Skip to page content
Scheduled Maintenance

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) is conducting scheduled system maintenance starting Friday, February 15 at 5:00 p.m. ET through Tuesday, February 19 at 8:00 a.m. ET. Most DOL websites and web systems will be affected and unavailable to the public. The National Contact Center remains open 24 hours a day to contact Job Corps (1-800-733-5627), MSHA (1-800-746-1553), and OSHA (1-800-321-6742).

ARB, BRB, ECAB, and OALJ
Bookmark and Share

Do I need representation?

ARB | BRB | ECAB | OALJ


Administrative Review Board

Representation Guidelines for BRB

Parties who appear before a Department of Labor administrative law judge or appellate board have the right to appear in person, by counsel, or by other representative. See, e.g., 20 C.F.R. § 802.202; 20 C.F.R. § 501.11; 29 C.F.R. § 18.34; 29 C.F.R. § 24.6(d).

Whether you should retain an attorney or non-attorney representative is a decision you must make yourself. Many litigants choose to represent themselves. In legal parlance, they are said to be proceeding "pro se." Department of Labor adjudications, however, vary widely in complexity and in many instances it may be wise to obtain legal counsel.

None of the Department of Labor's adjudicatory bodies have the authority to appoint counsel or to refer parties to attorneys. See, e.g., 29 C.F.R. § 18.35. Thus, you must find legal representation on your own initiative.


Benefits Review Board

Representation Guidelines for BRB

  • An attorney at law who is admitted to practice before the Federal Courts or before the highest court of any State, the District of Columbia, or any territory or commonwealth of the United States, may practice before the Board unless he or she has been disqualified from representing claimants under the Act pursuant to 33 U.S.C. 931(b)(2)(C), or unless authority to appear has been denied pursuant to 20 C.F.R. §802.202(e)(1) and (3). An attorney’s own representation that he or she is in good standing before any of such courts shall be sufficient proof thereof, unless otherwise ordered by the Board.
  • Any person who is not an attorney at law may be admitted to appear in a representative capacity unless he or she has been disqualified from representing claimants under the Act pursuant to 33 U.S.C. 931(b)(2)(C). An application by a person not an attorney at law for admission to appear in a proceeding shall be submitted in writing to the Board at the time such person’s appearance is entered. The application shall state:
  • The person’s name,
  • Address,
  • Telephone number,
  • General education,
  • Any special training or experience in claims representation, and
  • Such person’s relationship, if any, to the party being represented.

Employees' Compensation Appeals Board

Representation Guidelines for ECAB

It is not necessary that you retain an attorney to represent your interests in your appeal before the Employees’ Compensation Appeals Board.

For additional info, click on this representative info link.


Office of Administrative Law Judges

Representation Guidelines for OALJ

Parties who appear before a Department of Labor administrative law judge or appellate board have the right to appear in person, by counsel, or by other representative. See, e.g., 20 C.F.R. § 802.202; 20 C.F.R. § 501.11; 29 C.F.R. § 18.34; 29 C.F.R. § 24.6(d). At the hearing level, you or your representative may examine and cross-examine witnesses and introduce relevant evidence to the extent permitted by applicable law.

Whether you should retain an attorney or non-attorney representative is a decision you must make yourself. Many litigants choose to represent themselves. In legal parlance, they are said to be proceeding "pro se." Department of Labor adjudications, however, vary widely in complexity and in many instances it may be wise to obtain legal counsel.

None of the Department of Labor's adjudicatory bodies have the authority to appoint counsel or to refer parties to attorneys. See, e.g., 29 C.F.R. § 18.35. Thus, you must find legal representation on your own initiative.

Getting Started

The suggestions and links provided on this page are for informational purposes only. The Department of Labor does not endorse any particular organization, lawyer or law firm.

A good way to begin a search for legal representation is to ask trusted friends, relatives, or business associates if they know of a reputable attorney or representative who may be of assistance. You can also find an attorney by consulting your Yellow Pages telephone directory. Be aware that each legal case is different and not all lawyers may be suited for your specific legal problem. Many attorneys offer free initial consultations, but not always, so be sure to check. If you're unfamiliar with how to work with an attorney, the American Bar Association's Consumer's Guide to Legal Help is a good resource.

Lawyer Referral Services

Another way to find an attorney is to contact a local Lawyer Referral Service.

  • Immigration-specific referral service
    The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) web site has information on Finding Legal Advice and Finding Free Legal Advice.

    The U.S. Department of Justice - Executive Office for Immigration Review also has information on finding free legal service providers on its web site at http://www.justice.gov/eoir/probono/states.htm

    The American Immigration Lawyers Association has a web page at http://www.ailalawyer.com/ that can assist in finding an attorney who specializes in immigration law. AILA's Immigration Lawyer Referral Service does not provide legal advice. The Service will only refer you to a lawyer that specializes in your area of need in your geographic area.
  • Legal aid clinics
    Many law schools and non-profit organizations have legal aid clinics that provide free or low cost legal assistance. Many of them have Web sites or pages on a law school Web site. Most of these clinics, however, focus on particular subject matters, and may not have any specific expertise relating to DOL adjudications.