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About me

Hello and thank you for reviewing my AVVO profile. My practice covers all of Washington State, Eastern Idaho and Northeastern Orgeon.  I first began practicing Social Security law during my internship in my law school free legal clinic.  Helping people who were trying to fight the government to obtain the assistance they needed was very gratifying.  I felt like I made a difference in somone's every day life.  Now, I continue with my own law practice, where I help people with the respect and dignity they deserve.  The Social Security process is long and frustrating.  Don't go it alone.  At my office, we can relieve some of the burden from you in dealing with Social Security.  Since those days in the law school legal clinic, I have helped thousands of people just like you.  Call now and let my team help you too. 


Some of my clients are also veterans who are frustrated with the Veterans Disability Compensation process.  Our veterans deserve to receive assistance when they need it.  Veterans served the country, now the country must serve the tVeterans.  Because I saw the need for such services, I now also practice Veterans Law - assistance with Veterans Benefits and Compensation claims.  Veterans - let us serve you.


Social Security disability or Veterans benefits - let us help.

Good luck to you!


Photos and videos

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Practice areas


  1. Social Security: 94%
    23 years
  2. General Practice: 2%
  3. Bankruptcy: 2%
  4. Medicaid & Medicare: 2%



Contingent (20-25%), Retainer (sometimes), Free consultation (45 minutes)

Attorney endorsements

8 total 

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  • Douglas MacMillan Borthwick

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    Douglas Borthwick Family Attorney
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FLMember in Good Standing199406/21/2016
DCInactive 200207/05/2016
ILVoluntarily Inactive199605/17/2016
We have not found any instances of professional misconduct for this lawyer.
Avvo contributions
Legal answers
Award nameGrantorDate granted
Pro Bono Service CommendationWashington State Bar Association2015
Pro Bono Service CommendationWashington State Bar Association2010
Work experience
TitleCompany nameDuration
OwnerLaw Office of Debra J. Venhaus, PLLC2002 - Present
Associate AttorneyLaw Office of Robert A. Friedman2000 - 2002
Associate AttorneyLloyd, Hoskins & Pierce1997 - 2000
AttorneyShaw Group1995 - 1997
AttorneyThe Shaw Group1994 - 1995
Legal ConsultantBalek Consulting1993 - 1994
Association namePosition nameDuration
Washington Association of Criminal Defense LawyersMember2012 - Present
WSAJ, Women of WashingtonMember2009 - Present
Washington State Bar AssociationLicensed Atty2003 - Present
District of Columbia BarLicensed Atty2002 - Present
Illinois State Bar AssociationMember1996 - Present
National Organization of Social Security Claimants RepresentativesSustaining Member1995 - Present
The Florida BarLicensed Atty1994 - Present
Washington State Association for JusticeMemberN/A
Legal cases
Case nameOutcome
Holmes v. Apfel (11th Cir. 1997)Favorable/win
Heldebrand v. Chater (7th Cir. 1996)Favorable/win
Henry v. Apfel (11th Cir. 1998)Favorable/win
See all legal cases 
Publication nameTitleDate
Medical Trial Technique QuarterlyAIDS Dementia Complex: A New and Necessary Insanity Defense1994
School nameMajorDegreeGraduated
Nova Southeastern University - Shepard Broad Law CenterN/AJD - Juris Doctor1993
Nova Southeastern University - Shepard Broad Law CenterLegal StudiesOther - Bachelors1989
Speaking engagements
Conference nameTitleDate
Social Security Disability from Start to FinishEffective Hearing Tactics2014
Veterans Benefits Information luncheonVeterans Compensation and Pension2013
Circuit 9 ConferenceContributer to Ethics presentation regarding Subpoenas in Social Security hearings2013
Women's Historical SocietyWomen's Convoy to Central AmericaN/A
Speaker: Social Security DisabilityFiling for Social Security Disability with Parkinson's DiseaseN/A