And this is a blog dedicated to Mississippi Workers' Compensation
Farewell to Chairman Williams
After graduating from Mississippi College School of Law in December, 2010, I took the Mississippi Bar in February, 2011. The results were posted in late April and every applicant was assigned a number for identification purposes rather than their actual name. I was happy that was the case, as my confidence was shot after testing for three days on every topic covered in law school, and then some.
I had not started applying for jobs just yet, as the thought of taking a job and failing the Bar Exam gave me night terrors. On the day the scores were finally revealed, I vividly recall covering the right side of my screen with my right hand and first searching for my number on the left side of the screen. Once it was located, I methodically slid my right index finger to the right which revealed a “P”, and then the entire word “Pass”. I audibly screamed and celebrated that night with my other friends who had done the same.
Weeks later, I would apply and accept a job at Markow Walker, P.A. For those unfamiliar with our Firm, we are a general defense firm, but many of our attorneys practice exclusively in the area of workers’ compensation, myself included.
All I have known since my time as an attorney is having Mr. Liles Williams as the Chairman at the Workers’ Compensation Commission. For those unfamiliar, there are eight Administrative Law Judges and three Commissioners who run the MS Workers’ Compensation Commission. Of the three Commissioners, Mr. Williams has served as our Chairman since being appointed by Governor Haley Barbour in 2005.
For the person running the show since 2005, you would assume Chairman Williams would have been a well-accomplished workers’ comp lawyer for a number of years. You would be wrong. Chairman Williams served as the Vice President and Assistant President of Stuart C. Irby Co. in Jackson, MS for a number of years. He also served on many boards, both locally and nationally. Professionally, besides working for a successful business that is continuing strong 90 years later, he is also a proud Mississippian who has represented our state with past community and civic activities.
I recall one of my first conversations with Chairman Williams when presenting a settlement for approval. After our introductions, he quickly asked where my college allegiance lies. Anyone who knows me, knows my passion for Ole Miss sports. Very few people share my passion. Chairman Williams is one of those. Since that time, whenever I make my way to the Commission, I always stop by to discuss the current state of our athletic program. That is the type of atmosphere he created, which is enjoyed by many attorneys, like me.
The time has now come for Chairman Williams to move on to another stage of his life. I know he has a second home on the coast that he will enjoy with his loving family. As an attorney thrown right into the fire, Chairman Williams was always kind and genuine to me. His industry background and personality made him perfect for the job. He would never get bogged down in legalese, but would use common sense which is oftentimes lacking in the legal field. That, along with his true compassion for claimants, made him so liked by all sides.
Once Chairman Williams works his last day, we will usher in a new regime. Mr. Mark Formby has been nominated by Governor Phil Bryant to take the position to begin on April 15, 2017, with the term set to run through December 31, 2022. This has not yet been confirmed through the Senate, but the prevailing thought is he will ultimately be our next Chairman.
I have not yet had the opportunity to meet Mr. Formby, but assuming the nomination is confirmed, we will certainly get to know one another in the years to come. Mr. Formby comes highly recommended from everyone I have spoken with. He has been in the legislature since 1993 as he currently serves as a republican for the Mississippi House of Representatives for District 108 - Pearl River. Mr. Formby is a Mississippi State graduate, who is actually from Starkville. While that certainly differs from Chairman Williams, my hope is that Mr. Formby will have a similar impact on our field that Chairman Williams has had. He will be aided by Commissioner Tom Webb and Commissioner Beth Aldridge. As a community, we welcome the new Chairman with open arms.
To my Ole Miss-loving friend, Chairman Williams, I wish you a happy retirement. Good luck with the next stage of your life and HOTTY TODDY!
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Attorney with Markow Walker in Ridgeland, MS