Workers' Compensation

Voice from the Chair

by Jack Goodchild

Hello everyone. I am sitting here at home contemplating what has happened since my last article in March. Like all of you, my life and my law firm have been deeply affected by the outbreak of the Coronavirus throughout the entire world.

Like us, as individuals and in our own professional lives, the California Lawyers Association and its Executive committees have been greatly impacted as well.

Educational programs planned and staffed long in advance have had to be scrapped or postponed. Community outreach events have also been cancelled or postponed. Our support staff has been super busy dealing with contracts and obligations which have been upended by the crisis. The financial underpinnings of our organization have also been disrupted.  We are having to reappraise, re-gear and adjust to developments as they occur. In this way, we are much like the world and the legal system at large.

However, also like the system and world, we are learning from this experience and we hope to improve and strengthen our organization and committee as we go through this process.

There is often a silver lining to a crisis and this one is no different. Families are being forced to spend more time with each other and we are all reminded that we are not in fact alone in this world and that we depend on each other to survive and to excel in our lives. Our practice is no different and like the political wisdom that the virus does not discriminate between Republicans and Democrats, we now also know that it does not discriminate amongst applicant and defense attorneys, nor between our respective clients nor the judicial system itself.

Another silver lining is the opportunity to take time to evaluate ourselves, our lives, and the system in which we practice. Regarding our practice, it seems that the attitude towards change was that good ideas were to be considered but reserved for some future time and application. Now we have been delivered a wake- up call and the future is here right now! Issues such as telemedicine, electronic service and remote appearance technology, etc. are all needed now to address the current crisis and the immediate needs created thereby.

When this crisis has largely resolved, whenever that is, we will have accumulated a great deal of experience and insight into the effectiveness and application of these and other new technologies and approaches to having a legal system that fully serves the needs of all of its users. We would be foolish to waste this information. I am hopeful that out of this disruption and chaos will come enlightenment and commitment to appropriate and necessary change.

In the meantime, we go on and we do all that we can in this challenging time.   The April Enews continues our series that provides a glimpse into the work of the various subcommittees of the workers’ compensation executive committee with two brief articles about the Awards and Recognition Subcommittee and the Community Outreach Subcommittee by their respective chairs, Erin Wintersteen and Tiffany Boyland. Until next month, stay safe!

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