Twenty-fifth Anniversary and Convention
A few weeks ago, we made the very difficult decision to make this year’s Annual Convention a virtual convention. This decision was not made without considerable research and consternation. We recognize that one of the huge benefits of WILG membership is the in person contact enjoyed by our members. I know that I have met so many great lawyers from around the country who give me great advice and perspective on cases, practice management, and the practice of law in general. I can’t wait until we can all be together again.
The decision to go virtual boiled down to two main factors. First, it goes without saying that we had to keep our members, partners, and their families safe. Second, we became convinced that we could actually provide a great convention even if we aren’t together in person. Jennifer, Caitlin, and Suzanne have been attending many conventions virtually. They are taking the best of everything they’ve seen and incorporating those ideas into the already fabulous convention planned by the Annual Convention Committee. They have some really neat tricks up their sleeves that you won’t want to miss.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t remind you that this is our 25th anniversary and there will be many recognitions for the founding members who had the vision to form a national organization dedicated to protecting the rights and benefits of injured workers. Those individuals (Steve Birnbaum, JB Boyd, Jay Causey, Steve Embry, Don Green, Dave Hytowitz, Len Jernigan, Ralph Lorberbaum, ScottMeikeljohn, Michael Rucka, Ed Stewart, Mike Wallace, and Esther Weissman) who came together, often passing the hat to keep the idea of WILG afloat, should be forever honored for what they created and for the organization that we have become today. We are now at the point that almost no day goes by without some press organization seeking us out to learn our position on an issue, piece of legislation, or court decision. They know that we stand behind injured workers and always hold their interest in the forefront.
Please register today to attend the convention. Andy Reinhardt will be honored as our Lifetime Achievement Award winner. I’ll pass the gavel to incoming president, Malcolm Crosland, and many other members will be recognized as award winners. Help us celebrate 25 years of WILG, attend some awesome CLE presentations, and pick up some great services from our partners. For those of you (like me) who were really excited about staying at the Fairmont Princess in Scottsdale, I have good news. The convention will be there in 2022 so you will still have that opportunity.
An announcement was made this week that the Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs is merging the Division of Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation with the Division of Federal Employees’ Compensation. The implications of this are as yet unknown. Rest assured that the leadership of the FECA and Longshore sections, as well as WILG officers and staff are watching this closely to get the best information available to our members.
Postal Service and Postal Workers
It seems that for as long as I have served on the Executive Committee and probably longer, there has been some attack or threat of attack on funding and benefits to postal workers. We have all seen the current attacks on the post office and these attacks include these workers. The assault on mail service also threaten so many injured workers who receive their weekly benefits and medications through the mail. Look for a a WILG statement in the coming days regarding support for the postal service.
There is talk of AMA Guide updating. The talk is that there won’t be a 7th Edition, but rather an online edition that will be continuously updated. This organization has been fighting the ever declining impairment ratings provided by the Guides for over a decade. That won’t change. We will continue to monitor, hopefully provide insight, and fight where necessary.
I’m coming down to the last few weeks of my term before I turn the reigns over to the more than capable hands of Malcolm Crosland. I remember the day when then president, Alan Pierce, called me to tell me I had been nominated as secretary. Alan told me that becoming an officer and serving as WILG president was the most rewarding experience of his career. Alan was right. I’ve enjoyed every minute of it and I thank you for allowing me to serve. If you have an interest in becoming more involved in the organization, just let us know!
Mr. William L. Smith II Esq.
Chappell, Smith & Arden
P.O. Box 12330
Columbia SC 29211
Click here to read President Tom Holder's President's Messages
Click here to read President Amie C. Peters President's Messages