Welcome to what is going to be my final president's message of the WILG year. While much has been accomplished in this year, it does sometimes seem to go by in the blink of an eye. Being president of WILG has truly been one of the highlights of my career as a workers' compensation attorney.
Although the WILG year is winding down, there is still much happening with WILG and its leadership. I had the pleasure of speaking at the Maine Workers' Compensation Summit at the end of August. I was on a panel with Paul Sighinolfi of Ametros and Dick Tucker, a defense attorney in Maine who is very active with the Defense Research Institute. We presented a panel discussion about "The Future of Workers' Compensation".
At the same time, Secretary Mack Babcock had his first opportunity to spread the WILG message by presenting at the Montana Governors’ Conference. By all accounts, he did an excellent job. This bodes well for WILG and Mack as he moves up the leadership ladder.
We just got the exciting news that Past President Alan Pierce was awarded the Comp Laude Award as Claimants’ Attorney of the Year. I am sure that all of you join me in congratulating Alan on this most deserved honor.
This year, my theme was "working for justice together". I looked to accomplish that with you in four different ways.
The first was by meeting WILG Warriors from around the country. Throughout my travels this year on behalf of WILG, it was truly exciting to meet so many of you who are doing wonderful things to aid the cause of justice for injured workers either in your state or on the national level. So many of you are giving your time and talents for our cause, and it is truly heartening to see so many likeminded attorneys from around the country pulling together.
The second way was by interacting with our sponsors. As all of you know, our Affinity Partners provide not only financial backing for WILG's endeavors, but are leaders in their fields throughout the legal and workers' compensation communities. Virtually every time that I went to a state to make a presentation, at least one of our sponsors was there, and it was a pleasure to get to know them even better. It was also nice to be able to generate social media with our partners as that only benefits WILG and them. They help support the cause of justice through their support of our endeavors.
The third way in which we worked for justice together this year was through the spreading of the WILG message. We generally hear about workers' compensation in terms of cost. The complaints center around the cost to businesses of providing basic workers' compensation benefits to injured workers around the country. We virtually never hear about the cost to injured workers when they are on workers' compensation.
I am sure that we all have had situations in which claims were wrongly denied and people ended out losing their homes and have had to live on the streets. Of even greater concern are accepted claims in which the financial resources and medical care provided to injured workers is not sufficient to allow them to continue to live their lives while they are out of work nor get sufficient medical care to allow them to get back to work.
One of the great privileges of this year has been the opportunity to spread the WILG message. I spoke in five states, spoke at two of our regional conferences, and was also quoted in workcompcentral.com on a number of occasions. It was a privilege to be able to represent all of you in these venues.
The fourth way in which we worked for justice together this year was by helping to run our organization. We are very fortunate to have Executive Director Jennifer Comer, Membership and Marketing Director Caitlin Shields, and, the newest member of our team, Suzanne Giacchino Morgan, Director of Events and Operations. The three of them do a tremendous job running our 1000+ member organization. I hope that all of you take the opportunity to thank the three of them for all of their hard work over the past year.
Finally, I am extremely pleased to see the number of people who are looking to move into leadership in WILG. We have leaders who can continue to take this organization to even higher levels over the next 5 to 10 years and I look forward to working with them. As my term ends and I turn the gavel over to Bill Smith of South Carolina, it is great to know that the organization is in good hands with not only Bill but also Malcolm Crosland and Mack Babcock and the newest member of our leadership team, George Townsend, in the years to come.
It has truly been a privilege to work for justice together with all of you this year.
Gerber & holder
16 Lenox Pointe
atlanta, Georgia 30324
Click here to read President Tom Holder's President's Messages
Click here to read President Amie C. Peters President's Messages
Click here to read Immediate Past President's Messages by Michael K. Gruber