Saturday, April 10, 2010

PAUL R. BLATCHFORD - What does a Vocational Expert do?

Meet Paul R. Blatchford – one of our newer members of the Board of Directors. Unlike many of our other board members, Paul is not an attorney, nor is he a psychologist or a financial planner. Paul is a vocational consultant and expert.

Paul graduated from Boston University with a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration. He subsequently earned a Masters in Educational Counseling from Suffolk University. Additionally, he has had extensive training for Vocational Testing and Labor Market Research. Paul is certified by the American Board of Vocational Experts as a Diplomate – the highest status that one can reach.

After graduating from college, Paul initially worked for Youth Activities of Southeastern Massachusetts, providing services to the Welfare Department under the Work Incentive (WIN) program. In this capacity, Paul provided counseling, vocational training, and assisted in job placement of women who were welfare recipients. Paul also worked with severely handicapped individuals for the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission. For seventeen years, he was contracted by the Social Security Administration to provide testimony in disability hearings, as an impartial vocational expert.

As a member of the Board of Directors, Paul also serves as Co-Chair of the Professional Development Committee. This committee is the arm of The Divorce Center which offers seminars to our membership and other professionals interested in a particular topic. He is also member of the National Association of Disability Evaluators (NADE), and the International Association of Rehabilitative Professionals (IARP).

Paul has maintained a private practice as a vocational consultant for more than thirty years. He has been qualified as an expert witness by numerous federal, state, and administrative bodies. He has offices in Brookline and Worcester.

What exactly does a Vocational Consultant do?

Initially, consultant assesses the capacity of a person to do work and to earn money. If a person is able to work, then the vocational expert determines this person’s ability to sustain work, i.e., whether the person can work full time or part time. This assessment is done by gathering vocational information such as the person’s age, education, prior work history, and presence or absence of disability. Once this information is compiled, the vocational expert develops an analysis of the individual’s vocational profile and earning capacity. In certain instances, standardized vocational testing can be utilized.

Who would have need for a Vocational Expert? Various organizations, such as the Industrial Accident Board and the Social Security Administration, along with attorneys who concentrate in divorce cases, wrongful death, personal injury, long-term disability, and medical malpractice cases utilize these specialized evaluations.

Why and when would a divorce attorney require such services? In divorce litigation, an attorney may want his or her client’s employability factors analyzed to determine what type of jobs (full or part-time) their client would potentially be able to perform. The expert witness would also determine the earning capacity associated with those jobs. In divorce litigation, it can also be beneficial for an attorney to secure this information on their client’s unemployed or underemployed spouse. This information can be utilized in mediation or in trial. It can provide a judge or mediator with data necessary to make an informed decision.

It is helpful for an attorney to hire a vocational consultant, such as Paul, prior to drafting the interrogatories and prior to conducting any depositions. Paul could utilize his expertise to assist the attorney in knowing what questions to ask for both of these discovery tools.

When Paul is not working, he is very involved with his family. He is married and has two teen-aged children. If Paul is not at home or working, you might be able to find him fishing on Cape Cod, or maintaining his colorful and diverse garden.

If you would like to speak with Paul regarding his fees or to find out more about his services, he may be reached by calling 617-244-5642 or emailing him at

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