California workers' comp had gone through major upheaval in 2003 and 2004. The system was going through aftershocks, and the workers' comp “community” was in a major period of adjustment. I saw it as a time ripe for an independent voice on California workers' comp issues. So I jumped in.
Maybe I was a frustrated journalist. After college I'd applied to journalism school and was accepted to the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern as well as the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins.
Instead, I went to theological school in Berkeley on a Rockefeller grant before heading to law school at Chapel Hill.
But the writing always interested me.
Blogging was kinda lonely at first.
But a few years later David DePaolo jumped into the fray with his excellent blog, DePaolo's Comp World, which he produced til his untimely death in 2016. David pretty much set the gold standard when he did his blog, which was basically daily.
There have been challenges along the way, of course.
Problems with the server host caused a loss of some of the old workerscompzone content. Thankfully, some of it was recovered via the Wayback Machine of the Internet Archive. Yes, it's true. What you put on the internet may in fact be forever.
A few insistent souls demanded they be allowed to do guests posts or complained that there was no comments section.
What can I say? I'm a control freak, I suppose.
Occasionally I injected myself into controversies and stepped on toes.
Along the way I got many e-mails from workers who were frustrated with their plight. Many didn't trust their attorneys or the system.
At times I struggled with whether I wanted to wade into collateral hot-button issues that affected workers….healthcare reform, immigration, entitlement reform, the California economy and so forth. Generally, I avoided those to keep the focus of the blog from splintering.
And I attempted to keep an eye on trends that would affect the system and workers generally.
The blog has allowed me to meet a broad range of workers' comp stakeholders I would never have met in my regular work as a workers' comp applicant lawyer. There are many good people out there, though they don't always share the same view of what an ideal system would be.
I've been asked to serve as a member of various focus groups and advisory groups for the DWC and RAND. I've been a resource for a worker safety non-profit, labor unions, public interests journalists and mainstream media. Sometimes this can walk a fine line between my perspective as a practicing lawyer and as a workers' comp journalist, but I like to believe I've largely struck a fair balance.
People sent me tips, rumors, and interesting documents. Sometimes I went with it, but often used restraint.
I've tried to be fair without sacrificing my own point of view about what is best for California workers. Its clear that workers' comp does not exist in a vacuum. A healthy economy is important to workers just as is a fair and just compensation system.
I found myself writing these posts in far flung places. Rome. Barcelona. Shanghai. Budapest.Taipei. Singapore. North Carolina. And from the site of so many workers' comp conferences that I'd never be able to count.
The blog has outlasted the terms of some of the WCAB commissioners and a handful of the DWC bureaucrats.
Two major reforms and countless DWC regulatory efforts have been its bread and butter.
Thanks to those who are steady readers and those of you who just check in once in a while.
I'm looking forward to the rest of 2018 as we see what happens during the last year of the Brown Administration and as we elect a new governor. It should be an interesting time.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Since beginning his legal practice in 1979, Julius Young has represented thousands of individuals who have sustained life-changing injuries or illnesses while on the job. In every case, his goal is to secure the medical treatment his clients need and the maximum benefits they are allowed so they and their families can survive potentially devastating circumstances. He often represents union members such as workers from the building and construction trades, Teamsters, health care workers, grocery retail clerks, machinists and others.
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