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Welcome to the Workers' Compensation Section Home Page.

Your Executive Council has created this site in an effort to encourage and facilitate communication and exchange of ideas among the members of our Section. Enjoy! The purpose of the Workers' Compensation Section is to provide an organization within The Florida Bar open to all members in good standing who have a common interest in workers' compensation law. The Section provides a forum for discussion and exchange of ideas leading to the improvement of individual trial abilities in workers' compensation cases.

Send mail with questions or comments about this web site to:

Richard J Manno, Esq.
Workers Compensation Section Technology Chair
4767 New Broad Street,
Orlando, FL., 32814
(407) 484-0666
rmanno@orlandoworkerscomplaw.com

Please use the social media links below to stay well informed about the section's events and information regarding the practice of workers’ compensation within the state.


(Please identify yourself as a section member)

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    Message From The Chair

    Paolo Longo, Jr.

    Paolo Longo, Jr.

    Chair of the Workers' Compensation Section of The Florida Bar

    I am humbled and truly honored to chair the Workers’ Compensation Section this year. I have had the privilege of serving on the Executive Council since 2008 and have learned a great deal under the guidance of my predecessors. First, I would like to thank the past chair, Philip Augustine, who kept our Section running smoothly, and whose efforts resulted in an incredibly successful year. I am excited to continue his great work and for yet another successful year.

    As chair of the Workers’ Compensation Section, I recently attended a meeting called the Council of Sections, which is a meeting that takes place every year at the annual Florida Bar Convention and is attended by all section chairs. Each section chair presents a report on their particular section, and I can state without a doubt that the Workers’ Compensation Section is one of the most active sections of The Florida Bar, with more than 1,200 members. We have regular CLE Lunch & Learn webinars, our News & 440 Report is second to none, and we regularly have DCA judges attend our forums to hear oral arguments. Further, we have four Executive Council meetings every year that are open to the entire Section, a winter retreat ski seminar, and the convention in August that brings a nationwide audience.

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    Read the entire Chair's Message

    Message from the Chair

    It is an honor to be writing this message and beginning a year of service to all of you. Looking back, I was invited to begin my journey to becoming chair of the Workers’ Compensation Section at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Never would I have imagined that the topic of COVID would need to be addressed in my first chair’s messageletter, years later. Quite frankly, I am tired of talking about it, as I know you are too! But, we have been left in a very different world. The price of everything has significantly increased. There is a shortage of labor. We now live in Zoom land, personally and professionally.

    Which brings me to my point. It is so easy to blame COVID. Everyone does it. COVID has become an excuse for being lazy. I am guilty. And, I am not just talking about wearing your pj PJ bottoms with a suit jacket for a Zoom hearing. Again … guilty. I am talking about how COVID has affected the respect that we show for each other, each other’s clients, the bench, and the legal system as a whole. Unfortunately, I have heard from several JCC’s and some circuit judges that there is a lack of professionalism in the Bar as a whole. This is not isolated to one area of the state, one side of the Bar, or one practice area, but rather has been spoken about all of us. Some of the stories are amusing, but some are not. I guess the point is, COVID has had an impact on our practice, and we need to be cognizant of that and overcome the perception that has arisen. We all started in this profession because of a respect for the law. Has COVID taken that from us?

    With all of that said, we are fortunate that our section and practice area have fared so well. We have continued litigation with little to no delay, thanks to the vision of Deputy Chief Judge Langham and his team at the Office of Judges of Compensation Claims. Thanks to the persistence of Jim McConnaughhay, Steve Rissman, and company, the WCI Educational Conference returned in December 2021, and we are getting ready to get back on track in August 2022. I really love their “Brighter Days” theme. The Forum was held in April 2022, and drew in record numbers, thanks to Leo Garcia, Mark Touby, and the Forum committee. The Trial Advocacy Workshop returned in May 2022. We are welcoming a new DOAH chief judge, Judge Brian Newman, and are looking forward to his fresh perspective and leadership

    On a personal note, I lost a friend and mentor this past year in Judge Robert Dietz. Judge Dietz was a great story tellerstoryteller, and loved a good joke, even if he was the brunt of the punchline. He worked tirelessly for any cause he believed in. It is very fitting that the last part of his career was as a judge, as he truly believed in and respected the law. He was notorious at our firm for asking the “interview question.” Taking a page from Judge Dietz, I challenge us all to ask ourselves the ultimate interview question, “Why do I love the law?” I have no doubt if we listen to our answer, we will continue to overcome our challenges .

    Joanne Prescott

    Section Chair

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