Skip to main content
On Demand

ADR in the Workers' Compensation Arena


CLE Hours: 6 including 6 General, 1 Ethics, 1 Professionalism, 1 Trial Practice

Original Program Date:
Mar 24, 2023


Description

  • PRESIDING:
  • Hon. Liesa A. Gholson, Program Chair; Judge, State Board of Workers’ Compensation, Atlanta, GA

  • 8:00
  • IN-PERSON REGISTRATION

  • 8:20
  • GREETING

  • 8:25
  • WELCOME AND PROGRAM OVERVIEW
  • Hon. Liesa A. Gholson

  • 8:30
  • A WORD FROM THE BOARD – TIMELY TOPICS
  • Benjamin J. “Ben” Vinson, Chairman, State Board of Workers’ Compensation, Atlanta, GA

  • 9:00
  • CULTURAL SENSITIVITY IN MEDIATION
  • Hon. Neera A. Bahl, Appellate Judge and Director, State Board of Workers’ Compensation, Atlanta, GA
  • Alan J. Marks, Keystone Mediations, Atlanta, GA

  • 10:00
  • PREPARING FOR MEDIATION – ETHICS IN ACTION Ethics CLE Hour
  • Glenn D. Chitlik, State Board of Workers’ Compensation, Atlanta, GA
  • James F. “Jim” Tucker, Jr., Georgia State Board of Workers Compensation, Atlanta, GA
  • Joseph T. “Joe” Leman, The Leman Law Firm PC, Woodstock, GA

  • 11:00
  • BREAK

  • 11:10
    GETTING TO “GRANTED” – MOTION PRACTICE Trial Practice CLE Hour
    Hon. Barbara Lynn Howell, Judge, State Board of Workers’ Compensation, Atlanta, GA
    Hon. Edwina M. Charles, Judge, State Board of Workers’ Compensation, Atlanta, GA
    Hon. David Kay, Judge, State Board of Workers’ Compensation, Atlanta, GA

  • 12:10
  • BREAK

  • 12:40
  • RESOLVING ISSUES IN MANAGED CARE & REHABILITATION
  • Neil C. Thom, State Board of Workers’ Compensation, Atlanta, GA

  • 1:10
  • PETITIONS FOR MEDICAL TREATMENT (PMT) – WORKERS’ COMPENSATION PMTs FOR QUICK RESOLUTIONS
  • Hon. Viola Sellers Drew, Judge, State Board of Workers’ Compensation, Atlanta, GA
  • Hon. Johnny W. Mason, Jr., Judge, State Board of Workers’ Compensation, Atlanta, GA

  • 1:40
  • BREAK

  • 1:55
  • AFTER AGREEMENT – SETTLEMENT DOCUMENTS: HELP US HELP YOU
  • Michelle M. Thomas, State Board of Workers’ Compensation, Atlanta, GA

  • 2:25
  • PROFESSIONALISM – PRACTICE APPLICATIONS IN ADR Professionalism CLE Hour
  • Kimberly P. Reaves, State Board of Workers’ Compensation, Atlanta, GA
  • Joseph W. “Joe” Blankenship, Attorney at Law, Atlanta, GA

  • 3:25
  • ADJOURN

Handouts

Speaker

Ms. Liesa Ann Gholson Related Seminars and Products

State Board of Workers' Compensation


The Honorable Liesa A. Gholson joined the State Board of Workers’ Compensation in 2000 as a mediator and staff attorney after years of working in law firm and corporate environments.    In 2006, she became Division Director of the Settlements Division and then later, the first Division Director of the Division of Process Improvement and Oversight, which includes the operation of ICMS and training for both Board staff and outside users. 

Judge Gholson has been an Administrative Law Judge since 2008. She has served in both the Trial Division and in the Alternative Dispute Resolution (“ADR”) Division. She spent several years as Deputy Division Director of the ADR Division before being named Division Director in 2019; she stepped back into the Deputy Division Director role in late 2023. Judge Gholson attended Georgia Institute of Technology and Universidad de Salamanca before completing her undergraduate studies at the University of Georgia. She received her Juris Doctorate from the University of Georgia’s School of Law. She is a frequent speaker on mediations and workers’ compensation topics.

