Attorney Shannon E. Sorensen

Shannon Sorensen was born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. As a child, Shannon was a member of the renowned Bel Canto Professional Chorus. In high school, Shannon was honored by the Optimist’s Club as a Student of Recognition and received a drama scholarship upon graduation. Shannon worked as a professional actress with the Milwaukee Public Theatre and worked with at-risk youth at the Milwaukee Center for Applied Theatre. She then attended the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, where she pursued a Bachelors Degree in Theatre and Political Science, was a member of the Chi Omicron Chapter of the National Pi Sigma Alpha Political Science Honor Society, and was Treasurer of the Player’s Guild. Shannon was on the Dean’s List and graduated Cum Laude in 2005.

Shannon moved to Ohio in 2006 to attend Law School at the University of Akron. During the first two years of law school, Shannon continued her five year career as a state-certified pharmacy technician, a certification she still maintains. Shannon spent the summer of 2008 living and working in Geneva, Switzerland, learning international law. She received a behind-the-scenes education on the inner-workings of many international organizations, including the United Nations, the Red Cross, and the World Trade Organization.

In 2009, Shannon began working at Shifrin Newman Smith Inc. as a law clerk. While in law school, she also received the CALI Excellence for the Future Award. Shannon graduated from the University of Akron School of Law in January 2010 and passed the Ohio Bar Exam thereafter. She has been admitted to practice law before the Supreme Court of Ohio, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, and the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. Shannon has fought for clients at over 1,000 Social Security hearings and is highly-skilled in Federal Court matters, including extensive Appeals Council and Federal Court Brief-writing experience.  In 2016, Shannon became a Partner at Shifrin Newman Smith.

Shannon is currently the Lead Chair of the Disability Law Section of the Akron Bar Association. Shannon also serves as a regular volunteer and food drive administrator for the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank, volunteers as a “big sister” for the Big Brothers Big Sisters Program of Summit County, and serves on the Akron Bar Association Foundation Gala Committee and NOSSCR New Media Committee. Along with the other attorneys at Shifrin Newman Smith Inc., Shannon is a regular volunteer at Stewart’s Caring Place, providing legal advice to families battling cancer. In her free time, Shannon enjoys reading, cooking, travel, singing, photography, trivia competitions, going to the theater, and spending time with her husband.

Areas of Practice
Social Security Disability
Foreclosure/Debt Defense
Short and Long-term Private Disability Claims
Bankruptcy
Medicare/Medicaid Planning
Personal Injury/Litigation

Bar Admissions
Ohio
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
U.S. District Court – Northern District
U.S. District Court – Southern District

Education
University of Akron School of Law – 2010
Dean’s List, Cali Excellence for the Future Award 2009

University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point – 2005
Dean’s List, Graduated Cum Laude

Professional Associations and Memberships
Akron Bar Association – Lead Chair of Disability Law Section, Foundation Gala Committee Member
National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives (NOSSCR) – Committee Member
American Bar Association
Ohio Bar Association
Young Professionals of Akron
Pharmacy Technician Certification Board

Attorney Christopher N. Godios

Christopher Godios was born and raised in Hamburg, New York.  He attended Allegheny College in Meadville, PA where he received a Bachelors of Arts degree in Political Science.  In 2003, Chris moved to Akron, Ohio in order to attend law school at the University of Akron.  During law school, Chris worked as an intern at the Ninth District Court of Appeals, the Summit County Court of Common Pleas, and as a law clerk at Sternberg, Newman and Shifrin Inc (now Shifrin Newman Smith).  In May 2006, Chris graduated from the University of Akron Law School, Magna Cum Laude.

In 2006, after passing the bar examination, Shifrin Newman Smith Inc. hired Chris as an attorney.  Since then, Chris has successfully represented over a  thousand disabled individuals at their Social Security Hearings, the Appeals Council, and in Federal District Court.  In the past, Chris also worked as a part-time legal writing instructor at the University of Akron School of Law.

In 2007, Chris began representing military veterans before the Department of Veterans Affairs at the VA Regional Office and at the Board of Veteran’s Appeals.  Chris has given speeches on various Social Security and Veterans Disability related topics to a number of organizations in the Akron, Ohio area- including at the Akron Bar Association, Summit County Traumatic Brain Injury Collaborative, Coleman Behavioral Health, and at Community Support Services.  In 2012, Chris became the fourth partner at Shifrin Newman Smith Inc.

Chris is a VA accredited attorney and he is also admitted to the Ohio Bar, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, The United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, The United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, and the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims.  Chris is a member of NOSSCR (National Organization of Social Security Claimants Representatives) and NOVA (National Organization of Veterans Advocates).  In addition to working in the field of disability, Chris also practices in areas of personal injury, foreclosure defense, and various other civil matters. Chris lives in Fairlawn with his wife and two dogs. He volunteers at Stewart’s Caring Place giving pro bono legal advice to cancer patients, and he also serves on the Board of Directors for Family Promise of Summit County- a non-profit agency that provides assistance to homeless families.

