Instructor(s) Aplin, Ronald
This experiential course is taught by experienced attorneys designed to introduce second and third year law students to worker’s compensation law and procedure. Ronald S. Aplin of Aplin & Ringsmuth, LLC is the primary instructor. Students are assigned to advocate fictitious Wisconsin worker’s compensation claims from the pleading stage to hearing. Roughly half of the class sessions involve a traditional lecture/discussion format, although legal, procedural and medical topics are discussed with the fictitious claims in mind. In other class sessions, guest experts, including an orthopedic surgeon, a psychologist, and vocational experts, pose as witnesses in the fictitious claims, and are “examined” and “cross-examined” by experienced attorneys, as if they were testifying at hearing. One class session involves the direct and cross-examination of a claimant from one of the fictitious claims. Students learn about medical, psychological and vocational science, and acquire litigation skills in these class sessions. Current administrative law judges also teach a class session as guest lecturers on effective advocacy at hearing, and on settlement. At the conclusion of the course, students are required to write a brief advocating their clients’ positions in the fictitious cases for hearing, and then litigate their clients’ claims in a two-hour mock worker’s compensation hearing, conducted during the final exam period before a current administrative law judge. Course materials include the Wisconsin Worker’s Compensation Handbook by John D. Neal and Joseph P. Danas, and additional materials provided to students by the instructor electronically.