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At a time when workers’ compensation claim work was expected to decelerate, Oakland, Calif.,-based Boxer & Gerson doubled its number of partners to 10 in an effort to ramp up collateral attacks. “I think what it shows is that we’re redoubling our efforts to represent the injured worker and we’re committed to being here for the long run,” said Gary Lee, one of the newly named partners who joined the firm two years ago. Some legal experts thought workers’ compensation work would take a dive after the state slashed benefits for injured workers last year. But Boxer & Gerson managers say that hasn’t been their experience. Senior partner Michael Gerson said there should actually be more business because even lawyers are going to need other lawyers to figure out what impact the new statutes will have. “The pendulum swings, and right now the injured worker is really getting screwed,” Gerson said. “Obtaining medical care is an absolute mess, and people are probably going to need lawyers more so than they ever needed them.” The new rules “are very complicated,” he added. “When an insurance company won’t authorize what the doctor says you need, then your first call is to try to get it sorted out through representation.” To reward attorneys for their hard work in a difficult practice, five attorneys in the 16-attorney firm � Lee, Bert Arnold, Jean Hyams, Leslie Levy and Ralph Mann — were named partners last week, raising the number to 10. “It’s a business,” Gerson said. “I think if you treat people right, you share in the highs and lows of being in business, so we invited these people to be in business with us.” Hyams, an employment law attorney who joined the firm six years ago, said the firm’s combination of practices helps in the new era of workers’ compensation benefits. The firm mixes workers’ compensation practice with personal injury and employment-law practices. Of the firm’s new partners, two represent plaintiffs in employment discrimination, harassment, retaliation and whistle-blower cases, while three practice before the California Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board. Hyams said she thought her promotion was “an institutional recognition on the part of the firm that the employment practice is one of the three major practice areas.” “The five original partners were really making a commitment to really staying the course,” she added. “This is the next step. For the firm to stay the course for the long term there needs to be more longevity.”

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