Workers' Compensation

View from the Chair

By Jack Goodchild

February is the month of romance and getting over the indulgences of the New Year and holiday season. We celebrate Valentine’s Day and Presidents Day and we get used to putting a new year end date on our correspondence and checks (when we remember).

But what does this time of year mean for our area of practice?  For one thing, it is the time of year when insurance reserves are recalculated, set and funded.  Along with that, we all go through a period of re-examining our practices and stances of the year before.  Some files require new approaches and we may decide to attempt settlement of some cases we previously thought were bullet proof and the opposite is true as well. This process of re-evaluation and even having different eyes to look at the same issues and files is sometimes just what is needed to move a file along towards an appropriate and desirable resolution.

It is beneficial to our Workers’ Compensation system to create a culture where we are not in fact so obstinate and locked into our point of view that we become frozen and unable to appropriately respond to developments and settlement overtures in our practice.  No one can try all of their cases. It is not what the system was set up to do and it is not necessarily what is best for our clients on either side of the fence.

We put that approach into practice as your California Lawyers Association Workers’ Compensation Executive committee.  As volunteers serving our members, we put aside our individual roles in the system as defense attorneys, applicant attorneys and current and retired judges to come together with the common goal of working to improve our system and the reputation of those who practice in this area of law.  We have nine sub-committees which are: Community Outreach, Education, Publications, Legislation, Unpublished Cases Committee, Technology and Social Media, Membership, Practice and Ethics, and Awards and Recognition.  Our committee members join one or more of the sub-committees and commit to work on behalf of their respective sub-committee during the year.

We have several in-person and telephonic meetings each year starting with our annual Strategic Planning meeting and culminating during the annual meeting of the entire California Lawyers Association which takes place in September this year.  In addition to the various activities of our committees, we have ongoing educational programs which are presented in both live presentations and webinar formats by many of the leading jurists and authors in our field.   Most of our programs are available for viewing at subsequent dates as announced online.

We recently had our popular “Done in a Day” CLE marathon program which covers the mandatory State Bar required subjects of ethics, substance abuse and bias.  For those who were unable to attend and want to earn these hard-to-get credits in one setting, the entire program is now available on-line for a reduced bundle rate.

Be sure not to miss our future educational programs for the upcoming year, as follows:

Live-In Person Programs:

April 4, 2020

Spring Conference-Renaissance, Walnut Creek

May 9, 2020

Spring Conference – Marriott, Newport Beach

July 25, 2020

Fraud Program – Los Angeles – Hotel to be announced

August 27, 2020

Networking- Mechanics Institute, San Francisco

October 24, 2020

Rating Extravaganza – Hyatt Newport Beach

November 7, 2020

Legal Help for hero’s Bootcamp for VA Accreditation- San Diego


February 21, 2020

The Art of Avoiding Surprises.  A practitioner’s guide to substantial evidence and the WCAB’s power to develop the record- Speaker Randy Pollak, Managing Attorney, Pacific Compensation Insurance Company

AMA GUIDES: From Head to Toe, Rating all parts of the Body with the AMA Guides (8 part series)

January 31, 2020  

Chapters 1-2 Speaker Honorable Judge Myrle Petty

February 28, 2020

Chapters 3, 4 and 5 Speaker Luis Cordero of PD Ratings

March 20, 2020

Chapters 6, 7 and 8   Speaker Mark Kremer of Speed Rating

April 10, 2020

Chapters 11, 12 and 13 Speaker Barry Knight DEU Manager

May 22, 2020

Chapters 10, 14 and 15 Speaker Ken Kingdon of Ken Kingdon Rating

June 12, 2020

Chapters 9 and 16 Speaker Travis Tucker DEU Rater

July 10, 2020

Chapters 17 and 18 Speaker Sherry Grant Partner, Gordon, Edelstein, et al Law Firm

August 7, 2020

AMA related Case Law and Controversies   Speaker Ken Kingdon, Ken Kingdon Rating

Look for periodic announcements and reminders on our website and the monthly E-news publication which provide updates regarding upcoming activities and developments.

And, as always, we are YOUR committee. Please communicate with us to let us know if you are interested in participating in any of our activities.  We encourage you to apply to become a member of the Executive Committee of the Workers’ Compensation section. We are always looking for speakers and authors as well as volunteers for our community outreach events.  The committee also has an annual Special Recognition Awards event.  We invite you to nominate deserving leaders in our field of law.  Thank you for your attention.

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