View from the Incoming Chair
Jack Goodchild, Esq. Encino, California
It is with great excitement and anticipation that I begin my term as chair of the Executive Committee of the Workers’ Compensation Section of the California Lawyers Association. I have been extremely privileged to have participated in the Executive Committee for the past five years. I started as a regular member, have spent the last two years as treasurer, and have served in the last year as treasurer and vice chair. I have been honored to serve under the excellent leadership of past chairs, including Paige Levy, Yvonne Lang, Kenneth Sheppard, Jay Shergill, David Skaggs, and, this past year, Maria Sager. All of these individuals gave their hearts and their valuable time to the work of the committee, thereby enriching all our lives in the workers’ compensation community. I thank them all, as well as the advisors and members of the committee, for their years of selfless service.
We are a service-oriented group of attorneys and judges representing all points of view, from applicant to defense to the judicial bar. We seek by our activities to raise the level of our mutual practice in a responsible and unbiased manner. While we come from both sides of the practice, we put our individual roles aside when we serve on the committee, where we work to achieve the goal of improving the reputation, professional standing and knowledge, and ethics and awareness of our overall community and system and those who may be interested in learning more about it.
I have been an attorney specializing in workers’ compensation law for over 43 years. I have been a specialist in workers’ compensation law, certified by the California Board of Legal Specialization, since June of 1981. While I have acted primarily as an applicants’ attorney, I have also represented uninsured employers, run a small law firm for over 38 years, and acted as judge pro tem and as an arbitrator and mediator. My experience in life has included everything that goes with running a law firm. I have dealt with personnel issues, have been the victim of non-meritorious work comp claims, and have been embezzled and the victim of fraud. I have had my computer system ransom-wared. I have fallen for the stories clients have told that have proven to be untrue. I have advised the California Legislature regarding reform, and I supplied the idea for the six-month requirement for a psyche claim to Assemblyman Burt Margolin at the time of the 1993 reforms. My point is that we are not monolithic individuals and, most important, that perspective is a quality we all need to pursue.