Avard Law Offices

Avard Law Offices

Fighting for the Rights of the Disabled, Injured and those in need of Social Security Disability Assistance!

Firm Overview

Since 1989, Avard Law has been fighting for the rights of the disabled, injured and those in need of Social Security Disability Assistance. The Social Security System can be quite complicated and the paperwork can be overwhelming. Call Today!

We are the ONLY Law Firm in Florida with TWO Board Certified Social Security Attorneys, certified by the National Board of Trial Advocacy. If you need someone on your side to make sense of all the SSA paperwork and processes, contact us today for a free consultation. Our principal office is in Cape Coral and we serve all of Southwest Florida from Orlando to Naples.
Main Office
Main Office
875 SE 47th Terrace
Cape Coral  FL  33904
Phone
  • (888) 685-7930
Fax
  • (239) 945-3332
Websites

Fees

Free Initial Consultation?
The initial consultation is free
Services Offered For Fixed Fees?
The fee we receive is set by the Social Security Administration. No law firm may charge you more than the set amount. We can discuss arrangements after your initial call.

Office Information

Office Hours
Calls Answered 24 hours a day
Office Manager
Carol Avard
Emergency After Hours
No
Languages Spoken
English, Russian, Spanish, Creole, Ukrainian

Other Offices

Avard Law Fort Myers Office
(888) 685-7930
5237 Summerlin Commons Blvd
Fort Myers,  FL  33907
Avard Law Sarasota Office
(888) 685-7930
9040 Town Center Parkway
Lakewood Ranch,  FL  34202
Avard Law Tampa Office
(888) 685-7930
550 North Reo St, Suite 300
Tampa,  FL  33609
Avard Law Naples Office
(888) 685-7930
1100 5th Ave South, Suite 201
Naples,  FL  34102
Avard Law Orlando Office
(888) 685-7930
5401 S Kirkman Rd, Suite 310
Orlando,  FL  32819
Avard Law Port Charlotte Office
(888) 685-7930
1777 Tamiami Trail, Suite 304
Port Charlotte,  FL  33948
Avard Law Sebring Office
(888) 685-7930
439 Rose Avenue
Sebring,  FL  33870
SSDI
Since 1989, Avard Law has been fighting for the rights of the disabled, injured and those in need of Social Security Disability Assistance. The Social Security System can be quite complicated and the paperwork can be overwhelming. Call Today!
We are the ONLY Law Firm in Florida with TWO Board Certified Social Security Attorneys, certified by the National Board of Trial Advocacy. If you need someone on your side to make sense of all the SSA paperwork and processes, contact us today for a free consultation. Our principal office is in Cape Coral and we serve all of Southwest Florida from Orlando to Naples.

What distinguishes your law firm from others?

We are the ONLY Law Firm in Florida with TWO Board Certified Social Security Attorneys, certified by the National Board of Trial Advocacy. If you need someone on your side to make sense of all the SSA paperwork and processes, contact us today for a free consultation. Our principal office is in Cape Coral and we serve all of Southwest Florida from Orlando to Naples.

Carol Avard

Carol Avard is a member of the Medical Malpractice, Social Security, Federal Torts, and Motor Vehicle Collision sections of the American Association for Justice (formerly the Association of Trial Lawyers of America). She is also a member of the Bad Faith, Disability Law, Employment Law, ERISA Litigation, Insurance Law, Medical Negligence, Nursing Home, PI/Wrongful Death, Products Liability, Professional Negligence, and Social Security Disability Law sections of The Florida Association for Justice. Additionally, she is an Accredited Veterans Disability Attorney. Carol is a member of the NOSSCR Board of Directors a professional association of Social Security Disability practitioners.

Carol is Peer Review Rated for Ethical Standards and Legal Ability by Martindale-Hubbell, an independent organization of attorneys and judges that has rated attorneys for over a hundred years. She is Board Certified in Social Security Disability Advocacy law by The National Board of Trial Advocacy and one of seven such Attorneys as of August 2014 in the State of Florida.

