Message from the Chair

It is fall, which means the familiar sights, sounds, and smells of the season are here. I’m still waiting for the cooler weather, but the kids are back in school, people are drinking pumpkin lattes, and football stadiums are filled. One thing that is missing this fall is the WCI conference in Orlando. This fall tradition allows us to get together and interact as a community. It is also a good opportunity for other organizations and committees to hold meetings since so many of us are already congregated in one place. This year, we will have to wait until December.

The WCS Executive Council met via Zoom on August 31. Lorna Brown-Burton and F. Scott Westheimer, who are running for Florida Bar president-elect, each gave a presentation providing insight into the goals and ideas that would guide them during their time of service. It is hard to put into words what it is like to be part of a meeting (even on Zoom) during which so many people give of their time and talent for the benefit of us all. I am not only speaking of the two candidates, but also the dedicated members of your Executive Council and WCS committees.

Each committee’s chair(s) gave a report on the activities of the committee and the goals for the upcoming year and beyond. If you have never been to a meeting (or it has been a while), I invite you to come to the live meeting on April 6, 2022, at the Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate. Our committees are very active and as part of the goal of including you in the section, I invite you to contact any committee member and ask to attend a committee meeting (most are by phone or Zoom) and learn what the committees are doing to improve our system. In this edition of the News & 440 Report, you will learn about some of the committees and, I hope, feel the urge to get involved.

The section’s long-range planning retreat is in Austin, Texas, this year, and I am pleased to report we have several general members who have registered to participate. There are significant matters on the agenda for the executive council meeting and for general discussion. As I expressed in my first message to you as chair of the section, I encourage and invite you to include yourself in these discussions.

Amendments to the “60Q Rules” have been a prominent topic of discussion during recent workshops, and I expect the conversation to continue during the retreat. The question I hear most is “when will the ‘new rules’ be announced?” The answer, of course, is “I don’t know.” If you look at the history of the implementation dates (also known as the fine print in italics at the end of each rule), the rules were amended 11/1/2006, 10/31/2010, 10/31/2012, and 11/10/2014. If that trend continues, then perhaps late October or early November may be the answer.

Another significant development that not only affects the practice of workers’ compensation, but the entire practice of law in Florida, is the final report of the Special Committee to Improve the Delivery of Legal Services. This special committee was asked to study a variety of topics including (1) lawyer advertising; (2) referral fees; (3) fee splitting and nonlawyer ownership of law firms; (4) entity regulation; (5) regulation of online service providers; (6) regulation of nonlawyer providers of limited legal services; and (7) additional topics consistent with the subject of the study. I know that I personally enjoyed reading the report.

I hope this summary lets you know what is being talked about; I welcome you to join the discussions.

Mark Touby

Section Chair

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