are doing, they are so clearly in pain …” Schmidt said. “So you see it’s not quite as simple as the insurance company makes it.”