By Hon. Pamela B. Johnson
Workers’ Compensation Judge (Tennessee)



REGISTER NOW and SAVE! In less than two months, the NAWCJ will host its virtual “boot camp” for new adjudicators. Becoming an adjudicator of workers’ compensation claims can be daunting. The New Judges’ Boot Camp is designed to make that transition smooth. At the virtual Boot Camp, newer adjudicators will hear from adjudicators, regulators, attorneys, and academics covering a wide range of topics that will impact their day-to-day work. The curriculum includes sessions discussing the origins of workers’ compensation laws, the transition from an advocate to an adjudicator, judicial writing, conducting hearings and handling discovery disputes, weighing evidence and ruling on objections, and dealing with unrepresented litigants.

Information regarding the agenda, program cost, and registration can be obtained from the NAWCJ website ( REGISTER NOW before February 1, pay the early-bird price of $150, and save $50. After February 1, the registration fee is $200. YOU MUST BE AN ADJUDICATOR TO ATTEND.


Day 1: Monday, March 1, 2021

Session 1 10:30am – 10:45am

Welcome & Introduction to Conference
Hon. Deneise Lott (Mississippi)

10:45am – 12:00pm

Orientation, Origins & Key Principles of Workers’ Compensation
Hon. Timothy W. Conner (Tennessee)
Hon. Jennifer Hopens (Texas)
Hon. David Torrey (Pennsylvania)

Break 12:00pm – 2:00pm Lunch Break

Session 2 2:00pm – 3:00pm

From Advocate to Adjudicator
Hon. Michael W. Alvey (Kentucky)
Hon. Pamela B. Johnson (Tennessee)

3:00pm – 4:00pm

Ethics for Judges: Can You Have Friends Anymore?
Marshall L. Davidson, III (Tennessee Chief Disciplinary Counsel)

Day 2: Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Session 3 10:30am – 12:00pm

Evidentiary Issues: Dealing with Common Evidentiary Issues & Evaluation of Evidence
Hon. Frank McKay (Georgia)
Hon. Bruce Moore (Kansas)
Hon. Dale Tipps (Tennessee)
Professor Susan Kay JD, PhD (Vanderbilt Law Professor)

Break 12:00pm – 2:00pm Lunch Break

Session 4 2:00pm – 3:30pm

Procedural Issues: Conducting Hearings, Prehearing Conferences, Discovery Disputes & Conducting Virtual Hearings
Hon. Doug Gott (Kentucky)
Hon. Deneise Turner Lott (Mississippi)
Hon. Knowrasa Patrick (Washington)

3:30pm – 4:00pm

Settlements: To Approve or Not Approve?
Hon. Douglas Gott (Kentucky)
Hon. Pamela B. Johnson (Tennessee)
Hon. Deneise Turner Lott (Mississippi)

Day 3: Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Session 5 10:30am – 12:00pm

Judicial Writing: Basic Writing Principles for Preparing Orders
Matt Hearn, PhD. (Tennessee, Lipscomb University)
Elizabeth Usman, JD (Tennessee, Belmont Law)

Break 12:00pm – 2:00pm Lunch Break

Session 6 2:00pm – 3:00pm

Writing Effective Decisions & Creating an Appellate Record
Hon. Michael Alvey (Kentucky)
Hon. Timothy W. Conner (Tennessee)
Hon. Frank McKay (Georgia)

3:00pm – 4:00pm

Determining Causation Issues & Weighing Conflicting Opinions
Hon. William Culbreth (Virginia)
Hon. Knowrasa Patrick (Washington)
Dr. James B. Talmage (Tennessee, Asst. Medical Director)

Day 4: Thursday, March 4, 2021

Session 7 10:30am – 11:30am

Dealing with Unrepresented Litigants and Difficult Litigants
Hon. Robert Himmel (Virginia)
Hon. Bruce Moore (Kansas)

11:30am – 12:00pm

Understanding Cultural Differences and Language Barriers
Hon. William Culbreth (Virginia)
Hon. David Langham (Florida)



Hon. Deneise Lott (Mississippi)


To view the New Judges Boot Camp Brochure, click here.