Meet Our Attorneys & Representatives
Since 1994, Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law, LC, has offered professional, caring service to all of its clients. Now serving the Parkersburg, Charleston, Logan and Beckley areas. Jan Dils and her firm are experienced in all forms of Social Security and Disability benefits, Veteran’s Benefits and Personal Injury cases.
Jan Dils graduated from Marietta College with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in both Marketing and Economics. She then went on to receive her Masters in Business Administration in 1991, and her law degree from West Virginia University in 1994. That same year, she was admitted to the West Virginia Bar, and began practicing in Parkersburg. The focal point of her practice has been helping clients with Social Security, Veteran’s Benefits and Personal Injury Law. Jan is a sustaining member of the National Association of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives (NOSSCR).
Dedication to providing a voice for those who are not always heard is the driving force behind Angie Thompson and her work as an Attorney for Jan Dils. After personally meeting with her clients, Angie works on preparing each claim, then represents her clients at hearings. Prior to joining the Jan Dils team, Angie finished her law degree and completed an internship with The Women’s Center and Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh.
Angie earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Westminster College in 2004. She went on to earn her Juris Doctorate from Duquesne Law School in 2008. Angie is also accredited within the Department of Veterans’ Administration, which gives her valuable experience, knowledge and insight into many areas of specific concern to veterans.
Helping clients navigate the often complicated process of applying for Social Security benefits is a specialty of attorney Eli Baumwell. A Successful Social Security attorney since 2011, Eli is inspired by his clients. In fact, that is one of the reason he chose to join the team at Jan Dils, Attorney at Law in 2014.
“Jan and her team have a client-centered focus that ensures claims are being processed properly from the beginning to the end, while allowing the representatives to focus on being prepared for clients hearings, if necessary,” he said. He went on to explain why he enjoys working with clients, “Everyone has a story. My clients are continually challenging the stereotypes portrayed in the media. I am inspired by their perseverance while fighting for disability.”
Heather E. Vanhoose
Before returning to her home state of West Virginia, Heather gained a valuable mix of education and experience that make her such an important part of the Jan Dils team. She graduated from Hobart William Smith colleges (Geneva, New York) in 1999 with a double major in political science and environmental studies. She then attended Roger Williams University School of Law and graduated in 2002. Upon graduation from law school, Heather moved to Washington D.C. and was admitted to the District of Columbia Bar. Not long after that, Heather moved home to West Virginia and practiced law for over four years with the not-for-profit firm Mountain State Justice. There, she focused on helping low income families with consumer protection issues. Heather joined the Jan Dils team in the summer of 2007 and is now focusing on Social Security and Veterans benefits. Heather is a member of the National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives (NOSSCR).
Guiding clients through the Social Security system requires knowledge, skill, and persistence. But before the process begins, success depends upon really listening to clients, and understanding their unique circumstances. The ability to relate to her clients and develop a game plan based on each individual is the hallmark of JoBeth Baird’s success.
Prior to teaming with Jan Dils in Personal Injury matters, Jim Leach acquired extensive experience practicing cases involving personal injury and death in West Virginia, Ohio and Virginia. A former Assistant Prosecuting Attorney for the Wood County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office in Parkersburg, Mr. Leach received a Bachelor of Science Degree and his law degree from West Virginia University. Licensed in West Virginia, Ohio, and Virginia.
Katherine J. Hartung
A Bridgeport native, Katherine became a classically trained opera singer at Shepherd University, where she was a Joseph McMurran Scholar and graduated in the top 1 percent in her class. Instead of pursuing the stage, however, she pursued law school, sending her on a path that led her to representing Social Security disability claimants at the Jan Dils Law Firm. After earning her degree from the West Virginia University School of Law, Katherine clerked at the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals’ workers’ compensation division. She then practiced toxic torts litigation at a private law firm, representing factory workers who had developed diseases from their exposure to harmful chemicals. Her legal background has helped Katherine develop outstanding legal research and writing skills. But what she enjoys the most is meeting one-on-one with clients at intake assessments and while preparing them for hearings. She’s found that she can have a reassuring tone. Katherine is a member of the West Virginia Bar Association and Generation Charleston.
Shannan Hinzman: CERTIFIED SOCIAL SECURITY CLAIMANTS REPRESENTATIVE
As a certified Social Security Advocate, for Jan Dils’ law practice, Shannan Hinzman shares her experience, knowledge and a caring attitude with each and every client. Having previously been contracted by the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review of the Social Security Administration, she has thirteen years’ experience in the area of Social Security law. She graduated from WVU in 1995 with an Associates degree in business administration and psychology. On a daily basis, Shannan processes and reviews medical records looking for information that demonstrates our clients are medically disabled while arranging that information in a format that allows our attorneys and advocates to convince the Judges that our clients are disabled. She is a member of the National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives (NOSSCR). Shannan is a dedicated worker and a great asset to our firm.
