October 2022 President’s Letter

Greetings from the President

By Pamela B. Johnson (Tennessee)

As I begin my year as your new NAWCJ President, I think back over the many wonderful mentors I have in this organization and just how much it helped me as a new judge.

I was one of eight judges appointed to the newly-established Tennessee Court of Workers’ Compensation Claims in 2014. The year before, Tennessee underwent a complete overhaul of its workers’ compensation system. A new court was created, removing cases from the state trial courts. New judges were interviewed and appointed. With a new law and a new court, procedural rules and forms were drafted. It was an amazing undertaking led by Administrator Abbie Hudgens, who had a grand vision for Tennessee workers’ compensation, and a Chief Judge, Kenneth Switzer, who had the leadership and experience to turn eight attorneys into eight judges and a respected court.

You might be thinking, just how did we do it? We did it with the assistance of the NAWCJ. My first week as a new judge began in Nashville, Tennessee in the unofficial, first ever New Judges’ Boot Camp. NAWCJ judges from around the country came to Tennessee to offer insight, advice, and encouragement. Because of how beneficial this “boot camp” was for me, I have proudly served on the NAWCJ New Judges’ Boot Camp Committee. I also befriended these judges, who gave up their time to make sure Tennessee had a successful program. I consider these judges to be mentors, whom I can turn to for guidance and support.

I encourage all of you to become and remain involved with the NAWCJ. Join a committee, attend the Lunch and Learn programs, and/or volunteer with the Moot Court program and Give Kids the World events. Every NAWCJ activity is an opportunity to learn and engage with judges from across the country.

So, take a moment and clear your calendars for these upcoming NAWCJ events and programs:

  • November 30, 2022, 12:30pm ET – Virtual Lunch and Learn: Medical Fee Disputes
  • February 28 – March 2, 2023 – Virtual New Judges’ Boot Camp
  • June 2023 – Virtual Lunch and Learn: Repetitive Use Injuries
  • August 20-23, 2023 – Annual College, Orlando, Florida
  • December 2023 – Virtual Lunch and Learn: Gig Workers

If you wish to get more involved, or if I can be of any assistance, please feel welcome to email me at