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Hearing Officer

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Summary

Hear cases and make judgments based on the law.

What does a Hearing Officer do?

If you are a stickler for the letter of the law, have strong communication skills, and feel confident in your decision-making capabilities, then a job as a Hearing Officer might be right up your alley. Of course, a Hearing Officer also needs some training, but once you earn your law degree, you can be the decision maker in a range of disputes.

Typical cases involve disagreements between governmental agencies and claimants or employees-for example, when an employee is denied a disability claim. Other common cases revolve around unemployment, social security, worker’s compensation, and other government programs.

It’s your job as a Hearing Officer to gather the facts, hear out the parties involved in the dispute, and make a decision on the case. That sounds simple enough, but it’s not like choosing socks to match your shirt. Your decision is based on the law, so your scrutinizing abilities are put to the test.

And it’s not a popularity contest either. Like it or not, you’ve got the sometimes difficult job of deciding what’s fair and legal for each of the parties involved.

While the actual hearing and subsequent decision are a major part of your job, your responsibilities start well before the hearing date is set. Prior to hearing evidence, you invest time in researching laws, similar cases that set a precedent, and governmental policies. Then you schedule the hearing, deliver subpoenas, question witnesses, gather evidence, consider liability, present your decision, and close the books on the case.

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