Congratulations Mr. Samuels on the recognition of your Inn

There are three chapters, or Inns, of the American Inns of Court devoted to workers’ compensation. The Justice James H. Coleman , Jr. Inn is in New Jersey. The Judge Alexander F. Barbieri Workers' Compensation American Inn of Court is in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The third is the E. Robert Williams Inn in Jacksonville, Florida. Perhaps a fourth will soon be founded in Florida, I hear rumblings about that periodically.

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Promoting Professionalism and Excellence

I am a proud member of two Inns of Court. At least I feel like I am. I have been a member of the Pensacola American Inn of court for about ten years. I have been honored to serve in several capacities, including two years as President. It is an affirming and rewarding experience. I was also told years ago that I am an "honorary" member of the E. Robert Williams Inn in Jacksonville. That was when that Inn was formed back in 2007. I do not pay dues, have attended only one meeting, and am not an active member, if in fact I am still "honorary." If I am still considered a member, I am proud of that. Regardless of whether I am a member, I am proud of them.

With that disclosure of my relationship with the Williams Inn, I write today to praise the Inn and its leadership. The Inn was named for E. Robert Williams. In my early days of practice, I found myself litigating against Mr. Williams. We had some dispute regarding whether his client or mine was the employer of a very colorful injured worker. I have vivid recollections, decades later, of the injured worker's deposition. Mr. Williams took the lead. After all, I had weeks of legal experience at the time. I recall his demeanor and calm. I recall after that deposition, he took a few minutes to mentor me. I had many opportunities after that to see him as a mediator, but I do not recall ever litigating against him again. When the Inn formed in Jacksonville, and I heard they had named it for him, my reaction was fairly typical, "of course you named it after Bob;" if you knew Bob, that just makes sense.

I have been privileged to watch the E. Robert Williams Inn form, develop and excel. It has been successful because of the excellent lawyers from both sides of the table who have participated. Certainly, each officer of the Inn deserves credit for where they are as an Inn today. Excellence does not occur overnight, and it is rarely the product of any one person. Excellence in an organization comes from teamwork, focus, and dedication.

The Inn founders included Judge William Dane, Craig Gibbs, Judge Ivy Cream Harris, Allison Hauser (treasurer), Ralph Humphries (membership chair), Theodore Johns, Michael O’Rourke, Michael D. Rudolph, Benford Samuels, Jr., (counselor), Jacob Schickel, (president), and Richard Stoudemire (program chair). 

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Congratulations E. Robert Williams Inn

I am a proud member of two Inns of Court. At least I feel like I am. I have been a member of the Pensacola American Inn of court for about ten years. I have been honored to serve in several capacities, including two years as President. It is an affirming and rewarding experience. I was also told years ago that I am (was?) an "honorary" member of the E. Robert Williams Inn in Jacksonville. That was when that Inn was formed back in 2007. I do not pay dues, have attended only one meeting, and am not an active member, if in fact I am still "honorary." If I am still considered a member, I am proud of that. Regardless of whether I am a member, I am proud of them.

With that disclosure of my relationship with the Williams Inn, I write today to praise the Inn and its leadership. The Inn was named for E. Robert Williams. In my early days of practice, I found myself litigating against Mr. Williams. We had some dispute regarding whether his client or mine was the employer of a very colorful injured worker. I have vivid recollections, decades later, of the injured worker's deposition. Mr. Williams took the lead. After all, I had weeks of legal experience at the time. I recall his demeanor and calm. I recall after that deposition, he took a few minutes to mentor me. I had many opportunities after that to see him as a mediator, but I do not recall ever litigating against him again. When the Inn formed in Jacksonville, and I heard they had named it for him, my reaction was fairly typical, "of course you named it after Bob;" if you knew Bob, that just makes sense.

I have been privileged to watch the E. Robert Williams Inn form, develop and excel. It has been successful because of the excellent lawyers from both sides of the table who have participated. Certainly, each officer of the Inn deserves credit for where they are as an Inn today. Excellence does not occur overnight, and it is rarely the product of any one person. Excellence in an organization comes from teamwork, focus, and dedication.

