By James M. Gallen
Evans & Dixon
St. Louis, Missouri


2022 is the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Report of the National Commission on State Workmen’s Compensation Laws.  The Commission’s 84 recommendations, 19 of which were deemed essential, form the framework of the modern workers’ compensation system.

Anniversary commemorations included two events associated with the ABA TIPS Midwinter Seminar on March 4-5. The seminar opened with a panel of three practioners discussing the divergent post-Commission experience of two states.  James M. Gallen, Evans & Dixon, St. Louis, Missouri, moderated the panel of David B. Menchetti, Partner, Cullen, Haskins, Nicholson & Menchetti, Chicago who shared his perspectives on Illinois’ near complete adoption of the Commission’s essential recommendations and Eddie Walker of Walker Law Group, Fort Smith, who commented on the Arkansas response to the Commission’s recommendations, few of which its legislature has adopted. Menchetti and Walker provided examples of circumstances in which reforms driven by the Commission’s recommendations made a difference to their clients and cases in which greater adoption of the recommendations would have benefited injured workers. Active audience participation broadened the scope of observations.

The second event occurred at the Annual Induction Dinner of the College of Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at which John Burton, who served as Chairman of the National Commission, gave a pre-recorded keynote speech that contained his memories of the Commission’s work and reflections on developments in workers’ compensation in its wake.

Members of NAWCJ can look forward to further commemorations during the Anniversary Year and are fortunate to have Prof. Burton’s continuing counsel.