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A current TV commercial for one company proclaims, “We know a thing or two because we’ve seen a thing or two.” That could also apply to Pat Barto, a Medical Records Paralegal for Nash Disability Law. She knows a thing or two because she has seen a thing or two since starting working with Tom Nash when he graduated from law school in the 1970s. She was Tom’s first secretary. Later, when Tom partnered with his brother Mike Nash to form a new law firm, who was there? That’s right – it was Pat. When Tom formed Nash Disability Law, Pat juggled responsibilities between the two firms and was Tom’s part-time bookkeeper. Even when she “retired,” she still worked part-time for Tom at his downtown office, adding duties as his administrative assistant to her bookkeeping responsibilities. When Pat’s husband became ill, she fully retired and devoted all her time to his care. Sadly, he passed away four years later. In 2014, Pat got an email from Tom. “Do you want some part-time work, Pat?” he asked. Pat jumped at the chance to rejoin the NDL family at the Palos Hill office.
Now in her 80s, Pat is highly regarded by her co-workers and clients for the vast knowledge of Social Security disability she brings with her. “I call medical providers and follow-up on prior requests for medical records,” she says. “These are records that are needed for upcoming ALJ hearings. I help many of our current clients, who come to our office with various needs, and I help the attorneys who work out of this office to serve our new clients and current clients.” She finds the work both intellectually stimulating and personally satisfying. “I think it is very rewarding to see somebody who is very ill get some assistance that they and their families need very badly,” she observes. She relates one of her favorite stories about her friend that NDL helped: “Quite accidentally, about 3 years ago, I met a young lady in her early 50’s who had suffered four strokes, the last one very serious. Since that time she has become a good friend and I have become a helper and chauffeur for her. Slowly she is improving but will never be able to drive or do the many things we take for granted each day. It was only recently that I found out that it was NDL that helped her obtain the Social Security benefits she now receives.”
When she isn’t working, Pat loves to spend time with her family. “I have nearly 30 nieces and nephews and great-nieces and great-nephews,” she says proudly. (Editor’s note: Caitlin Plefka, Pat’s great-niece and a Case Manager at Nash Disability Law, is pictured with Pat in the photo accompanying this article.) “I still have a sister and brother who live close by,” Pat says. I recently went on vacation with my sister to Saugatuck, Michigan, renting a cottage, and visiting all the neat stores in Saugatuck.”