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Douglas I. Friedman



Areas of Practice

  • Social Security Disability

  • Veteran's Disability Compensation

  • Life and Health Insurance Law

  • Estate and Business Planning


Bar Admissions

  • Alabama (1976)

  • New York (1981)

  • U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (2009)


  • Vanderbilt University School of Law, J.D. (1975)

  • University of Virginia, B.A., Honors: Honors History with Distinction (1972)

  • The American College, CLU (1978)

I grew up in a Long Island suburb of New York City about 20 miles from Manhattan. My father was a self-described merchant and my mom was a housewife. I went to college at the University of Virginia, and then further south to Nashville to attend Vanderbilt Law School. While there, I was recruited to join Protective Life in Birmingham, and have stayed in Birmingham ever since.

At Protective I was an attorney in the Advanced Sales Department of the life insurance company. I advised agents about the tax and legal aspects of life insurance and annuities in complex cases involving estate and business planning. I earned the designation of Chartered Life Underwriter (“CLU”), which still comes in handy because my firm represents life insurers across the country as National Counsel for Estate and Business Planning.

As a young man I was impatient to move up, however, and my boss at Protective was still relatively young. So I left to join a law firm in the city, and not long after, established my own firm.

As a young lawyer I had the opportunity to help clients in all kinds of matters, from dog bite cases to tree fall cases to fender benders to wills and trusts and formation of businesses such as corporations, partnerships and LLCs. I began accepting referrals from the Bar Association to help people with Social Security disability cases. This broad experience served my clients well as my practice grew.

My firm started accepting referrals from insurers to help their disabled Long Term Disability customers with cases for Social Security Disability and Veterans disability. We expanded our practice nationally to represent disabled workers wherever they lived. We also advised insurers on compliance and litigation.

Today I still practice in these areas that grew from my first job. I am especially proud to help veterans in their claims for disability because I know that it is hard for them to find accurate, reliable information.

My daughter Jessica joined our firm in 2009 and eventually took over day to day operation and ownership. It is truly special to work with her and help her grow the practice in ways that I would never have thought of.

If you have any questions at any time about whether we can help you, or if you just have a question without need for representation, feel free to contact me. I will do my best to answer.

Recent Seminars

  • "Planning for the Unexpected: Sudden Death, Pandemics and the Unknown," Life Insurance Company National Webinar, October 15, 2020

  • "Planning for the Unexpected: Sudden Death, Pandemics and the Unknown," Life Insurance Company Advanced Planning University National Webinar, August 5, 2020

  • "Agent and Client Benefits of CARES Act," Life Insurance Company National Webinar, May 5, 2020

  • "How to Increase Sales Utilizing SECURE Act," Life Insurance Company National Webinar, February 19, 2020

  • "Modified Endowment Contracts: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly!," Life Insurance Company National Webinar, November 13, 2019

  • "Navigating Estate Planning 2019," Life Insurance Company National Webinar, September 9, 2019

  • "Navigating Estate Planning 2019," Life Insurance Company National Advanced Sales Symposium, August 21, 2019

  • "One Man Buy-Sell," Life Insurance Company National Webinar, February 21, 2019

  • "Veterans Disability Symposium," 2013 - 2018, Co-Sponsor with the School of Public Health/Deep South Center for Occupational Health and Safety, University of Alabama at Birmingham

  • "It’s Written All Over Your Face," International Claims Association, Annual Meeting, October 17, 2016

  • "Doing Right By Veterans (in the claims process)," International Claims Association, Annual Meeting, September 28, 2015

  • What Makes LTD Claims from Veterans DIFFERENT?, International Claims Association, Annual Meeting, October 14, 2013

Published Works

  • "Who Gets the Life Insurance? Not the Ex-Spouse, Some States Say," InsuranceNewsNet, April 2019.

  • "Divorce: Being Aware of Tax Changes Can Benefit Your Client - - and You," co-author, LinkedIn, September 6, 2018.

  • "New Reporting and Disclosure Rules for Policy Sales, International Claims Association," August 5, 2018.

  • "Railroad Retirement Disability Benefits," LinkedIn, December 31, 2015.

  • "Beyond the Veterans’ Benefit Known as 'Aid and Attendance,'" The Alabama Lawyer, November, 2015.

  • "Buy Sell Pop Quiz Parts 1 and 2," Insurance Company Marketing Magazine, January 2014 November 2014.

  • "Top Ten Year-End Planning Questions to Ask Your Client," Insurance Company Marketing Magazine, November 2014.

  • "The Whys and Hows of an Executive Bonus Plan," Insurance Company Marketing Magazine, August 2014.

  • "Key Person Insurance," Insurance Company Marketing Magazine, May 2014.

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • Alabama Bar Association

  • Birmingham Bar Association

  • National Organization of Veterans Advocates, Sustaining Member

  • National Organization for Social Security Claimants' Representatives, Member

Pro Bono Activities

  • Former Vice Chair, Social Security Committee, Federal Bar Association

  • National Veterans Law Moot Court Competition, Fall 2014, Coach, Cumberland Law School Team

  • Legal Counsel, Three Hots and a Cot, Homeless Veterans Domiciliary, 2010-2015

  • Birmingham Jewish Community Center, Former Member of the Board of Directors

  • Former Member, University of Alabama at Birmingham, School of Public Health Advisory Board

  • Former Advisory Board Chairman, Cooper Green Hospital

  • Former Volunteer Lawyers Program Chairman, Birmingham Bar Association

  • Former Board of Directors Member, Former Faculty Member, Alabama Federal Tax Clinic

  • Former Member of Board of Directors, Birmingham Jaycee Foundation

  • Former Member of Board of Directors, National Multiple Sclerosis Society

  • Former Member of Board of Directors, Birmingham Jewish Day School

Firm News

Understanding Eligibility for Railroad Disability Annuity

Question: I Can't Work, Why Can't I Get Disability Benefits??

Appealing Social Security Denial: Your SSDI Hearing

Working While Applying for Disability