In her spare time she enjoys hiking and playing classical piano.
Education
  • Havard University
    Bachelor of Arts , 1971
  • University of New Hampshire
    Juris Doctorate , 1980

Douglas D. Mohney

Mr. Mohney is Board Certified in Social Security Disability Advocacy by the National Board of Trial Advocacy (accredited by the American Bar Association and The Florida Bar) and is one of only 7 Board Certified Social Security Advocates in the State of Florida. He received his Accreditation as an Attorney from the Department of Veterans Affairs. This is a privilege that carries specific responsibilities, for the preparation, presentation, and prosecution of claims for Veterans benefits before the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Served as faculty speaker for the National Organization of Social Security Claimant's Representatives (NOSSCR) National Conference in Alexandria, VA May 5-9 2015, lecturing on how to effectively cross examine medical experts at Social Security Hearings. Also lectured at NOSSCR on "Exit Strategies for Attorneys".

In addition to representing clients at all levels of cases including trials and, if necessary, appeals, Attorney Mohney has been asked to present professional practice lectures to other attorneys. In October of 2011, Mr. Mohney served as a faculty speaker for the American Association for Justice's Social Security Success Seminar in Las Vegas, speaking about the Social Security Rulings used in determining disability. In December of 2011, Mr. Mohney served as a faculty speaker for the Florida Justice Association in Fort Myers, FL speaking about tech tools for success in trial work for personal injury attorneys.

Mr. Mohney has also been recognized nationally by his peers and has been appointed to the leadership of the American Bar Association (ABA) General Practice, Solo & Small Firm Division for 2013. In addition, he has been appointed to the ABA Committees for Alternate Dispute Resolution, Consumer Protection, Gaming Law and the Law Student Committee.

Attorney Mohney is married and he and his wife, Keleigh, have 2 children. An avid sportsman, Mr. Mohney has hunted all over the world and appeared with his son in several hunting programs for the Outdoor Channel and the Travel Channel.
Education
  • Michigan State University College of Law
    Juris Doctor , 1992

Mark Zakhvatayev

Attorney Zakhvatayev has expertise in various stages of the Social Security disability process. He has successfully advocated for hundreds of Social Security claimants both at the hearing level and before the Social Security Appeals Council both in Florida and across the country.

He has handled dozens of Social Security disability appeals in federal courts for the Middle District of Florida in Fort Myers, Tampa, Ocala, and Orlando, and in the Southern District of Florida.

Mark is an integral part of the firm's immigration practice wherein he advises clients and other attorneys on immigration matters related to H1-B and other non-immigrant specialty worker visas, as well as student visas, and provides particular insight into matters involving immigration from Central and Eastern Europe.

He works with a diverse group of clients as he speaks French, Spanish, Ukrainian, and Russian. Mark's other practice areas include personal injury litigation and appeals, employment discrimination, long-term disability appeals, and veteran's disability. He is also a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA).

A native Ukrainian, Mark is an avid fan of soccer, (futbol to the rest of the world). He lives in Cape Coral, Florida, and in spare time he enjoys linguistics, fishing and bungee jumping.
Education
  • Ave Maria School of Law
    Juris Doctor , 2010

Michael Sexton

Mr. Sexton was selected by NOSSCR to speak before National Social Security disability attorneys in May of 2014 on the topic of "Immigration Issues in Social Security Disability".

In addition, in February of 2015 he was selected by the American Association for Justice to speak on the Basics of Social Security Disability Law.

Attorney Michael G. Sexton has experience representing hundreds of claimants in hearings before Social Security Administrative Law Judges. In addition, he has filed appeals with the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR), Appeals Council in Falls Church, Virginia, and the United States District Court of the Middle District of Florida.

He has also successfully represented plaintiffs who have employment discrimination cases in the U.S. District Court, and successfully resolved discrimination cases at mediation.

Prior to joining our team of attorneys at Avard Law Offices, Michael had already gained a substantial amount of immigration and criminal law experience. He is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) as well.

Michael received his J.D. degree from Florida Coastal School of Law where he worked in the Florida Coastal School of Law Immigrant Rights Clinic. He studied abroad at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in San Jose, Costa Rica with Santa Clara School of Law.

He was often on the dean's list, received an honors book award in criminal procedure, and was a pro bono honors recipient. He has a B.A. in English Literature from Florida State University.

Since joining Avard Law Offices and the Immigrant Rights Clinic, he has represented asylum applicants in proceedings before the Department of Homeland Security and Executive Office of Immigration Review.

He has been the lead clinician in multiple political asylum proceedings, handling the direct questioning of witnesses and the closing statement in removal hearings. He has also assisted in fact gathering, research and analysis, motions, memorandum of law, counseling clients and witness preparation.

