Exam Prep: Workers’ Compensation (CA) (Recorded in 2017)

Audio program! (check our CLE Programs page for live versions)

The California State Bar’s Legal Specialist Exam in Workers’ Compensation is given every other year in odd years. This program was recorded in 2017. We do not have a more current version of this program.

We stopped holding programs in all topics other than appellate law in 2019, after the bar unexpectedly took down their links to our (and our competitor’s) Exam Prep programs.  Prior to that, links to our and our competitor’s programs were on the bar’s website for more than a decade (with an appropriate disclaimer that they did not endorse any program).  This ensured that attorneys taking the exam could easily find an appropriate and affordable prep course to help them pass the exam.

If you would like us to hold a program in your topic area, please email the bar and ask them to resume putting links to our programs – as well as our competitors like CEB – as they did for more than a decade. Were the bar to resume posting links to our programs as well as our competitors, we would go back to holding prep courses in other practice areas.  If you would like to request that they do that, please email them at: legalspec@calbar.ca.gov or email the Bar’s Executive Director, Leah T. Wilson directly at: leaht.wilson@calbar.ca.gov and request they post the links to all exam prep course providers. They do know the main providers of these courses as they would ask us for our links ever year the exam and course was held, and they posted everyone’s courses.

If you would like to take our 2017 course, the description is below. You will still find it valuable, however, it is up to you to know whether there have been any changes to the law or rules since 2017.

Here is your chance to study for the California Workers’ Compensation Specialist Exam with guidance from Certified Legal Specialists in Worker’s Compensation Law.

At this program, you will get a thorough overview of the critical areas of Workers’ Compensation law and a jump start on your study routine. This carefully-planned program will give you tips on how to take the exam, what to expect on exam day, and how to study for it. We will have a practice essay session with at least two questions found in the Bar’s sample packet, that will conclude with issue spotting and a review of how you could have best answered those questions (the practice test answers will not be graded, just discussed).

By taking this course, you can eliminate the stress that goes with the unknown when preparing for an exam and you can get guidance and subject matter review from those that have taken the exam previously and have been on the commission that writes the exams.


Please note: Because we cannot know exactly what specific questions and issues the bar will test on, and their “potential topic list” is vast, our program covers most of those topics that the bar lists they might test, but not all. This means that we cannot guarantee every single question or issue that appears on your exam is covered in our course (that would pretty much be impossible). We also strongly recommend you begin studying for the exam early – as early as summer. Last minute studying, even with the help of this course, is always a risky proposition when it comes to such a difficult exam covering so many areas of the law.


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What You Will Learn

Day One Topics

Exam details, preparation tips, what to expect, etc.

  • Exam details
    • Morning – 8 essays/short answers in 4 hours
    • Afternoon – 75 multiple choice
  • Grading of the Exam
  • What the exam was like
  • What to expect
  • How to prepare / study plans / strategies
  • Practical considerations
  • Test taking tips, writing tips

Claim Evaluation: Remedies & Defenses

  • Specific injury(ies) and cumulative trauma
  • Relevant time limits
  • Effect of injury date on benefits
  • Types of benefits
  • Identification of relevant issues
  • Identification and evaluation of records and documents
  • Benefit notices
  • Defenses to compensability
  • Insurance coverage
  • Subsequent Injuries Benefits Trust Fund
  • Uninsured Employers Benefits Trust Fund
  • Death benefits/dependency
  • Related civil remedies
  • Serious and willful misconduct
  • Labor Code § 132a
  • Presumptions and Benefits for public safety personnel

Medical Knowledge & Issues

  • Anatomy/physiology
  • Terminology
  • Industrial diseases
  • Treatment guidelines / UR / Independent Medical Review (IMR) / MPN / Medical Treatment Utilization Schedule (MTUS)
  • Determination of medical issues (AME/QME)

Disability Evaluation

  • Permanent Disability/Description of Disability
  • Rating instructions
  • Mechanics of rating disability
  • Psyche/Work function Impairments/Global Assessment of Function (GAF)
  • Causation of disability/Apportionment/Burden of proof

Professional Responsibility

  • Ethical duties to client, opposing counsel and the Court
  • Bases for sanctions
  • Fee agreements/Bases for fees
  • Prohibited referrals and inducements
  • Dual representation/conflicts of interest
  • California Rules of Professional Conduct


Day Two Topics

Practice & Procedures (Trial & Appellate)

  • Jurisdiction/venue
  • Discovery & investigation
  • Pre-trial & trial procedures
  • Expert and lay witnesses
  • Appropriate evidence/admissibility
  • Making of record for reconsideration
  • Post-trial remedies/Reconsideration
  • Petitions for Removal (Labor Code § 5310)
  • Writs
  • Affirmative Defenses
  • Liens
  • Settlements
  • Arbitration and Mediation
  • Return-to-Work-Fund/Supplemental Job Displacement Benefit
  • Penalties, interest and increases to benefits
  • Petition to reopen

Practice Test (2)
Attendees take two practice essay exam questions

Issue Spotting discussion

  • Issue spotting re: practice exam

Practice Test
Attendees take two last practice essay exam questions

Issue spotting for third / fourth practice essay question and final q/a



These testimonials are from our 2017 Exam Prep Course, which was just held in August.

