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Workers' Compensation

Message from the Chair

Happy New Year everyone! I hope you all had a peaceful holiday season.

As promised in my December eNews article, over the next nine months, I will highlight the nine subcommittees of the Workers’ Compensation Section Executive Committee of the California Lawyers Association (CLA), starting with Education. I am doing this to give our around 3,200+ members a better understanding of what each one does. I also hope doing so gives those interested in joining the Worker’ Compensation Section Executive Committee a better idea of the inner workers of our group.

As we all know, most attorneys who are actively practicing law in California must take 25 hours of Minimum Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) every three years and file a report with the State Bar with deadlines controlled by which compliance group we fall into of either Group 1 (A-G), Group 2 (H-M), or Group 3 (N-Z).

As you all also probably know, The State Bar of California certifies attorneys as specialists, including in the area of workers’ compensation, who have gone beyond the standard licensing requirements.

Once certified, specialists must maintain their certification by reporting 36 hours of Legal Specialist Continuing Legal Education (LSCLE) every three years along with their MCLE compliance group, as well as meeting other requirements.

Attorneys are assigned to a compliance group only once and always remain in that same group, even if the attorney subsequently changes his/her last name through marriage for example. Based on this rule, I get to use my maiden name of Grasso for my MCLE and LSCLE reporting requirements falling into compliance group 1 (A-G). This is the only place in my life I get to pay respect to my father by using Grasso. This is meaningful to me because I am a lawyer today due to my father’s guidance. Thank you dad for spending hundreds of hours encouraging me to become a lawyer. I have a good life today because of you.

Due to the above reporting requirements, I am constantly on the lookout for high quality workers’ compensation specialist approved MCLE providers. One such provider has constantly been the Workers’ Compensation Section Executive Committee Education Subcommittee of the CLA. I attend their programs because I know I am guaranteed top-notch panels who take educating us seriously. Thank you to all the panelists who have spoken in connection with the Education Subcommittee. I know an enormous amount of work goes into being well prepared, and for that, I commend you.

Let me now tell you a bit about the Education Subcommittee.

The Education Subcommittee is Chaired by Hon. Sharon Velzy-Lenington from the Van Nuys WCAB and Co-Chaired by Hon. Colleen Casey from the San Francisco WCAB.

The fundamental goal of the Education Subcommittee is to provide exceptional educational programs and materials to the members of the State Bar of California and the public at low or no cost. The Education Subcommittee strives to produce educational programs that bring awareness to relevant issues and changes in the law to enhance competent and effective delivery of legal services.

In furtherance of this objective, the Education Subcommittee is excited to offer as their first educational program in 2019 a live webinar titled “Something Old, Something New; What has and Hasn’t’s Changed in the Rules of Profession Conduct.” This webinar will be presented on Friday, January 11 at noon by State Bar Court Judge Kearse McGill.

In addition to the above, the Education Subcommittee is working diligently finalizing details related to the following upcoming educational programs in 2019:

  • April, 2019 Southern California Spring Conference (date/location TBD);
  • May, 2019 Northern California Spring Conference (date/location TBD);
  • July, 2019 Workers’ Compensation Legal Specialization Boot Camp (date/location TBD);
  • Fall, 2019 Rating Conference in Southern California (date/location TBD); and
  • October, 11, 2019: California Lawyers Association (CLA) Second Annual Meeting in Monterey.

Please watch for announcements regarding these upcoming programs.

Years ago, months before I took the Workers’ Compensation Legal Specialization Examination, because of my conviction to doing everything needed to pass this exam, I decided to attend both the Northern and Southern California Boot Camps the Workers’ Compensation Section offered. I believe I passed the specialization exam due to the high quality education I received at both locations as well as the hours I studied. In hindsight, I probably didn’t need to attend both boot camps, but since doing this allowed me to sleep better at night, it was worth every single penny. I may sign up for one of the boot camp programs this year as I believe they provide a great A-Z overview of workers’ compensation issues.

Thank you Hon. Velzy-Lenington and Hon. Casey for your dedication to providing us with high quality educational programs. I know they will each be exceptional this year. Congratulations in advance for another successful year educating our workers’ compensation community.

Should you have any questions about joining the Workers’ Compensation Section Executive Committee, please do not hesitate to email me at msager@boxerlaw.com. It would be my honor to talk with you.

Until February where our Practice and Ethics Subcommittee will be highlighted.

Maria Antonieta Sager, ESQ.
Oakland, California

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