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Message from the Chair

The Florida Bar has approximately 107,000 members. The Workers’ Compensation section has approximately 1,200 members. Given our small numbers, it is not uncommon to cross each other’s paths several times over the course of our careers. Developing close relationships with our colleagues used to be commonplace, and that was an amazing thing. But as time passes, due to technology and more firms growing statewide practices, our day to day contact has been significantly reduced.

Where we used to see each other daily, we now see motions for sanctions. Where we used to recognize phone numbers on our caller ID, we now get inundated with e-mail. Now believe me, I am not suggesting that we go back to live pre-trials, but in the sage words of my predecessor, Glen Weiland, PICK UP THE PHONE. We are the stewards of our practice and if ever there was a time for collegiality, it is now. To an extent, the pandemic has drawn us apart, but now we have a need for togetherness. It is time to pick up the phone and work things out. It is time to administer ethics and professionalism. It is time to look in the mirror and treat others as we would want to be treated.

With that said, I am sincerely grateful for the opportunity to serve as Chair of the Workers’ Compensation Section for the 2020-2021 term.

While the pandemic has presented obstacles for all of us, look for the Executive Council to continue in its efforts to secure a salary increase for the Judges of Compensation Claims (JCC’s). Our JCC’s play an integral role in the workers’ compensation system and it should be of paramount importance to all members of the Section that we continue to work with industry and all other interested parties to secure this salary increase.

Additionally, pandemic permitting, we will be working on outreach programs to reach new practitioners to promote section membership. I’d like to see us partner with the Inns of Court throughout the state to foster professionalism and ethics. Also, we will be putting plans in place to take a more active role in Big Bar activities and events. While we have a very cordial Bar, being more involved in Big Bar events will increase our presence in the State and help us to become the best section we can be.

Finally, it is my intent to have an open-door policy. If any Section member has any comments or ideas on how to improve the Section and the services we offer, or just wants to chat about the state of our practice, please do not hesitate to reach out to me. As Chair, I am here to serve you and look forward to the upcoming year.

Philip Augustine

Florida Bar Workers’ Compensation Section

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