Yvonne M. Costelloe
Yvonne graduated from the University of Dayton School of Law in Ohio with a Personal and Transactional Law degree. Before she went to Dayton School of Law, Yvonne attended Mercyhurst College in Erie, Pennsylvania studying criminal justice and pre-law. She graduated in 2011. While in law school, Yvonne worked as a clerk for a criminal defense firm. She completed an externship at the Erie County Court of Common Pleas and also volunteered as a CASA Guardian ad Litem. Now she focuses on social security law with the Jan Dils team since June of 2011. Prior to law school, Yvonne worked in social services working with individuals who lived independently in the community but needed assistance with medication, appointments, and other daily living. She also has prior experience working in a treatment center for juvenile girls and in behavioral intervention with children needing therapeutic support while attending school. Having a background in social services influenced her decision to go to law school to continue to advocate for individuals during times of need. Yvonne felt that she would be able to make a bigger impact by practicing law than staying in a social services related career. Yvonne is apart of the Phi Alpha Delta, Ohio Bar Association, and Dayton Bar Association. When Yvonne is not working, she enjoys spending time with her daughter, family, and friends. She also loves to travel, read, and experience new things.
When it comes to her success, attorney Tonya Hirsch values her clients’ experience as much as her own. She says that one of the things she enjoys the most about being part of the Jan Dils team is learning about the unique life experiences of each client. Before joining Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law in July 2012, Tonya worked in Operations Management for 12 years before attending law school at the University of Dayton. She cites preparation as one of the keys to her success, and it shows in her thorough preparation of each and every case she handles. Tonya spends hours going through medical records to build the strongest argument for every client, ensuring that she is ready to tackle even the most difficult questions or circumstances. When she’s not in the office, Tonya can be found spending time with her daughter Alexandra, as well as family and friends. She also enjoys running, skiing, volleyball, cooking, reading and writing.
Ross P. Miltner
Presenting a strong and well-planned argument for each client’s case at their hearing. This is the goal that attorney Ross Miltner has in mind when he begins working on every case. When asked what he enjoys most about working with his clients, Ross cited the sense of satisfaction he gets from helping make a difference in the lives of others. As a member of the Jan Dils team since December, 2012, Ross also enjoys the teamwork in the office, and the upbeat attitude of each team member. Prior to joining Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law, Ross earned his B.A. degree from Kent State University in 2007, and his M.Ed. from Kent State in 2008. From there, he obtained his J.D. from Ohio Northern University in 2012. Having watched family members and friends struggle with layoffs, illness, and medical issues, Ross understands that there are times when people need extra support and guidance to help navigate the complex processes and paperwork that come with applying for SSD or SSI. When he’s not providing that help and extra support to each of his clients, Ross enjoys spending time with his fiancé, as well as running, traveling, and outdoor activities.
Getting results for her clients is attorney Ambria Adkins’ first priority. And seeing those results come to life in the form of meaningful differences in a client’s life is what made Ambria want to pursue her career with Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law. Since joining the team in June, 2012, Ambria has used the unique skills she developed with her undergraduate degree in counseling to listen—and really hear—what her clients have to say. After earning her B.A. in Counseling from Marshall University in 2006, Ambria went on to earn her J.D. from West Virginia University College of Law in 2012. She cites Jan Dils as an excellent role model for women balancing family with career, and her clients, who give her inspiration each day to fight for the benefits they deserve.
As a former workers’ compensation adjudicator for the Department of Labor in Washington, D.C., Craig Mills saw first-hand how cases can slip through the bureaucratic cracks, simply because the claimant didn’t understand how the system worked. In his new position as an attorney for the Jan Dils team, Craig is able to use his experience to be an advocate for claimants, helping them unravel the complex process of applying for and obtaining the Social Security benefits they deserve. In addition to his experience with the Department of Labor, Craig also served as a Paralegal with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York before joining Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law in January, 2013. Prior to this career experience, he earned his J.D. from West Virginia University College of Law.
