Workers' Compensation

An Interview with The Honorable Presiding Judge Pamela Pulley and the Honorable Judge Josephine Broussard of the Santa Ana District Office by the Honorable Judge Therese DaSilva of the Oakland District Office Discussing the Work of the CLA WC Section’s Diversity Subcommittee


The California Lawyers Association (CLA) is a member-driven organization dedicated to supporting the professional advancement of attorneys who practice in California and includes various practice areas.  The Workers’ Compensation Section has a long tradition of promoting professional advancement through education programs such as webinars, seminars, and conferences.  In 2022, recognizing the importance of promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion in the legal profession, and to ensure that our practice embodies the legal community we represent, the Executive Committee founded the Diversity Subcommittee.  This subcommittee is co-chaired by Presiding Judge Pamela Pulley and Judge Josephine Broussard of the Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) Santa Ana district office. I recently had the opportunity to interview Judge Broussard and Judge Pulley about diversity, equity, and inclusion in workers’ compensation. Please note that the opinions expressed below are those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect the Division of Workers’ Compensation.

The Honorable Judge Josephine Broussard (left) and the Honorable Presiding Judge Pamela Pulley (right) of the Santa Ana District Office take time out from their busy schedules to take in the joys of a bike ride.

California’s workers’ compensation laws cover every employee in every business in every sector of the state.  How do we address diversity, equity, and inclusion in this broad context?

Judge Pulley: Because the workers’ compensation scheme is comprehensive throughout the state, as compared to other practice areas, our practice is arguably already more diverse.  However, there are still groups who are underrepresented.  A goal of this subcommittee is to recognize that practitioners come from different backgrounds, life experiences, perspectives, and opinions and these add to the complexity of the practice.  Diversity in its best form causes us to take a hard look at other perspectives.  It brings to the forefront views that perhaps were not previously considered but have merit.  It forces us to verify that our actions are the best under the circumstances.

Judge Broussard:  Diversity is the presence of differences in any given setting e.g., race, gender, and sexual orientation, amongst many others.  However, it is important to point out that a person is not per se diverse, or perhaps one could think of it as all people are diverse. More specifically, an individual is not diverse, but a pool of individuals could be. Diversity focuses on the outcome rather than individuals.  Equity is commonly referred to as ensuring that all have access to the same opportunities recognizing that we do not all start with the same opportunities. Inclusion is the positive result of diversity and equity and a measurement of if people with various and diverse identities feel welcome and valued.  The Workers’ Compensation Section seeks to actively increase participation and representation from different groups of individuals. This can only strengthen our practice and ultimately, the law.

How will the Diversity Subcommittee focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion?

Judge Broussard:  To begin with we have focused on our education programs.  While CLA has various outreach initiatives, education is by far the most active and visible.  So, the top priority was to ensure that our panel speakers also embody our practitioners.  To that end, we adopted a policy requiring any panel, webinar or seminar that has at least three speakers include no less than one non-male speaker and one person of color (non-Caucasian).  For panels of five or more the metrics change to at least two non-male and two persons of color speakers.  Tying back into the goal of diversity, equity, and inclusion, we need to ensure that our panelists collectively represent a diverse group to ensure our member participants feel an inclusive environment as part of their ongoing education.

Judge Pulley:  They say, “seeing is believing.”  The practice can only get better as we see more diverse leaders speaking with authority on the relevant topics of the day. 

How do you ensure you are meeting the diversity goals?

Judge Broussard:  We have implemented a confidential survey and data collections tracked by the CLA organization. To obtain this data, however, we do rely upon the speakers to voluntarily provide us with data in the surveys.  Each panelist is provided with a survey of questions prior to the speaking engagement. We are still working through some details and refining this tool but so far, we have exceeded our goals recruiting diverse panels.

What other initiatives do you see for diversity going forward?

Judge Broussard:  While our focus initially was on the webinars, seminars, and panels, we hope to expand our goals into other areas reasonable to include written materials, other outreach events. For the year 2023, we see our role as collaborating with all the other subcommittee sections to keep the diversity, equity, and inclusion focus present and in the forefront of all the work performed by the Workers’ Compensation Section.  We also hope to sponsor or help facilitate some internship or mentor program.  In doing so, we will need to focus strategically on our audience to ensure we are fair and equitable in our targeted audience but also inclusive of all.

Judge Pulley:  Overall, goals are open-ended because improvement of this sort must be ongoing.  It is the right thing to do. To this end, we are always receptive to input from the community.   If you have feedback or suggestions, please contact us directly or through the Workers’ Comp Section at

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