My Walk on El Camino de Santiago: One Step at a Time

Uncategorized Mar 12, 2019

If you read our last newsletter, you know that I recently made the walk at El Camino de Santiago, which begins at Saint Jean Pied de Port, France, and travels 500 miles through four of Spain’s 15 regions, ending at the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia. It wasn’t the leisurely walk that I had been lead to believe it would be and I contemplated bailing on the whole thing and going home midway through. It’s a huge undertaking when you look at the entire length of the walk and the amount of time it takes to complete it. It’s overwhelming.

So why did I keep going? How did I keep going?

I began to look at the journey as a series of steps rather than the entire pilgrimage. One step equals quite a lot. If I focused on taking one step and then the next, I would be able to move ahead. If I became caught up in the enormity of the entire walk, I’d get disheartened and want to quit.

We can get so bogged down with all of the things we have to...

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My Walk on El Camino de Santiago: Know What You are Signing Up For

Uncategorized Feb 21, 2019

I first heard of the El Camino walk on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday. Paulo Coelho, best-selling author of The Alchemist, was her guest and he spoke of how it was on this road that he was inspired to begin writing at the age of 38. Previously, he had been a successful businessman, but after walking the El Camino, he came home to his wife and said, “You will probably divorce me now,” and he went on to tell her that he planned to give up his work in the business world and pursue his childhood dream of becoming a writer. It was a big risk, and one that could mean he would go broke, but he knew he had to do it.


For over a thousand years, countless pilgrims have made the iconic journey to the final resting place of St. James the Greater on the Camino de Santiago. The route for El Camino de Santiago begins at Saint Jean Pied de Port, France, and travels 500 miles through four of Spain's 15 regions, ending at the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia....

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Powerful Strategies to Reduce Worry and Manage Stress for Attorneys

Uncategorized Jan 28, 2019

As a trial and appellate attorney for over a decade, I have experienced my share of stress. I have also learned to become an expert worrier.

As attorneys, one of the most important skills that we must develop is predicting all of the potential outcomes in our cases. Most of the time (if not all of the time) we must predict scenarios that entail negative outcomes. We must inform our clients of the potential risks, harms, and pitfalls of taking certain courses of action. In doing this for our clients, we must be highly attuned to thinking of as many worst-case-scenarios as possible.

When we do this, we end up in what I call “negativelandia,” a place where we are unable to turn off our important negative-scenario spotting skill. Remaining in negativelandia for too long will magnify our worries and cause stress. As a profession, we are incredibly sleep-deprived and sleep-deprivation is closely correlated with stress. We abuse alcohol at rates that are 3-5 times higher than...

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Poverty Can Be Closer Than You Think

Uncategorized Jan 08, 2019

Work injuries and illnesses contribute to the pressing issue of income inequality: they force working families out of the middle class and into poverty, and keep the families of lower-wage workers from entering the middle class.1For working families already struggling to meet basic necessities and set aside some savings, a work injury to a primary wage earner can be especially devastating.1 There are also less tangible effects that are important but impossible to monetize.1 Workplace injuries can diminish self-esteem and self-confidence, increase stress between spouses, children and other family members, and strain relations with friends, colleagues and supervisors. These indirect costs can translate into tangible economic costs, including lower wages.1,[i]

In reality, the costs of workplace injury and illness are borne primarily by injured workers, their families, and taxpayer-supported safety-net programs. State legislatures and courts have made it increasingly difficult...

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Functional Capacity Exams (FCE) – What You Should Know

Uncategorized Dec 21, 2018

What is an FCE?

An FCE’s is a series of tests to measure your physical capacities to do work after an injury. It is usually conducted after you have had an opportunity to recover and have been released from treatment and will evaluate your strength, stamina and other abilities required for work. The FCE evaluator should be certified to conduct the exam.

Why is an FCE valuable?

An FCE can provide valuable information about tolerances for work that can help avoid further injury, document entitlement to permanent disability benefits, and reduce litigation.

What can I expect at an FCE examination?

The FCE evaluator will usually have you fill out a questionnaire, and have you participate in a number of physical tasks to measure your tolerances. The testing can range from hours to days to mimic an actual work schedule. Your response to these activities will be observed and recorded the FCE evaluator.

