Fall is in the air and the holiday season is upon us. I’d venture to guess that other than a significant increase in the consumption of everything pumpkin spice, most of us associate the holiday season with family, friendship, and togetherness.
Hurricane Ian recently carved its way through our great state, leaving a trail of destruction in its path. As we have seen so many times in the past, after a great tragedy, people pull together in the aftermath and come out with a greater sense of community. To those impacted by Hurricane Ian, your Workers’ Compensation Section family is with you. If you are in need, please reach out.
On the topic of community, as of October 1, 2022, there are 92,499 members of The Florida Bar eligible to practice, 1,234 of whom are members of the Workers’ Compensation Section.
The strength of our section is in its size. We are a congenial bunch. For the most part, everyone knows everyone, and we are all family, even if dysfunctional at times. Most of us take great pride in the level of professionalism that is displayed amongst our colleagues and friends.
Gone are the days of live pretrials and in-person motion hearings. The new way of the world is Microsoft Teams meetings and Zoom hearings. I am a huge proponent of phone and video appearances. However, while technology certainly makes us more efficient, it prevents us from the personal contact and camaraderie that makes our section great.
On the topic of technology, while I would argue we are the most congenial and professional section out there, sometimes everyone can use a reboot. As we shift away from in-person contact, now is the time for us as practitioners and colleagues to unite and promote professionalism.
Due to the lack of personal contact, it is incumbent upon the more senior practitioners in our field to mentor newer practitioners. It is time for us to come together and foster community. To this extent, your Executive Council will start working on a mentorship program available to all section members, the mission of which will be to bring participants in the workers’ compensation system together and continue to promote a level of professionalism and camaraderie that is the cornerstone of our practice.
I am honored to be your section chair. Through my 25 years of practice, I have gained valuable friendships and earned lasting relationships. I hope that all of you reading this message have had similar experiences. The holiday season is about family, friends, and togetherness. As we constantly strive to promote professionalism amongst our colleagues, the Workers’ Compensation Section will have an enduring holiday season.
Philip R. Augustine