Drive down the highway and you’ll spot the bright yellow billboards proclaiming E. Christopher Conn “Mr. Social Security/SSI.”
Listen to the radio and you’ll hear the jingles detailing Conn’s Gulf War service as well as his law complex’s modest beginnings in a singlewide trailer.
Open a newspaper and you’ll see ads noting that Conn speaks Spanish.
But what you won’t learn until you talk to Conn is that he taught himself to speak Spanish by listening to cassette tapes. Conn, a dedicated self-teacher, has also developed himself to acquiring knowledge of advertising and marketing.
“I read everything about marketing I can get my hands on,” Conn says as he produces three books on marketing he recently received in the mail. “I’m a firm believer in advertising. You can have the best product in town, but if the public doesn’t know about it, what good is it?”
He continues, “But marketing is not just about putting my name on billboards. It’s helpful in my practice. If you’ve got a good argument and you can’t present it, then what good is it?”
Conn, says he made the decision to become an attorney because “I enjoyed reading and in what profession can you read more?” He adds with a chuckle, “There may have been better reasons for becoming a lawyer, but that’s the best I had at the time.”
A stint with the U.S. Army helped pay for his legal education. He followed that up with a “program of instruction for lawyers” at Harvard Law School.
Although Conn had completed his tour of duty at the time of Operation Desert Storm, he was called back to active duty and served as a company commander during the Gulf War.
Conn recalls his military service fondly.
“The army gave me a lot of opportunities and was very good for me,” he states. “I was divorced during the war, so I don’t think it’s good for married life, but I enjoyed the experience.”
Following his military service, Conn returned to Morehead State, where he taught economics. Then, he opened his practice in a brown trailer that his parents, Harold and Pat, gave him.
“Only two rooms in the trailer were open because we couldn’t afford to change the carpet in the other room,” he explains. I wanted to get the latest technology and offer a world-class service. When I first started, I didn’t know which way I would go. I didn’t know I would get as involved with Social Security and SSI as I have, but I saw that so much more could be done.
“I saw a lot of people practicing Social Security law, but you can either do it or do it well. It’s a very complicated area, and I saw a need that I needed to fill. Some attorneys don’t understand all areas in which people can win. I didn’t plan to become the Social Security lawyer, but it seemed to fit.”
E. Christopher Conn is the one of only fifty seven board certified in Social Security Disability by the National Board of Legal Specialty Certification.