Message from the Chair

The “cold” temperatures and grey skies of winter have passed, and Spring is upon us! It’s not too hot and not too cold. The sun is shining, and the birds are chirping. Springtime in Florida is arguably the best time of year. But don’t blink because before we know it, summer will have taken hold and our beautiful spring weather will have turned into a mosquito infested swamp of humidity and afternoon thunderstorms. The weather in Florida often imitates the ups and downs that we encounter in life. So, we can dwell on a chilly past and the heat that the future may bring, or we can live in the present and appreciate the gifts that we have been given.

May is Health and Wellness Month for Florida Lawyers. We are part of a profession that is Number 1 in alcoholism and top 10 in suicide rate. Our alcoholism rate is twice the national rate. I have always associated health and wellness with what I eat and working out. Encouragingly, attorneys don’t appear to be in the top 10 when it comes to obesity. However, health and wellness comprise much more than what protein I am eating and how many reps I can do at 225 (which at this point in my life is ZERO).

Your Workers’ Compensation Section has recently created a Health and Wellness committee (HWC) to address the needs of our members. On May 8, the HWC will be providing a 1-hour CLE, free to all attendees, that will focus on lawyers and mental health wellbeing. The Zoom link for this presentation will be provided via a Section e-mail blast. This presentation will be the first of hopefully many more opportunities for our Section to learn about the issues facing attorneys and to engage in conversation focused on improving our overall health and mental wellbeing. For those of you who need help, please ask. If you don’t want to ask one of us, call the Florida Lawyers Helpline at 833-351-9355 for confidential assistance. And if you recognize someone as having a potential mental health or wellness problem, please offer your help.

On to other Section news. Our Town Halls are in full swing, and we are very appreciative to the OJCC for partnering with us to provide our practitioners with the opportunity to get to know our judiciary better. As for in-person events, our incoming Chair, Paolo Longo has spearheaded a series of Judicial Roundtables coming soon to a city near you. These roundtables are yet another opportunity to get to know our Judges, and we again appreciate the OJCC’s cooperation with these events.

Noticing the need to get younger practitioners involved in our Section, Neil Ambekar is taking charge of developing a young lawyers’ committee (YLC) for our young and newer lawyers. The goal of the YLC is to increase involvement of younger practitioners in the section and start paving the way for new leadership, as well as providing mentorship for those in need.

On the topic of new leadership, this will be my last Chair’s message as Paolo Longo will be taking over as Chair of the Section on July 1. It is with deep appreciation that I have been given the opportunity to lead such an amazing Section. The initiatives in place and programs that we are developing will put us in a position to be one of the most effective Sections for its membership. While there are far too many people to thank for their contributions, I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the person who really keeps the Section running, so a big thank you to Willie Mae Sheppard, our Bar Program Administrator. While we all work hard to ensure the viability of our practice and provide programming that enhances and improves our Section, Willie May is the primary cog that keeps the wheel moving.

Thank you for allowing me to serve you as your Chair and I look forward to continuing my service to the Section in the future.

2023 Florida Bar Workers' Compensation Forum

2023 Florida Bar Workers' Compensation Forum

April 20-21, 2023

Omni Orlando Resort @ ChampionsGate

Featuring: Oral Arguments with the First DCA


The Workers’ Compensation Section of the Florida Bar and the WCCP Association would like to invite you to the 2023 Florida Bar’s Workers’ Compensation Forum on April 20 - 21, 2023 at the Omni Orlando Resort ChampionsGate. 


Join the lawyers, adjusters, case managers, vocational experts, supervisors, managers, and executives as they gather at one of Florida’s most advanced educational conferences.


*REMINDER to Board Certified Litigation (CWCL) Adjusters! To maintain the “CWCL” designation, board certified adjusters are required to attend the Forum at least once every 3 years.


2023 WCCP Attendee Registration Form


2023 Attorney Registration Form


Exhibitor Opportunities

A limited number of exhibitors are invited to join the Workers' Compensation Section of the Florida Bar and the Association of Workers’ Compensation Claims Professionals (WCCP) in sponsoring the 2023 Florida Bar Workers' Compensation Forum, April 20-21, 2023.


The Forum features the latest in legal, claims, medical and vocational topics, which center around the Florida Bar’s traditional Certification Review Course.


Exhibitor setup is on Wednesday evening, April 19th, 2023 from 5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. After set up, join us in the Exhibit Hall for a Welcome Cocktail from 6:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.


Registration includes:


· A 6’ tabletop display in the Forum Exhibit Hall throughout the event where Breakfast, Breaks, and Lunches are served (*Note: Exhibitor setup is scheduled for Wednesday, April 19th from 5:00-7:00 p.m.) Floor Displays will not be Permitted and no Early Breakdowns


· Your Company’s Logo featured in the Exhibitor’s slide presentation, WCCP's website and marketing emails, and onsite brochure


· Opportunity to present door prizes at Friday’s luncheon

· Complimentary registration for one (1) company representative *One additional company representative permitted at a rate of $175.00*


Exhibitor Registration Form

2023 FL Bar Exclusive Law Firm Sponsors


Angones, McClure & Garcia, P.A.


Bolton, Helm and Augustine LLP


Boyd & Jenerette, P.A.


Broussard, Cullen & Eldridge, P.A.


Cattie & Gonzalez, PLLC


Cole, Scott & Kissane, P.A.


Conroy Simberg


Eraclides Gelman


Fernandes Hicks Law Group


Francisco|Blanco, P.L.


Hamilton Miller & Birthisel




Kelley Kronenberg, P.A.


Kurkin Forehand

Brandes LLP


Marshall Dennehey




Morgan & Morgan


Quintairos, Prieto, Wood & Boyer, P.A.


Rudolph, Israel, Tucker & Ellis, P.A.


Schefer, Petric & Simpson




Vernis & Bowling


Walton Lantaff Schroeder & Carson LLP


Zimmerman Kiser Sutcliffe P.A.


2023 FL Bar WCCP Exhibitors

Brooks Rehabilitation


Case Management Solutions




CORA Health Services


Florida Orthocare


HealthCare Comp


ION PT Network


Lori Woody, Inc.


Medical Management & ReEmployment


National Spine & Pain Centers


Paul Meli Orthopedic Surgeon


ProCare Transportation and Language Services


Specialty Allocations


Tampa General Hospital


The IMA Group


Verity Investigations


Wright Rehabilitation

Hotel Accommodations

A room block at ChampionsGate has been arranged at a discounted rate of $219.00 (resort fee waived). After registering for the conference you must make your reservation early by calling ChampionsGate’s central reservation number at 1-800-843-6664 or online at



The cut-off date for this special rate is Wednesday, March22, 2023. (There is a 72 hour cancellation policy)  Reservations are dependent on availability within our room block.


The WCCP Association | P.O. Box 2930, Land O' Lakes, FL 34639 |

Message from the Chair

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
Section Chair


The Florida Bar

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