Bar Admissions

  • Ohio
  • U.S. District Court Northern District of Ohio
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims

Education

  • University of Akron School of Law, Akron, Ohio
    • Honors: magna cum laude
  • Allegheny College, Meadville, Pennsylvania
    • Bachelors of Arts
    • Major: Political Science

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • National Organization of Social Security Claimants Representatives, Member
  • National Organization of Veterans Advocates, Member
Attorney Scott F. Smith

Since 2003, Scott Smith has been a partner at Shifrin Newman Smith Inc. He is a University of Akron Law School graduate and has been admitted to practice law before the Supreme Court of Ohio and the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio. Scott was granted a fellowship by the Akron Bar Association and the National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives (NOSSCR) where he sits as a member of the board representing the Sixth Circuit. He is a member of the Investigative Subcommittee and serves on the Fee Dispute Panel for the Akron Bar Association. He has been named to the Advisory Board of Rockynol Retirement Center. He is a member of St. Hilary Catholic Church and is active in his children’s school activities.

Bar Admissions

  • Ohio
  • U.S. District Court Northern District of Ohio

Education

  • University of Akron School of Law, Akron, Ohio
    • J.D. – 1998
    • Honors: CALI Award for Civil Procedure, Highest Grade in the Class
  • Kent State University, Kent, Ohio
    • B.S. – 1994

Honors and Awards

  • Fellow, Akron Bar Association foundation

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • Summit County Trial Lawyers Association
  • National Organization of Social Security Claimants Representatives
  • Akron Bar Association, Fee Dispute Panel, Member, Investigative Subcommittee
  • Westminster Presbyterian Church,, Deacon, Moderator of Properties Committee
Attorney Dianne R. Newman

Dianne R. Newman (retired as of 12/31/2015) has been practicing law since November 1979. She had been a stay-at-home mom for 15 years when she went to law school at the University of Akron where she had received her undergraduate degree. At the time her four children ranged in age from 5 to 14. She started practicing law with Richard Sternberg at 411 Wolf Ledges, where the firm is now again located. Starting with bankruptcy law, she soon moved into Social Security Disability law because of the overwhelming medical issues her clients who were seeking to file bankruptcies were facing. She and Debra met when Debra started clerking at a law office on the first floor of 411 Wolf Ledges and though they were competitors before they were partners, always were friends. She met Scott when she and Debra hired him to be their law clerk.

Over the years, Dianne has restricted her practice to Social Security Disability and has pursued excellence in this one field of law by attending many courses and speaking at many as well. Over the years she has been given the honor of speaking on Social Security issues at the annual national conference of the Association of Trial Lawyers, now known as the American Association of Justice; at several Ohio Academy of Trial Lawyers (Ohio Association for Justice) annual conventions, at meetings of Summit County Association for Justice, at the University of Akron continuing legal education series, at seminars put on by the Akron Bar Association and at local support groups for Post Polio syndrome, Arthritis, multiple sclerosis and others.

Social Security is a Federal program and Dianne handles the Federal appeals for the office, being admitted to both the Northern District of Ohio and Southern District of Ohio as well as the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court of the United States. She has argued at least 25 times before the Sixth Circuit. Several of her cases from the district court and the Sixth Circuit have been published.

Dianne was given a Women’s History Project Woman of the Year” award for creativity in 1994; she and Debra were given the Ohio Legal aid Association Fund’s Pro Bono Award of the Year in 1999 for their work in getting children their benefits; University of Akron School of Law Outstanding Alumna in 2002 and she has been listed in Inside Business’s issue on the best lawyers in Northeastern Ohio for the past six years. She received the Akron Bar Association Senior Lawyers’ Award for Senior Lawyer of the year in 2007. Recently, Diane received United Way’s Women in Philanthropy Award and she is an Athena Award recipient.

Besides work, Dianne enjoys travel, art, music, used to ski and may return to it! and loves being grandma to 11 grandchildren. She and her husband, Herb, have been married since 1961 and currently lavish their affection on their two long-haired dachshunds. Outside of the practice of law, Dianne believes in volunteerism and in philanthropy and has engaged in both for many years.  She is currently president of the Akron Art Museum Board of Trustees, the University of Akron Foundation Board of Trustees, and the Women’s Endowment Board of Trustees of the Akron Community Foundation. In the past, she and Herb were honorary co-chairs of the American Cancer Society’s Cattle Baron Ball. She has also served as president of the Jewish Community Board, president of Jewish Family Service, trustee f Children’s Concert Society, Junior Board of Akron City Hospital, Hadassah Board, Akron Bar Association Board of Trustees, Akron Law Library Board of Trustees, and was a member of the Doggy Brigade at Akron Children’s Hospital for one year with her standard poodle, Dudley.

Now that Dianne is retired, she enjoys visiting her grandchildren and being a docent at the Akron Art Museum.