Judge Gholson enjoys photography, languages, travel, and patio gardening.

 


Mr. Benjamin James Vinson's Profile

Mr. Benjamin James Vinson Related Seminars and Products

State Board of Workers' Compensation


Ben Vinson was appointed as Chairman and Chief Appellate Judge of the State Board of Workers’ Compensation for the State of Georgia by Governor Brian Kemp in May of 2021. He previously served as Director and Appellate Division Judge for the Board having been appointed by former Governor Nathan Deal in July of 2017. In addition to hearing workers’ compensation cases onappeal, ChairmanVinson shares responsibility with Judges McKay and Bah lfor governing the state agency, which includes regulatory, policy,and operational matters.Prior to joining the Board, he was a partner at Dentons US LLP, focusing his practice on public policy and political law for over ten years. Before that he served as majority caucus counsel in the Georgia House of Representatives and as counsel to the administration floor leaders for former Governor Sonny Perdue. He clerked for Judge W. Brevard Hand of the United States District Court following law school and has been a long-time member of the Atlanta Lawyers Chapter of the Federalist Society. During his time at Dentons, he was appointed by Governor Deal to serve as Chairman of the Governor’s Commission on the City of Brookhaven and the Georgia Immigration Enforcement Review Board. ChairmanVinson grew up in Dallas, Georgia and earned a bachelor’s degree from Furman University then a law degree from the University of Georgia School of Law, where he was a member of the editorial board and an articles editorof the Georgia Law Review. Heand his wife, Ansley, have two children and reside in Greensboro, Georgia


Hon. Johnny W. Mason Jr.'s Profile

Hon. Johnny W. Mason Jr. Related Seminars and Products

Judge

State Board of Workers' Compensation


Judge


Mr. Glenn Douglas Chitlik Related Seminars and Products

State Board of Workers' Compensation


Mr. Chitlik joined the Alternative Dispute Resolution Division in March 2016. He earned his Bachelor of Arts Degree in History at the University of Georgia and his Juris Doctorate Degree at The Cleveland State University School of Law. Mr. Chitlik began his legal practice as a consumer bankruptcy attorney before settling into the role of workers’ compensation attorney, successfully representing claimants in Georgia workers’ compensation for over 20 years. 

His wife, Jo and he share the goal of saving four-legged lives by rescuing dogs on kill lists and giving them a second chance. Mr. Chitlik can specially set your mediation through the ADR Division (chitlikg@sbwc.ga.gov; 404.656.0846).


Ms. Barbara Lynn Howell Related Seminars and Products

State Board of Workers' Compensation


The Honorable Barbara Lynn Howell, Judge, Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation (SBWC), is a graduate of Emory University and Emory University School of Law. A registered mediator and arbitrator, she joined SBWC as an Administrative Law Judge in 2011. Early in her career, Judge Howell worked at SBWC as a staff attorney in the Appellate Division. She left SBWC to attend the regional police academy, where she graduated with honors and became a part-time instructor. Simultaneously, she began her career in government affairs, and, over many years, represented the legislative and appropriation interests of a diverse group of professional associations, corporations, and municipalities.

Judge Howell was appointed by Governor Nathan Deal to serve as Executive Director of Georgia’s Criminal Justice Coordinating Council where she also served on the Advisory Council to the National Criminal Justice Association, the Georgia Child Fatality Review Panel, the Georgia Public Safety Memorial Committee and oversaw Georgia’s Crime Victims’ Compensation Program. She is a graduate of the Atlanta Regional Commission Leadership Institute and served over six years as Governor Deal’s Chairman of Georgia’s Capitol Art Standards Commission. Judge Howell has a keen interest in historic preservation.  While looking for her next project, she is taking classes at the National Preservation Institute.