The Inn founders included Judge William Dane, Craig Gibbs, Judge Ivy Cream Harris, Allison Hauser (treasurer), Ralph Humphries (membership chair), Theodore Johns, Michael O’Rourke, Michael D. Rudolph, Benford Samuels, Jr., (counselor), Jacob Schickel, (president), and Richard Stoudemire (program chair). 

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Congratulations new Certified Lawyers!

The Florida Bar made its announcement of Board Certifications this last week. One hundred fifty-four attorneys were included in this group, four of them certified in workers’ compensation. Much larger groups were certified in Construction Law, Civil Trial, Criminal Trial and Real Estate. I long ago accepted that practicing workers’ compensation is not for everyone. Perhaps the lower volume of certifications in workers’ compensation is a natural consequence of that.

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Time to be Board Certified?

I am proud to be Board Certified in Workers’ Compensation. This is a distinction that required significant effort and time, both in meeting the requirements for the designation and in documenting the satisfaction of the requirements. The test was challenging and comprehensive, but frankly it was also a great learning experience. I was Board Certified in August 1999, and just marked my 14th year.

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"The Advocate" - Congratulations Ray Malca

There have been highs and lows in all relationships. That is one of the best things about relationships, their value is demonstrated by how we make it through those lows and build to new highs. I can recall a time when the relationship between the Florida workers’ compensation bench and the workers’ compensation Section were strained. I will not rehash that here, primarily because it is history. We cannot change the past, but we can learn from it. The Judicial attendance at the Section’s 2014 Judicial Lunch this week in Orlando is evidence that the relationship between bench and bar is currently quite strong. I hope that we maintain this through continued communication and interaction.

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So many lawyers have worked so hard for the WCEC

The 68th Annual Workers’ Compensation Educational Conference kicks off next week. There are so many Florida Lawyers that will play a role. They each should be mentioned, thanked and recognized. I am sure that I will miss some though.

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Congratulations Richard Sicking on fifty years of practice

In March of this year, I used this blog to recognize Barry Keyfetz upon his induction as a Fellow of the College of Workers’ Compensation Lawyers. That post included a discussion of 1963, the year that Barry was admitted to The Florida Bar, and mentioned that Richard Sicking was admitted the same year. I was proud last month to see them both mentioned in the Bar News, recognized for having achieved fifty years of membership.

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Gratitude for the Trial Advocacy Program and Those who Made it Happen

In June, the Worker's Compensation section of the Florida bar conducted their annual trial advocacy program in Miami. This is a unique and exceptional continuing education program. In this program, practicing attorneys present testimony and evidence in a month trial setting, presided over by sitting workers compensation judges from throughout Florida. It is an exceptional opportunity for interaction with other workers compensation attorneys, judges, and experts in the litigation field.

I have repeatedly sat as judge in mock trial and moot court competitions at a variety of levels. What strikes me about these programs, is that they provide crate opportunities to hones skills. However, the greatest benefit does not come from the attorney presentation or even preparation. I believe the greatest Benefit is in the critique process. You can learn a lot by listening to those around you. Whether the advice comes from judges, seasoned attorneys, or even your clients and associates.

As a young attorney, I was struck by the behavior and practice of a fellow workers compensation practitioner in Jacksonville. He would consistently make an appointment to see the judge of compensation claims about one month after final order has been entered in any case that he took to trial. He was Focused on avoiding any in appropriate communication with the judges. Therefore, he would schedule his appointment to occur after the time had run for filing of any appellate review regarding each final order. The purpose of his appointment? He would simply ask the presiding judge how he had performed during the trial, questions like "did I do anything distracting," "was there anything in my order of proof that could have been better organized," etc. That kind of focus on self-improvement is admirable. Finding the time to focus upon it as this lawyer did is sometimes difficult. Finding a couple of days to attend a program centered on that kind of feedback is not so hard.  

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Welcome TimStanton - New TPA Mediator

This week, we announce change in the TPA District Office. Kathleen Ronnenberg has been a mediator in Tampa for about 12 years. She leaves us next month for new opportunities. We wish her well on her new endeavors and we welcome another new state mediator to District TPA. This calendar year has already seen new mediator appointments in Daytona, Miami, and West Palm Beach.

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After the

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.

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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.

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