“Great source to prep for the exam.” – Reema Simjee, Esq.

“Got a good overview of exam.” – Adrian Rodriguez, Esq.

“Knowledgeable panel… allowed various questions. Helped… me to stay focused and tuned in.”

“[Freeman and Kerkonian had] great overall knowledge.” – Vahe Tchoukadarian, Esq.

“Overall very good.”

“Good overview of topics.”

“William Lindheim and Lelian Maximous were brilliant! Mark Stephens was inspiring and very informative.”


Penny C. Fogel, Esq.

Hefley Law, APC

Penny C. Fogel is a an attorney with Hefley Law, APC and received her Bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University where she graduated cum laude, participated in Phi Kappa and the Honor Society and was a member of the Michigan State University soccer team. Ms. Fogel earned her Juris Doctor degree from Southwestern University School of Law, where she served as a member of Law Review.

Ms. Fogel’s initial introduction to workers’ compensation was as a Claims Examiner for Crawford and Company and she has practiced workers’ compensation exclusively since 1991. Ms. Fogel is certified by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization as a Certified Specialist in Workers’ Compensation.

Ms. Fogel and is a member of the Sierra Club and Surf Riders. Ms. Fogel enjoys playing hockey, is a triathlete and a mother and is a volunteer attorney for the Barrister’s Temporary Judge Program.

Nanci Freeman, Esq.
Certified Legal Specialist in Workers’ Compensation Law
Hartsuyker, Stratman & Williams-Abrego

Nanci Freeman is a Senior Trial Attorney with the Law Offices of Hartsuyker, Stratman & Williams Abrego, in-house counsel for Farmers Insurance Exchange, a member of Farmers Insurance Group of Companies.

Ms. Freeman earned her undergraduate degree in English from UCLA, graduating magnum cum laude. She is a graduate of UCLA School of Law. Ms. Freeman was a speaker at the commencement ceremony of her law school. A speech she wrote and delivered at the law school during protests over Proposition 209 was published in the Chicano Latino Law Review.

Ms. Freeman spent the first eight years of her legal career practicing workers compensation insurance defense. In late 2008, she opened the Law Office of Nanci Freeman, where her practice included family law, landlord tenant law, and workers compensation. Her workers compensation practice included representation of both applicants and defendants. She has represented self-insured employers, uninsured employers, insurance carriers, and TPAS. She has also served as judge pro-tem at the Long Beach WCAB.

Ms. Freeman is certified by the state bar as an MCLE provider on several topics. She became a certified specialist in 2009.

In her spare time she enjoys frolicking with her playful and mischievous Boston Terrier.

Saro Kerkonian, Esq.
Certified Legal Specialist in Workers’ Compensation Law
Hartsuyker, Stratman & Williams-Abrego

Saro K. Kerkonian is a Workers’ Compensation Law Specialist certified by the State Bar of California, Board of Legal Specialization.  Mr. Kerkonian has been in practice for 29 years and is a Senior Trial Attorney with the Law Offices of Hartsuyker, Stratman & Williams-Abrego of Los Angeles, California, where he represents Farmers Insurance Company in defense of workers’ compensation claims.   He has extensive experience representing both applicants and defendants in all aspects of workers’ compensation proceedings.

Prior to joining the Law Offices of Hartsuyker, Stratman & Williams-Abrego, Mr. Kerkonian was a principal with the KCNS Law Group of Glendale, CA where he represented applicants in workers’ compensation and social security proceedings.  He has also served as counsel with the Glendale based firm of Tennenhouse, Minassian & Adham, where he defended the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the County of Los Angeles, and the City of Los Angeles Police Department in workers’ compensation proceedings.   Early in his career, he was an associate attorney for the firm of Hinden, Rodich & Grueskin. 

Mr. Kerkonian is the author of California Paralegal Manual, Workers’ Compensation, published by The Rutter Group, a division of Thomson Reuters.