Michael has represented applicants at their interviews with Adjudicating Asylum Officers at the Department of Homeland Security. He has prepared and filed asylum denial rebuttals, U-Visa petitions, applications for N-648 Medical Disability Waivers, and FOIA requests.

In addition, he has been an Assistant Public Defender in Hillsborough County, Florida where his duties included representing defendants in court at evidentiary and adjudicatory hearings challenging probable cause issues at preliminary presentation court, as well as challenging Baker Act petitions.

Also during his time with the Hillsborough County, FL Public Defender's Office he represented hundreds of juveniles in delinquency court. Michael's wealth of experience has contributed greatly to our office and continues to be a defining factor in winning our clients' cases.
Education
  • Florida Coastal School of Law
    Juris Doctor
  • Florida State University
    Bachelor of Arts

Annaleigh P. Winston

Attorney Annaleigh Porter Winston received her Bachelor's degree in Psychology from Boston University and her Juris Doctorate degree from the University of New Hampshire in 1980.

She practiced family and corporate law in Maine and Massachusetts before relocating to Florida where she has been a member of the Florida Bar since 1989.

From 1990 to 2006, she was a Senior Legal Counsel for the State of Florida's Department of Children and Families, where she prosecuted child abuse cases and termination of parental rights. From 2007 to present, she has handled hundreds of disability hearings during her time at Avard Law.

In addition, she does appellate briefs before the appeals council for the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review. Currently, when she isn't engrossed in legal issues, she is spending her free time writing a mystery novel or travelling in Europe.
Education
  • University of New Hampshire School of Law
    Juris Doctor , 1980

Matthew J. Hoffman

Before joining Avard Law Offices as an associate attorney he worked at a large Minneapolis law firm where he worked on two of the largest federal white-collar receivership cases in Minnesota history wherein he developed a plan and administered a program to compensate over 70,000 claimants from 100 different countries with total claims exceeding $17 million dollars. He also assisted the team managing the receivership of one of the largest fraud cases in the history of the United States. These claims exceeded $180 million dollars with litigation in nearly every U.S. state and funds recovered from as far away as Panama and Switzerland.

He clerked for the United States Department of Justice: Executive Office for Immigration Review wherein he drafted judicial opinions and orders on issues ranging from Central American and East African asylum cases, cancellation of removal, evidentiary and dispositive motions, sham marriage litigation, labor certifications and various other complex issues.

Furthermore, he has also worked on a variety of cases including criminal defense, foreclosure, bankruptcy and civil litigation. He worked in the in-house legal department for one of the largest medical device manufacturers in the world, a Fortune 500 company, wherein he developed a HIPAA HITECH privacy policy, and assisted various legal departments in handling immigration, labor law, and complex international export issues which included various regulations from the US Department of Commerce, Department of Homeland Security, and Anti-Boycott regulations.

Before his legal career he spent nearly a decade in corporate sales managing regions where revenue exceeded $3 million annually. He is married with three young children and enjoys very loud rock music, movies, travel and a variety of sports. He firmly believes the Minnesota Vikings are the greatest football team in the history of the world and will gladly debate that point with anyone willing to challenge it. He has studied in both China and Spain, traveled to 47 states, 7 Canadian provinces and over 60 countries on 6 continents.

He is also an Adjunct Professor at Florida Southwestern University in Fort Myers where he teaches Business, Business and Employment Law, Litigation and Criminal Law.
Education
  • University of St. Thomas School of Law
    Juris Doctor , 2010
  • Keller Graduate School of Management of DeVry University
    M.B.A., International Business , 2007

Craig Polhemus

Attorney licensed to practice in Florida and New York

5-star Amazon merchant (both Fulfillment by Amazon and Merchant Fulfilled)

Former Counsel & Staff Director, U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Alcoholism & Drug Abuse

Former General Counsel and then CFO of New York State Office for the Aging

Directed statewide legal services for the elderly program across New York State

Served as Director of Strategic Initiatives for worldwide statistical software company

Formerly Certified Association Executive and Certified Government Financial Manager

Writer, editor, columnist
Education
  • Georgetown University Law Center
    Juris Doctor , 1977
  • Princeton University
    Bachelor of Arts - Cum Laude , 1974

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