Ms. Edwina M. Charles's Profile

Ms. Edwina M. Charles Related Seminars and Products

State Board of Workers' Compensation


The Honorable Edwina M. Charles is the Division Director of the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Division of the State Board of Workers’ Compensation (SBWC). She was promoted to this position effective November 1, 2023, after serving as the ADR Division’s Deputy Division Director for approximately four (4) years. In addition to managing the ADR Division, she also serves as an Administrative Law Judge—having been appointed by the Directors of the SBWC in June 2019. Judge Charles rules on motions and requests for attorney fee approval in non-litigated workers’ compensation claims pending across the state. Her role also includes serving as a mediator in litigated and non-litigated claims—assisting parties to resolve myriad issues and facilitating the settlement of workers’ compensation claims. Since 2015, Judge Charles has been a registered neutral through the Georgia Office of Dispute Resolution.

Early in her career, Judge Charles worked as a judicial clerk in the State Court of Cobb County and as an Assistant Attorney General. She began her workers’ compensation career in 2007 as an associate at a midsized, Atlanta law firm, where she practiced workers’ compensation defense for almost six years, before becoming workers’ compensation staff counsel for a major insurance company. In August 2015, she began her tenure at the SBWC and assumed the role of Deputy Division Director of the Settlement Division. Immediately prior to her appointment as an administrative law judge, she devoted three years to serving as an administrative attorney in the Appellate Division, where she assisted the Directors and Appellate Division Judges with deciding workers’ compensation cases on appeal.

Judge Charles is a proud and loyal “Double Dawg.” Judge Charles earned her B.B.A. in Risk Management & Insurance from the University of Georgia’s prestigious Terry College of Business and her J.D. from the UGA School of Law. She is currently pursuing a Public Manager Certificate through the Certified Public Manager® program at the Carl Vinson Institute of Government at UGA.

Judge Charles enjoys watching UGA football, traveling, long walks, and practicing yoga. She and her husband (Erik) serve and worship at Eagle’s Landing First Baptist Church in McDonough, where Judge Charles sings on the choir.


Mr. David McGinnis Kay Related Seminars and Products

State Board of Workers' Compensation


In February of 2022, the Honorable David Kay was sworn in as the newest Administrative Law Judge in the ADR Division at the State Board.  He was the Settlement Division Director at the Board for the past decade; prior to that, he was a mediator in the ADR Division for six years.  He graduated with a B.A. in cinema from the University of Southern California and received his J.D. in 2003 from the Emory University School of Law.  Prior to working at the Board, Judge Kay worked as an associate at a workers’ compensation defense firm and as an Assistant Solicitor for Dekalb and Fulton Counties. 

 


Mr. Neil Chandler Thom's Profile

Mr. Neil Chandler Thom Related Seminars and Products

State Board of Workers' Compensation


Neil Thom is the Managed Care and Rehabilitation Division Director for the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation.  Prior to this, he provided legal support to the three-member Board in its role as an appellate body in litigated workers’ compensation claims.  Before joining the Board staff, he spent 25 years in private legal practice, representing injured workers, employers, and insurers in workers’ compensation claims. 

Neil is a member of the Chairman’s Advisory Council, has authored numerous articles on workers’ compensation, and is a frequent speaker at conferences and continuing education programs.  He obtained his law degree as a Hatton Lovejoy Scholar and his Bachelor of Arts as a Foundation Fellow, both from the University of Georgia. 

Outside of professional activities, Neil’s interests include serving on the board of Trinity United Methodist Church, Atlanta, and managing an online community for francophones learning English. 

Neil can be reached at (404) 651-7831; ThomN@sbwc.ga.gov; State Board of Workers’ Compensation, 270 Peachtree St. NW, Atlanta GA  30303. 


