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Profiles of people who changed workers’ compensation law.

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In Memory of Barry J. Williams
by Frank Clifford, Yale Jones & Rick Dietrich

Barry J. Williams passed away on January 26, 2004, at age 62, as a result of illness that he battled for almost three years with courage, grace, good humor, and unfailing optimism. He was regarded as a giant in the field of workers’ compensation law, an image perhaps enhanced by his imposing
physical stature but rooted in his formidable intellect and in his passionate
commitment to his clients and to the rights of all injured worker. With his passing
the workers’ compensation community has lost a skilled and tenacious advocate,
a scholar, a teacher, and a friend.

Barry was a native of San Francisco. After completing his undergraduate education
at the University of California at Berkeley he received his J.D. from the University of
California, Hastings College of the Law in 1967. He practiced in the field of workers’
compensation law for 36 years. including three years of service as a Workers’
Compensation Judge. Barry was a certified specialist in workers’ compensation
law and was listed in Best Lawyers in America.

Among Barry’s many accomplishments is an almost unparalleled record of success
in the appellate courts in landmark workers’ compensation cases. Barry appeared
in 111 appellate cases resulting in 22 published opinions, including Kerley v. WCAB
(Supreme Court, 1971) on penalties, Dalen v. WCAB (1972) on permanent disability
and occupation, Gross v. WCAB (1975) on apportionment, Fuentes v. WCAB
(Supreme Court, 1976) on apportionment, Mihesuah v. WCAB (1976) on overlapping
permanent disability, Carrillo v. WCAB (1983) on the going and coming rule,
Gellie v. WCAB (1985) on penalties for delayed interest, Duke v. WCAB (1988) on
permanent disability, and Rosas v. WCAB (1993) on applicant’s burden of proof.

Barry was a past president of the California App!icants’ Attorneys Asso¬ciation and
was a frequent writer and lecturer on workers’ compensation and related issues.
Characteristically, Barry never declined to help a fellow applicant’s attorney and gave
generously of his time and knowledge. He was also a member of the LexisNexis
Matthew Bender Editorial Board for California Compensation Cases, Workers’
Compensation Laws of California, and Hanna, California Law of Employee Injuries
and Workers’ Compensation.

Barry is survived by his loving wife Dee of Corte Madera, four stepchildren, a brother and sister, numerous grandchildren, nieces and nephews, and a wide community of friends, all of whom will miss him greatly.


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People Who Made a Difference
In an ongoing series of profiles on People Who Made a Difference in workers’ compensation law, we honor Barry J. Williams, Esq. Larger than life in both physical and intellectual stature, Mr. Williams loomed over workers’ compensation law for more than 30 years. As a litigator, workers’ compensation judge, and mentor to other practitioners, he followed the highest standards of legal practice and ethics.

In this series of three articles, colleagues, friends and family remember a remarkable man.

> Analyzing Surveillance Videos
> Remembering Barry. J. Williams
> Interview with Frederick George Craw
> Interview with Steve Chapman
> Smoking Gun