Areas of Practice

  • Social Security Disability

Bar Admissions

  • Ohio
  • U.S. District Court Northern District of Ohio
  • U.S. District Court Southern District of Ohio
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 6th Circuit
  • U.S. Supreme Court

Education

  • University of Akron School of Law, Akron, Ohio
    • J.D. – 1979
  • University of Akron, Akron, Ohio
    • B.A. – 1964

Honors and Awards

  • Athena Award Recipient, 2013
  • Barbara Mathews Women in Philanthropy Award, 2012
  • Senior Lawyer of the Year, Akron Bar Association Senior Lawyers’ Award, 2007
  • University of Akron School of Law Outstanding Alumnus, 2002
  • Ohio Legal Aid Association Fund’s Pro Bono Award, 1999
  • Women’s History Project “Woman of the Year,” 1994

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives, Member
  • Hadassah, Life Member
  • Akron Bar Association, Member
  • Ohio Bar Association, Member
  • American Association for Justice, Member
  • Ohio Academy of Trial Lawyers, Member
  • Summit County Association for Justice, Member
Attorney Debra S. Shifrin

Debra Shifrin was born and raised in Cleveland Ohio. She is a graduate of Cleveland Heights High School and was a member of the Girls Glee Club/Mens Chorus. After attending a large high school, Debra chose to attend a small university – American University in Washington D.C. Graduating a semester early with a degree in Political Science, she decided to use her accounting courses and work for an accounting firm. After passing part of the C.P.A. exam, she decided that accounting was not her dream job. So, in the fall of 1978, she began studying law at Case Western Reserve University School of Law. In 1996, after 15 years of being competitors and friends, Debra and Dianne became partners. Scott joined the firm several years later as a law clerk, associate, and now partner. As the firm has grown, Chris joined as an associate and is also now a partner.

After pursuing a general practice, Debra enjoys limiting her practice to representing disabled individuals before the Social Security Administration and the Veterans Administration.

In addition to being admitted to practice law before the Supreme Court of the State of Ohio, Debra is admitted federally to the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, the Court of Appeals for Veterans’ Claims, and the United States Supreme Court. Debra is also involved in many legal and charitable organizations, including past president of the National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives (NOSSCR) Board of Directors and past president of the Jewish Community Board of Akron.

Debra enjoys speaking to groups educating them about the Social Security Administration, being a paperless office, and law firm management.

Debra has been married since 1985 to Steve, and they have two sons – a lawyer in Fairlawn, Ohio, and her other son works for the Jewish Federation of Cleveland. When not at the office or in hearings, Debra loves to travel, read, sing, and cook. Ask her about her cookbook collection, she will share stories and recipes.

Bar Admissions

  • Ohio
  • U.S. District Court Northern District of Ohio
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 6th Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims
  • U.S. Supreme Court

Education

  • Case Western Reserve University Law School, Cleveland, Ohio
    • J.D. – 1981
  • American University, Washington, District of Columbia
    • B.A. – 1977
    • Major: Political Science

Honors and Awards

  • Fellow, Akron Bar Association Foundation
  • Ohio Legal Aid Association Fund’s Pro Bono Award, 1999
  • Athena Award Finalist, 2015
  • NOSSCR President 2012-2013
  • JCBA President 2013-2015
Attorney Kandice Evelsizer

Kandice Evelsizer was born in Salem, Ohio and grew up in Tega Cay, South Carolina.  She graduated with honors from Fort Mill High School and then attended the University of South Carolina where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science:  Scientific Foundations, with a minor in Business Administration.  During her time at the University of South Carolina, Kandice was named to the Dean’s List, was a member of the Carolina Service Council, was a professor’s assistant in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, completed an internship with a law firm that specialized in worker’s compensation and social security disability law, and worked for a bankruptcy law firm.

While attending the University of Akron School of Law, Kandice worked for the Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Trustee in Canton, Ohio and was a member of the Moot Court Honor Society and the International Legal Fraternity of Phi Delta Phi.  She also volunteered with a number of organizations, including the Campus Sidekicks program (Big Brothers Big Sisters), the Law and Leadership Institute, and Akron Law Cares.  Following her graduation from law school, Kandice became an associate attorney at Shifrin Newman Smith Inc.  She has been admitted to the practice of law before the Supreme Court of Ohio and the United States District Court of the Northern District of Ohio and belongs to the National Association of Social Security Claimant Representatives (NOSSCR).

Outside of the office, Kandice enjoys spending time with her family and friends, reading, cooking, traveling, watching movies, and going to Broadway shows.

Bar Admissions

  • U.S. District Court Northern District of Ohio

Education

  • University of Akron School of Law, Akron, Ohio
    • J.D. – 2013
    • Honors: Dean’s List
  • University of South Carolina
    • B.S. – 2010
    • Major: Exercise Science: Scientific Foundation
    • Minor: Business Administration

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • National Organization of Social Security Claimants Representatives
  • Akron Bar Association
  • American Bar Association