After the "Goings" are the "Comings"

I have committed to use this blog to make people aware of the achievements of Florida workers' compensation attorneys. I used my first two opportunities to bid farewell (prematurely in the case of Judge Kuker as he will be with us for months to come). I take to the blogosphere today to welcome our newest Judge of Compensation Claims, Mark Massey. Judge Massey was appointed February 1, 2013 to replace Judge Murphy. We will all miss Judge Murphy, but that was last week's story.

This week's story is Judge Massey. Judge Massey is a native Floridian who graduated from the University of Florida in 1985 with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and from the University of Florida College of Law in 1988 with a juris doctor. He was admitted to the Florida Bar in 1988 and began practicing workers’ compensation law in Ocala with Daniel L. Hightower. P.A., representing both claimants and employer/carriers. He was also involved in civil litigation, criminal law and social security disability law. In 1996 Judge Massey joined the firm of Pattillo, McKeever & Bice, P.A, also in Ocala, where he practiced workers’ compensation defense almost exclusively.

He became Board Certified in workers’ compensation law in 1997 and has been able to maintain that certification since. He later joined the firm of McCarty, Helm, Keeter, Davis & O’Connor in the Gainesville/Ocala area, and then McConnaughhay, Duffy, Coonrod, Pope & Weaver in their Ocala office, and continued to practice exclusively in workers’ compensation defense. 

In 2004 he moved to Tampa and joined the firm of Walton, Lantaff, Schroeder & Carson, where he continued to represent employers, carriers and self-insureds in workers compensation matters, becoming a partner in 2009. In addition to extensive trial work, Judge Massey has been involved in over fifty appeals in workers’ compensation cases, including several important precedent setting decisions. These include Closet Maid v. Sykes and Clairson International v. Rose.

Judge Massey serves as a volunteer mentor and judge with the Hillsborough County Teen Court juvenile diversion program. He was appointed as a Judge of Compensation Claims in 2013.

Judge Massey has an incredible background in workers' compensation. One particular aspect of Judge Massey's background bears amplification though. He is Board Certified in workers' compensation. There are 201 attorneys currently certified in Florida workers' compensation. From Adler to Znosko, they are listed on the Florida Bar website (www.flabar.org, then click "directories" to find the list). A great many people practice workers’ compensation. I examined our database this morning, and we have over 2,500 attorneys registered as E-JCC users. Less than 1% of our registered attorneys are Board Certified.

Board Certification requires a commitment to the practice. An applicant must certify that she or he has been active (at least 30% of practice) in the practice for the preceding 5 years, has tried at least 25 contested cases, and has directed the preparation of a substantial number of cases. The applicant must then pass a Certification examination. Not an easy task. Maintaining the certification thereafter may also be no easy task. Recertification requires trial of 15 contested cases, and completed 75 hours of workers compensation continuing education.

 One avenue that assists attorneys to this goal is the Workers' Compensation Forum, sponsored by your Section. Details and registration information is available at wccp.org. My congratulations to Allison Hunnicut Hauser and Dawn Traverso and their team for organizing this event.

I would never say that this is an easy goal to achieve. It takes significant effort to gain and retain Board Certification. We welcome another Board Certified practitioner to the bench, welcome Judge Massey! I encourage you to consider joining us on the Board Certified list.

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