Ms. Kimberly Piper Reaves's Profile

Ms. Kimberly Piper Reaves Related Seminars and Products

State Board of Workers' Compensation


Kimberly P. Reaves, Mediator, ADR Division

            Ms. Reaves joined the Alternative Dispute Resolution Division at the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation as a Mediator on March 1, 2013.  Since joining the Board, she has mediated almost 4,000 cases on behalf of the ADR Division and has regularly presented on the topic of best mediation practices through ICLE Georgia, including for the ethics and professionalism credits.  Ms. Reaves completed her undergraduate degree in political science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1989, and then attended the Meredith College Program for Legal Assistants, following which she worked as a litigation paralegal in North Carolina for four years.  She then enrolled full-time at the North Carolina Central University School of Law, where she graduated magna cum laude in 1996.  Ms. Reaves was admitted to the State Bar of North Carolina in 1996 and was engaged in the private practice of law in North Carolina from 1996 to 2008, during which time she primarily represented insured and self-insured employers in workers’ compensation matters before the North Carolina Industrial Commission.  Ms. Reaves was admitted to the State Bar of Georgia in 2008 and was engaged in the public practice of law from 2008 to 2013 as an Assistant Attorney General in the Workers’ Compensation Section at the Georgia Department of Law, where she represented all State agencies before the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation (Royal v. Pulaski State Prison, 750 S.E.2d 179, 324 Ga. App. 275 (2013)).  Ms. Reaves is married to Mr. Robert E. Stachler, II, a licensed patent attorney.  They enjoy taking their standard poodle, Georgette, to the dog park and on road trips.  Ms. Reaves is able to specially set your mediation through the ADR Division (reavesk@sbwc.ga.gov; 404-657-3830).     


Mr. Joseph Wade Blankenship Jr. Related Seminars and Products


Mr. Blankenship is a graduate of the University of Georgia Grady College of Journalism and the University of Georgia School of Law. Prior to joining the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation ADR Division as a mediator in December 2021, Mr. Blankenship spent over 25 years representing employer/insurers and injured workers in Georgia workers' compensation matters. When he is not mediating he enjoys cooking, traveling, spending time with his family, and games of all sorts. Mr. Blankenship can specially set your mediation through the ADR Division (blankenshipj@sbwc.ga.gov; 404.656.4412).

 


Hon. Kimberly Stone Boehm's Profile

Hon. Kimberly Stone Boehm Related Seminars and Products

State Board of Workers' Compensation


Kimberly Boehm is an administrative law judge with the State Board of Workers’ Compensation’s Atlanta office.  Prior to joining the Board in 2017, she represented injured workers for several years and before that, had a defense practice representing employers, insurers, servicing agents, and group funds in Duluth.  She graduated from the University of Georgia with an undergraduate degree in history and philosophy, and obtained her law degree from the Georgia State University College of Law in 1996. She is a member of the National Association of Workers’ Compensation Judiciary (NAWCJ) and Southern Association of Workers’ Compensation Administrators (SAWCA). 


Mr. James F. Tucker Jr. Related Seminars and Products

Georgia State Board of Workers Compensation


Jim joined the Alternative Dispute Resolution Division at the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation as an Attorney/Mediator in June 2022. He also now assists the Enforcement Division part-time as a “prosecuting” attorney enforcing insurance requirements.  Prior to joining the Board, Jim was engaged in the private practice of law for 17 years in general litigation primarily, though not exclusively, in Georgia Workers' Compensation law. Jim was admitted to the State Bar of Georgia in 2005 after graduating from law school, where he was a member of the law review. Prior to law school, Jim worked 8 years in the poultry industry, first as a production supervisor and then as a purchasing manager. Jim is fluent in Spanish, having lived for two years in Chile and later earning his undergraduate degree in Spanish.  A resident of Dalton, he is an avid chess player and wanna-be farmer and backpacker. Jim can specially set your mediation, via teleconference or in-person in Atlanta or Dalton, through the ADR Division (tuckerj@sbwc.ga.gov; 404.651.5077).    