Often, the claims administrator will conduct surveillance before and after an FCE...

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Giving Back, Ways to Improve the World Now

Uncategorized Dec 20, 2018

As a Family

  1. Pack gift bags for homeless people. Fill bags with practical and fun items. Some ideas include granola bars, water bottles, toothpaste and warm gloves or socks. Keep the bags in your car, and hand them out to homeless people you encounter on your daily commutes.
  2. Take lunches to people who work over the holidays. Police stations, fire stations, hospitals, and even retail stores are full of busy workers on holidays. Make some delicious sack lunches to take to the workers in your area who don’t get a break over the holidays.
  3. Tackle a bigger cause. Older kids are especially sensitive to the world’s injustices. Talk with your kids about problems – whether local or worldwide – that they’re passionate about. Then, do some research about the issue to find practical ways to help. Assist your kids in sponsoring a bigger fundraising event to help tackle this issue.

As an Individual

  1. Offer to help family. Many adult children presume their parents will...
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Increased Suicide Rates: Compensability and Prevention

occ news Nov 28, 2018

Suicide rates in the United States have risen nearly 30% since 1999, and mental health conditions are one of several factors contributing to suicide, a compensable workers’ compensation condition.

It has been reported that from 1999-2016, suicide rates increased significantly in 44 states, with 25 states experiencing increases of up to 30%.

In 1981, the Supreme Court of New Jersey held that an employee’s death by suicide is considered compensable under the Workers’ Compensation Act of New Jersey where the suicide is shown to be the result of the employee’s becoming dominated by a disturbance of mind caused by the employee’s original work-related injury and its consequences, including severe pain and despair, which are of such severity as to override normal, rational judgment.

Relationship problems and losses have been reported as having a significant impact on suicides. A physical health problem existed in 22.3% of reported suicides. Additionally, a job...

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The Spoon Theory

occ news Nov 27, 2018

Do you know about the spoons? Because you should.

Written by Christine Miserandino, a well-known patient advocate, The Spoon Theory tells the story of a girl with lupus explaining her disease to a friend using 12 metal spoons late at night in a diner. The analogy she illustrates is a perfect example of how physical or mental illness can change your entire way of viewing the world and how you cope with daily life choices.

“I explained that the difference in being sick and being healthy is having to make choices or to consciously think about things when the rest of the world doesn’t have to. The healthy have the luxury of a life without choices, a gift most people take for granted.”

She goes on to explain, “Most people start the day with an unlimited amount of possibilities, and energy to do whatever they desire, especially young people. For the most part, they do not need to worry about the effects of their actions. So for my explanation, I used spoons...

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Mental Health and Injured Workers

occ news Nov 25, 2018

With World Mental Health Day and National Depression Screening Day approaching next month (October 10th and 11th), we wanted to discuss what mental health means when it comes to injured workers. As we all know, many people who have suffered the misfortune of a workplace injury face the prospect of being out for work for an extended period of time. During this time, other challenges emerge (loss of income, lack of physical activity, inability to pay bills, prolonged periods of pain, anxiety, and so on). Not surprisingly, one of the big concerns injured workers face is the increased likelihood that they could become depressed.

Depression is insidious and misunderstood. We want to shine a light on the many ways that depression manifests itself in people so that it can be detected and addressed early. We want people to recognize when someone they know may need help. Depression has a profound impact on general health, individual and family quality of life, activities of daily...

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How to Market Yourself While Unemployed

Uncategorized Oct 01, 2018

You should be able to get a job you are qualified for based on your skills and value, but fair or not, if you have been unemployed for longer than six months, your chances of getting a job decrease significantly. Because of this, you need to learn to market yourself as employable. See the tips below to up your chances of a successful job search.

Prove to your future employers that you keep up with your industry by updating your skills, volunteering, or attending networking events. Even when you aren't employed, you can show that you're still working.

If you are not finding a perfect position and time is ticking away, be flexible to change by considering a new city, a switch of field, or a lower-level position. Once you have a job secured, you can plan your next steps.

If you get a lot of interviews but haven't been hired, you may not be showing off your value in person. Practice your interview skills before you meet with an employer. Create a list of common interview questions and...

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