Mr. Kerkonian is a frequent lecturer on workers’ compensation law.  He was part of a 5-person panel sponsored by the Armenian Bar Association and Latino Comp, which included California Supreme Court Justices Marvin Baxter and Carlos Moreno.  He was also a moderator and lecturer on a panel with California State Senator Charles Poochigian, author of major legislation reforming workers’ compensation, including the landmark SB 899 discussed in this manual.

Mr. Kerkonian received his Juris Doctor degree from the University of La Verne in 1987, where he was awarded the American Jurisprudence Award in Constitutional Law.  He is a founding member of the Armenian Bar Association, where he currently serves as Chairman of the Board of Governors.  

William Lindheim, Esq.
Managing Partner
Law Offices of William S. Lindheim

William Lindheim has represented injured workers for 44 years. He is a certified specialist in workers’ compensation. A majority of the injured workers represented are Spanish speaking. His law firm has been established since 1996, and employs 3 additional experienced associates, 2 of whom are also certified specialists. Mr. Lindheim has dedicated his career to obtaining benefits for injured workers.


Lelian Maximous, Esq.
AIG Staff Counsel
Law Offices of Jamie Skebba

Lelian Maximous joined AIG Staff Counsel in January 2010.  Previously, she worked for panel firms including McNamara & Drass LLP, Lewis, Brisbois, Bisgaard & Smith LLP, and Tobin Lucks LLP. 

Since graduating from UCLA School of Law, Lelian has practiced workers’ compensation insurance defense for fourteen years.  She has extensive experience in all aspects of litigation including trials, appeals, cross-examining doctors in various fields of medical specialty, arguing cases before the Workers Compensation Appeals Board, negotiating favorable settlements, drafting motions and pleadings, and taking depositions. 

Lelian became a Workers’ Compensation Legal Specialist in 2013.    


        J.D., UCLA School of Law, 2002

        B.A., UCLA, Psychology and English, 1998

Cum Laude


        California 2002


Mark G. Stephens, Esq.
Managing Partner
Tobin Lucks LLP

Mark Stephens is the managing partner of our Los Angeles county office.  Mr. Stephens received his Juris Doctor degree from Loyola Law School of Los Angeles in 2005. Mr. Stephens began working for the firm as a calendar clerk in the Central Coast office shortly after graduating from Westmont College in 2001 with a B.S. in Psychology. He continued to work with Tobin·Lucks throughout his law school career, with the exception of the time he spent at Fordham Law School in New York City. Mr. Stephens has passed both the New York and California Bar exams. He is a Certified Specialist in Workers’ Compensation Law.


Audio Course and Materials Package – Download or CD: $650

CDs: plus $8.50 shipping and, in CA, sales tax.


CLE Credit

CA General: This program is approved for 8.0 units, including 0.5 unit of ethics credit.

CA Self Study (only) Certified Legal Specialist: This program is approved for 8.0 units Certified Legal Specialist CLE in California Workers’ Compensation Law. (Expires 08/24/22) 

CA Participatory Certified Legal Specialist: This program is approved for 8.0 units Certified Legal Specialist CLE in California Workers’ Compensation Law. (Expires 08/24/19) 


Terms and Policies

Recording policy: No audio or video recording of any program is permitted.

Seminar Cancellations: Should you be unable to attend for any reason, please inform us in writing no later than 14 days prior to the event and a credit voucher will be issued. If you prefer, a refund, less a $50 non-refundable deposit, will be issued. No refunds or credits will be given for cancellations received within 14 days of an event. However, if you notify us within 14 days of an event, and wish to convert your in-person attendance registration to an Audio CD package (with handout), we can do so. A small additional shipping charge, and sales tax in CA, will be incurred. No shipping charge is incurred for downloads. We will also issue a voucher for the amount paid if you notify us within 14 days and prefer not to have the audio recording.

Substitutions may be made at any time.

Webinars, Tele-seminars and Webcast Cancellations: Once log-in codes and passwords are issued for a webinar, tele-seminars or webcasts, a refund is not possible. If for any reason you cannot attend the event after you have received the codes, we will automatically convert your registration to an instant streaming/instant download or CD format and provide you with the information you need to access the recording after the program concludes and the recording is available.  Conversions to CD require a $8.50 shipping fee, and in CA, 9% sales tax.

Downloads/CDs/DVDs – Refund policy:

Downloads are non-returnable/non-refundable once purchased and received. Tapes, CDs and DVDs are returnable for a full refund or replacement if defective, within 90 days of purchase.

Reminder: The room temperature at hotels and other seminar locations are notoriously hard to control. Please bring a sweater or jacket in case it gets cold and/or layer as if you are going to the movies so you are comfortable.

$650.00 each

Recorded in 2017.