The game of Go involves planning, strategy, finesse, a sense of when to aggressively pursue, and a lesson of when to withdraw. It is a game originating from China, thousands of years old, yet identical in play and rules today. It is a game of daily living; and, indeed, even the tactile component of feeling the soft smoothness of each stone as you place them on the surface of the playing board, along with the geometric beauty of the patterns which your opponent complements as you lay your handiwork — all with the attribute of two basic colors: black and white.
One can always make too much of an analogy between sports and life; fiction and reality; a mere game, and a process. Games ultimately are what they are: a play which, in the end, has no significance beyond the entertainment of the moment. But some games help to sharpen one’s sense of daily living.
The metaphor and analogy to be applied between the game of Go and practicing law, including preparing, formulating and filing on behalf of Federal and Postal employees to obtain Federal Disability Retirement benefits from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, is the need to understand the process; to present the evidence in a bold and unabashed manner; and to understand the “opponent” and what the opposition represents and will likely do.
Preempting what the U.S. Office of Personnel Management is likely to do in response to one’s handiwork, is an essential part of both the game of Go and of any practice of law. That is why a legal strategy is important and relevant in the preparation of a Federal Disability Retirement application — for, like the game of Go, unless you make the proper connections between the medical evidence, the law, one’s positional duties, and one’s statement of disability, you will be surrounded by your opponent’s tactile placement of experienced handiwork, and find that all of your efforts have come to naught.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire