Two Wyoming Workers’ Compensation Projects

I have just finished my grading and by so doing have completed my 11th year of teaching. This is a milestone for me because I have now taught for as many years as I  formerly practiced law.  I add these twenty-two years to the fifteen years I worked before attending law school and conclude that it has been a pretty good four decades or so of work.  And you know what that means? It’s time for more work!

It is In this spirit that I would like to announce two Wyoming-centered projects upon which I plan to begin working this fall. First, a series of Wyoming Workers’ Compensation Symposia that will double as continuing legal education opportunities for local practitioners. I plan to organize four of them this year around doctrinal themes. For example, one on “Notice,” one on “Permanent Partial” benefits, and so forth. I hope this series will help to identify the strengths, needs, opportunities, and challenges in Wyoming Workers’ Compensation doctrine. As far as I can determine as a relative newcomer to this scene, the small workers’ compensation Bar in Wyoming has been pretty reliant on the very able Wyoming Trial Lawyers’ Association to take the lead on workers’ compensation-themed activities. Perhaps I can help lighten the load — at least a little — for the WTLA in this regard.

Of course, I must also acknowledge my selfish motivations for organizing these Symposia, and that brings me to project number two. To my knowledge, there has never been a Wyoming Workers’ Compensation Law treatise of the kind routinely published by companies like West Publishing. The workers’ compensation Bar in Wyoming is small and the number of workers’ compensation practitioners here comparatively few. In these circumstances, I think a law professor at a land grant institution like the University of Wyoming can play an important role in helping to overcome this kind of “collective action problem.” Simply put, I intend to write a Wyoming treatise, beginning this fall — and I will use the Symposia as a doctrinal “set-up” for the treatise. To the extent the Symposia reveal doctrinal areas deserving special, extended scholarly treatment the Treatise can serve such a role. I have had difficulty finding interested publishers — West is decidedly not interested — so if any of you have ideas along those lines I would love to hear about them (you can email me directly at mduff1@uwyo.edu). In any event, I will write first and ask questions later!

It should be a stimulating fall. I hope you will tune in to these efforts as we move forward. I hope to have a website dedicated to the Symposia up and running by the end of the summer.

Mike

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