From his former position as a disability adjudicator for DDS, attorney Kevin Walker brings valuable knowledge of the disability process to his current role with the Jan Dils team. He understands what his clients are going through as they fight to obtain their benefits, and helps each person he works with by taking the time to fully explain each step. Kevin cites the positive working atmosphere and his co-workers’ genuine desire to help others as the thing he enjoys most about his new team. Before embarking on his career, Kevin earned is B.A. in History from Asbury University in 2004 where he graduated Cum Laude. He then went on to earn a Commonwealth Scholarship and receive his J.D. from Brandeis School of Law at the University of Louisville in 2011. When he’s not busy helping his clients succeed in obtaining their benefits, Kevin enjoys watching spots and spending time with his wife, Janelle, their son Jackson, and daughter Lily-Rose.
Since joining the team of Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law, Alissa Gazze has found a group of co-workers who are always willing to pull together to helps their clients. This is the perfect fit for her compassionate personality, and her ability to brighten the days of those around her. But her sense of humor isn’t the only reason her co-workers and clients want Alissa on their side. Her education, credentials and knowledge make her a valuable addition to the Jan Dils team. Before beginning her legal career as a Bankruptcy attorney in Wilmington, DE, Alissa earned her B.A. in Finance from Penn State, where she graduated with Honors. She continued to the University of Miami School of Law, where she graduated Summa Cum Laude. When she isn’t helping her clients fight for the benefits they deserve, Alissa enjoys practicing yoga, cooking, and spending time with her fiancé and their dog, Riley.
Charlisa M. Powell
Whether she is helping her clients fight for Social Security or Veterans benefits, Charlisa Powell brings experience, knowledge and compassion to every aspect of her job. In her former position of Attorney-Advisor with the Department of Veterans Affairs, Board of Veterans’ Appeals, in Washington, DC, for 10 years, Charlisa gained valuable experience in how the benefits process works from beginning to end. She was particularly excited about joining the Jan Dils team because of Jan’s demonstrated commitment to helping others, which was the primary reason Charlisa decided to become a lawyer. She takes pride in working hard on behalf of her clients, and gaining their trust so they understand that she is in their corner, fighting for the benefits they deserve. Before earning her J.D from the College of William and Mary School of Law in 2001, Charlisa earned a B.A. in English Language and Literature from the University of Virginia in 1996. She enjoys helping others so much that, when she’s not in the office, Charlisa volunteers as guardian ad litem with the Children’s Law Center of Central North Carolina. In her down time, she can most often be found enjoying family life with her husband Chris, their daughter Laila, and their dog Sam.
Harold K. Carpenter
By applying his written advocacy skills, Harold Carpenter, or “H.K.”, is able to bring together an entire case into a written brief that best demonstrates each client’s impairments. Since joining the Jan Dils team in May, 2012, this skill has served both H.K. and his clients very well. In addition to the hours he spends meticulously preparing each case, H.K. enjoys getting to know the clients he works with, as well as adding to the teamwork and “can do” attitude that the Jan Dils team has become known for. After majoring in Psychology, with minors in Sociology, Philosophy and Political Science at WVU, H.K. earned his law degree from WVU as well. This explains why he has become such an avid WVU fan. In fact, he enjoys almost all sports, particularly the Pittsburgh Penguins, and the Cincinnati Reds and Bengals, as well as spending time with his fiancé.
Linda S. Pettit
Having experience on both sides of the table is just one of the many unique qualities that set Linda Pettit apart in helping her clients obtain the Social Security benefits they deserve. Prior to joining the Jan Dils team in May, 2013, Linda had constructed a strong foundation of legal experience in every aspect of disability benefits. “After so many years of handling disability cases, I can read medical records and quickly understand a client’s impairment and likely limitations,” she explains. “There are not many medical conditions that are unknown to me at this point, and I think my expertise and knowledge is reassuring to most clients.” With her wealth of experience, Linda had her pick of career opportunities, but chose to join Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law due to “the obvious dedication of the entire staff to fully developing our clients’ cases and working hard to obtain benefits for every client.” Having dealt with a serious medical issue as a child has also helped Linda better understand her clients and some of the struggles they may deal with on a daily basis. When she’s not fighting for her clients, Linda can be found gardening, hiking, reading, watching a movie, or traveling to visit friends and relatives, including two grown children and four step-children who live throughout the country.
Contact Jan Dils
Our attorneys’ work is supported by our professional and dedicated staff members, many of whom also develop close relationships with our clients as we work our way through the applications and appeals that are necessary in some cases.
Contact Our Office for a Free Initial Consultation
We invite you to learn more about the backgrounds and qualifications of our attorneys and staff by following the links above. To discuss your specific application for disability benefits, contact us to schedule an appointment to meet with us in one of our four offices or by telephone.