The numbers are all in for 2013, and they tell a very interesting story.  We received, via OPRA, the fiscal 2012-2013 statistics from the Department of Labor regarding the total success statistics for claimant and employer appeals to the Appeal Tribunal and the Board of Review, which are attached.  The summary is as follows:

Appeal Tribunal Hearings

Claimant appeals favorable – 27%
Employer appeals favorable – 36%

Board of Review Appeals

Claimant appeals favorable – 27%
Employer appeals favorable – 56%

Appellate Division Appeals (compiled from LEXIS and WESTLAW, not OPRA)

Claimant appeals favorable – 15% (7 of 48)
Employer appeals favorable – 50% (1 of 2)

We have also compiled our firm’s statistics for 2013.  For each level there are two statistics.  First, whether or not we won the hearing, and second, whether we were ultimately able to obtain benefits after appeals:

Alan H. Schorr & Associates Results

Fact-Finding Hearings – raw data 27/30 hearings successful – 90% success rate.
Fact-Finding Clients who ultimately received their benefits – 30/30 – 100% success rate. (This includes 3 matters that were successfully appealed).

Appeal Tribunal Hearings – raw data 34/46 hearings successful – 74% success rate.
Appeal Tribunal Clients who ultimately received or retained benefits – 37/44 – 84% success rate. (Two matters still pending)

Board of Review Appeals – raw data 3/11 – 27% success rate
Board of Review Clients who ultimately received benefits – 2/7 – 28% (4 matters currently on appeal)

Appellate Division Appeals – raw data 7/8 – 87.5%  success rate (Includes 4 matters voluntarily remanded by Board of Review)
Appellate Division clients who ultimately received benefits – 4/8 – 50%.


(Our statistics of past performance do not ensure any future performance)

For 2013, every single client who retained us prior to their fact-finding hearing received benefits, and 84% who retained us prior to Appeal Tribunal received benefits.  After that the chances of success drop dramatically.  We believe that the statistics support our strong recommendation that every employee who applies for unemployment should be represented by counsel from the very beginning.

The statistics (admittedly small sample size, but it has been the same for years) also demonstrate that the real problem in the unemployment system is at the Board of Review.  Despite writing excellent and comprehensive briefs, our success rate at the Board of Review was no better than the generic rate.  Yet, at every other level our success rate was many multiples higher than the generic pro se rate.  We believe that the Board of Review is not reading our papers, and simply rubber-stamping the Appeal Tribunal. As further evidence of bias, note that employer appeals at the Board of Review are successful twice as often as employee appeals.

We reversed the Board of Review 7 out of 8 times, including four voluntary remands.  On three of the voluntary remands, the Board of Review used the remand to find new reasons for disqualification.  Be very careful when the Board of Review offers to remand, and insist that the remand be for the purpose of reversal.