Mr. Joseph T. Leman Related Seminars and Products

The Leman Law Firm PC


Born in Harlingen, Texas.  Raised in South Florida.  Baptized in a swamp. He lettered in 4 sports at Plantation High School, where he graduated 4 out of class of 572. He received a football scholarship to Davidson College where he graduated Thank dee Laude in 1983. In 1981, Joe was shot in the chest on campus and spent his junior year working and studying at American University and Georgetown. He worked that year for Pete Shields and Sarah Brady a/k/a Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence where he started and edited a publication entitled BodyCount which documented through FBI statistics and newspaper clippings the stories of the victims of gun violence.  Joe, in addition to speaking before the Senate in 1982 at the request of then Senator Joe Biden, also worked with Rep Phil Crane (R-IL) and Biden on the early versions of the Undetectable Firearms Act and the Brady Law. He and his childhood friend, Rus Axsom, co-creator of “That 70’s Show”, performed stand-up comedy from 1977 to 1988 and opened for Bill Hicks, Richard Lewis, and others.

After Joe graduated from Walter F George School of Law in 1986, he began his legal career with The Mitchell Firm in Dalton Ga. He and fellow partner at the Mitchell firm, Warren N. Coppedge, opened their own firm in Dalton, Coppedge and Leman where Joe worked from 1993 thru 2014. From 1986 until 1998, Joe practiced both claimant and defense workers compensation law and in 1998 he began representing exclusively claimants. Joe was the first attorney in the United States to link adulterated L-Tryptophan to the Japanese company Showa Denka KK and was the first case in Georgia to exercise jurisdiction over a foreign entity via World Wide Volkswagon. He was also the first attorney to file suit in the Tri-State Crematory cases which ultimately was certified as a class, and Joe was responsible the expert testimony for plaintiffs and cross-examination of Defense experts. Two trials resulted in judgements of $34 M and $80 M. Joe served on the State Board of Workers’ Compensation Chairman’s Advisory Council from 1993 through October 2022. Joe can specially set your mediation through the ADR Division (lemanj@sbwc.ga.gov; 404.657.1436).


Ms. Michelle Marie Thomas's Profile

Ms. Michelle Marie Thomas Related Seminars and Products

State Board of Workers' Compensation


Michelle Thomas received her undergraduate degree from the College of William and Mary and her law degree from The Columbus School of Law at Catholic University. 

She began her legal career as a claimant’s disability attorney in her hometown of Athens, Georgia.  In 2000, she joined an insurance defense firm in Atlanta as a workers’ compensation associate.  Thereafter, she spent several years working for an insurance company as part of their workers’ compensation defense team, before returning briefly to private practice in 2016. 

In 2018, she joined the State Board of Workers’ Compensation as a mediator, helping parties to resolve issues and achieve settlement across the state.  In 2019, in addition to her role as a mediator, she began serving as a Staff Attorney for the Appellate Division of the Board, assisting the Appellate Judges with their decisions in workers’ compensation cases on appeal. Michelle became the Division Director for the Settlement Division of the Board in 2022.

In her free time, Michelle enjoys baking, reading, and yoga.  She is fluent in German and frequently travels to Germany to visit friends and family. 


Hon. Neera Ahuja Bahl Related Seminars and Products

State Board of Workers' Compensation



Important Information

Please be advised that your credit will not be reported to the State Bar of Georgia CLE Regulation Department until after you have completed the steps necessary to earn credit for that program. 

Self reporting is required for all other jurisdictions.

The information presented is solely for educational purposes. The opinions expressed by the faculty in their materials and presentations are their own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the State Bar of Georgia, its officers, directors and/or employees. The faculty is not engaged in rendering legal or other professional advice and these presentations and publications are not a substitute for the advice of an attorney. All publications and presentations were created to serve the continuing legal education needs of practicing attorneys.

Clicking the Add to Cart button signals acceptance of ICLE’s registration guidelines.

You can find FAQs here.