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MICHAEL BELL, ATTORNEY

Michael Bell has been an attorney since 1975, licensed to practice in the States of Maine and New York, several federal courts, including the District Court for Maine, and the United States Supreme Court. He has practiced law in Maine since 1979, is a sustaining member of the National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives (NOSSCR), a founding member of MOSSCR (Maine Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives), and a member of the American Bar Association. 

Mr. Bell attended Columbia College of Columbia University in New York City, and graduated Magna Cum Laude in June 1972. He went to law school at New York University and graduated in June 1975. 

Attorney Bell joined Volunteer in Service to America (VISTA) and was sent to Bethel, Alaska, where from November 1975 through October 1976, he was employed with Alaska Legal Services as a volunteer attorney, working on behalf of indigent clients. From October 1976 through May 1979, he was a lawyer in private practice, and also taught paralegal studies at the local college. Since coming to Maine in May 1979, Attorney Bell’s work has concentrated on individuals with disabilities. He began with the Handicapped Rights Project in Portland, and later was the Directing Attorney of the Lewiston office of Pine Tree Legal Assistance, where a substantial amount of work involved administrative and federal court Social Security proceedings. 

From August 1981, Mr. Bell has been a private attorney in Lewiston, first with Downeast Law Offices, P.A., then as Bell and Geores, then as Bell & Burke, P.A. Since July 1996, he became a sole practitioner, The Law Office of Michael A. Bell. His law practice in Maine has always concentrated in the area of representing disabled individuals, before the Social Security Administration, the Workers’ Compensation Board, and the Maine Public Employees Retirement System. 

From January 1980 through the present, Attorney Bell has worked on, or has supervised work on, over 4000 Social Security disability cases, at all administrative and federal court levels. His work has received recognition from the administrative law judges before whom he practices at the Portland Office of Hearings and Appeals. He has often taught at law conferences to help other attorneys learn about Social Security practice, and he has also been recognized by the Volunteer Lawyers Project for his pro bono work. Attorney Bell has recently volunteered his time and expertise assisting with the Asylum program through Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project (ILAP). 

Mr. Bell is married to Patricia Harrington and is a proud father and grandfather.

SUSAN VATCHER, PARALEGAL

Susan Vatcher grew up in Iowa, graduating with an Associates Degree from Western Iowa Tech Community College in 1976. She has lived in Maine since 1977, and has worked in various areas of the law, beginning in 1976. 

She has worked with Attorney Bell as his paralegal since 1987, first at Bell and Geores, then at Bell & Burke, and since 1996 in his solo practice. She has been performing initial interviews on Social Security claims since 1993, along with medical records research, case analysis, and briefing. She was a participant in a seminar on Social Security Disability, sponsored by the Maine State Bar Association, in 1992. 

Susan lives in Lewiston with her husband, Steve, their dog, Daisy, and two cats, Rosie and Phoebe.

SHERRY ZUFELT, BOOKEEPER

Sherry Zufelt grew up in Connecticut, graduating with an Associates Degree from Briarwood College 1988 and a Paralegal Certificate from Hartford College for Women in 1990. 

She has worked in various areas of law in Connecticut, New York and New Hampshire. She moved to Maine in 2001 and was employed as an Ed Tech at the Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School until 2011, when she joined the law firm of Michael A. Bell. 

Sherry lives in Oxford with her husband and two children.

Mr. Bell is married to Patricia Harrington and is a proud father and grandfather.