About Us

We meet our client’s expectations of high quality legal services with our in-depth knowledge, and professionalism. Our areas of practice include Social Security Disability; Veterans Disability; Bankruptcy, Chapter 7 and Chapter 13; and Wills, Trusts, and Estates. Included in our services is one-on-one attorney consultation and direct attorney legal advice and guidance throughout your case. 

Susan Michele Schaefer

Susan Schaefer is a licensed, multi-jurisdictional attorney who has over 30 years of professional experience. She began her career as a trial lawyer in general legal practice where she handled a broad range of cases, both civil and criminal. She then focused her practice on disability law and enjoyed a decades-long career at the Social Security Administration (SSA). She has extensive field office experience which includes working at Disability Determination Services, as well as at the Office of Hearings Operations as a Hearing Office Director, Supervisory Attorney, and Senior Attorney. 

Ms. Schaefer brings with her a unique perspective due to her extensive legal and policy work experience at the SSA National Headquarters in Baltimore, Maryland where she served as a Deputy Director, Branch Chief, and Technical Expert. She developed medical and vocational policy rules and regulations. She also participated in several critically important SSA initiatives, including the Listing of Impairments Update and the Vocational Rules Modernization. She often conducted training and made presentations to stakeholders in and outside the agency. SSA recognized her service with many awards for excellence in service during her SSA career, including SSA Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner citations.  

As a partner of the Cardea Law Group, Ms. Schaefer currently concentrates her practice areas on Social Security disability, VA disability, Bankruptcy, as well as Wills and Estates.  She is an empathic, client-centered advocate who provides quality legal services that meet or exceed client goals.

She is a resident of Prattville, Alabama and proudly supports the growth and improvement of the area. She gives back to the community by engaging in pro bono representation of veterans through The Veterans Consortium. She also regularly contributes free legal advice in a project sponsored by the Alabama Bar Foundation and the American Bar Association. 

Professional Licenses and Certifications

  • Alabama Bar
  • U.S. District Court for the Central District of Alabama
  • Indiana Bar 
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana
  • U.S. Veterans Administration Accreditation

Professional Associations

  • Alabama State Bar, Member
  • American Bar Association, Member
  • National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives (NOSSCR), Member


  • Mid Alabama Coalition for the Homeless (MACH), Member


  • “Evaluation of Symptoms in Disability Claims, Social Security Ruling 16-3p”, Chronic Fatgue Advisory Committee (2016 Washington, DC)
  • “Drug Addiction and Alcoholism (DAA) with Co-Occurring Mental Disorders”, SSA Continuing Medical Education (October 2015 Baltimore, MD)
  • “Drug Addiction and Alcoholism (DAA) and Disability”, National Association of Disability Representatives (March 2014 Washington, DC)

Michael Lopez

Michael Lopez is a partner at Cardea Law Group. Admitted to the Indiana bar in 1990, he has extensive experience as a general practice lawyer. He is relied upon by clients for his skill in strategic case development. He helps clients compile critical evidence in support of a favorable case resolution.

His primary practice is in administrative law, including Social Security and VA disability. He provides assistance to clients filing an initial application or secures them access to each level of appeal. He also develops and prepares Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy petitions.



Professional Licenses and Accreditation

  • Indiana Bar
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana
  • Certificate, Harvard Law School. Program of Instruction for Lawyers




Contact Us

Reach out by text or phone call at 334-440-6261. We would be happy to talk to you about your case.