Workers' Compensation

Message from the Chair

By Maria Sager

This month we are highlighting the Community Outreach Subcommittee of the Executive Committee of the Workers’ Compensation Section of the California Lawyers Association (CLA) Chaired by Tiffany Boyland.

This subcommittee was created in November of 2014 due to the Board of Trustees of the State Bar of California’s emphasis on protecting the public and encouraging lawyers to give back to their communities. The Community Outreach Subcommittee was created to give back by educating the public on workers’ compensation laws.

This subcommittee has the following four goals: (1) truly educate the public; (2) make sure panels provide a balanced perspective; (3) ensure consistent legal information is conveyed; and (4) reach northern and southern California.

 Our first goal is met by prohibiting panelists from promoting their businesses by for example, handing out business cards at presentations. Panelists are required to refer anyone seeking a lawyer to the State Bar of California’s Lawyer Referral Services. 

The second goal is met as each panel consists of an applicant lawyer, a defense lawyer, and a workers’ compensation judge.

The third goal is met in that each panelist must use an outline and power point created by this subcommittee when presenting so consistent information is conveyed. The outline is intended to educate audiences with little to no workers’ compensation knowledge and contains the following topics: (1) workers’ compensation overview; (2) workers’ compensation benefits; (3) settlements; (4) penalties; (5) civil considerations; (6) QME/AMEs; and (7) fraud.

The fourth goal is met by ensuring we reach groups in northern and southern California. 

Since the inception this subcommittee has collaborated with the following groups: (1) Legal Aid Society Employment Law Center; (2) Marina del Rey Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board (WCAB); (3) Oakland WCAB; (4) Chamber of Commerce; (5) California Hispanic Chambers of Commerce; (6) Legal Aid Association of California (LAAC); (7) Alameda County Bar Association; and (8) the Appellate Judicial Attorneys Institute (AJAI). The AJAI is an annual conference run by the Judicial Council for Court of Appeal and Supreme Court judicial attorneys in California who assist the justices in their decision-making and writing.

Below please find what Tiffany had to say about her subcommittee:

The Community Outreach Subcommittee was created to help with the lack of understanding in our state as to just what workers’ compensation is and how it functions. This subcommittee was created knowing this void needed to be filled. Since the inception, this subcommittee has reached a wide variety of groups, as outlined above, to provide them with an overview of what workers’ compensation is all about. Thus far, we have received an overwhelmingly positive response to our efforts. One of our most exciting and new endeavors is an upcoming field trip to the Oakland WCAB on Monday, August 5 between 8:30 a.m. and 12 p.m., for around 15 Oakland high school students through Centro Legal de la Raza’s Youth Law Academy (YLA). Presiding Judge Gene Lam will lead the students on a guided tour of the Oakland WCAB. After the tour the students will go to the Rotunda Building, one block away, for a special lunch consisting of Caesar salad, roasted chicken with potatoes and seasonal vegetables, assorted breads, dessert, and lemonade. While the students enjoy their lunch, the panel made up of two judges and six lawyers will informally talk about their professional roads to getting to where they are today. We are excited to share our experiences with these students as they get ready to transition from high school to their futures. This is an event I hope to build on for future generations while maintaining our already well-received Workers’ Compensation 101 presentations.

Thank you, Tiffany for the above overview and for the enormous amount of energy and excitement you bring to this subcommittee. Please know we all appreciate your hard work very much. 

Truth be told, this subcommittee will always be near and dear to my heart as I was on the hardworking and dedicated team who created it from scratch. I have loved watching what is has grown into, and with committed leaders such as Tiffany, it is sure to thieve well after I am no longer on the Executive Committee. 

Should you have any questions regarding any of the above, please do not hesitate to reach out to me at msager@boxerlaw.com. Until next month when our ninth and final subcommittee will be highlighted – Unpublished Cases.

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