Re: Which is better....
My advocate charges the same as the lawyers, but she has a pre-hearing advantage with the judges. She can take 3 fully worked up cases before the judge without the patients being there. She gets in a lot faster than the lawyers. With a lawyer, I wouldn't even have a date given to me before next June, and the date could be a year or more from then. My advocate plans to take my case to pre-hearing in either November or December of this year. If I get denied at the pre-hearing, I can still get a regular hearing and it will probably be within the month.
Not every state has this advantage for advocates, and not all advocates have had it extended to them. It might be worth looking into if you haven't chosen someone yet.