CWCR Staff

Legal Writers and Editors

Barry M. Lesch
Lesch has been with the Reporter since 1976. A certified specialist in workers' compensation law for more than 30 years, he is of counsel in the workers' compensation insurance defense firm of Laughlin, Falbo, Levy and Moresi in Oakland. A graduate of Boalt Law School in 1975, he has been a member of the State Bar of California since then. He has also been a member of the United States Supreme Court Bar since 1980. He is a contributor to California Workers’ Compensation Practice (4th ed, Cal CEB 2000), author of other publications, and a frequent speaker at California State Bar and California Workers’ Compensation Defense Attorneys Association (CWCDAA) programs.

Paul Peyrat
From the Reporter's inception in 1973, Peyrat has reported and commented on the interrelationship between WCAB proceedings and lawsuits to recover personal injury and wrongful death damages. A University of Minnesota Law School graduate and a member of the California bar since 1961, he continues to serve as a writer and legal editor for Continuing Education of the Bar and other publishers and as a consultant to attorneys. He has served as a neutral arbitrator and and municipal court judge pro tem. His published articles and books, many cited and discussed by appellate courts, include California Workers' Damages Practice (2d ed., Cal CEB 2001), California Tort Guide (3d ed., Cal CEB 1996), and California Tort Damages (2d ed., 2002), with their yearly updates.

Founding Legal Writers and Editors

Melvin S. Witt (1928–2019) Editor and Publisher
Witt founded CWCR in 1973 and was its publisher and managing editor through June 2007 (with a five-year hiatus from 1975 through 1980 while he served as Chairman of the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board). He continues with CWCR as an adviser and occasional contributor. He is a recognized expert who has been actively involved in California workers' compensation since the early 1950s. He served as Chairman of the California State Bar Workers' Compensation Advisory Commission to the California Board of Legal Specialization, and he was a workers' compensation judge, WCAB deputy commissioner and secretary, applicants' attorney, insurance defense attorney, WCAB attorney, and adjunct professor of workers' compensation law at two law schools. Among other writings, he coauthored and edited California Workers' Compensation Practice (Cal CEB 1973).

Bertram Cohen (1938–2019 Managing Editor
A Presiding Workers' Compensation Judge in the WCAB's Stockton office from 1989 to 2007, Cohen was a workers' compensation attorney in private practice until he became a WCJ in 1981. He began contributing to the Reporter in 1973 and was CWCR 's principal author for the five years that Witt served as Board Chairman. A Boalt Hall law school graduate, he has been a member of the California bar since 1973. For several years, he updated California Workers' Compensation Practice (3d ed, Cal CEB 1985).

Charles Lawrence Swezey (1923–2020) Contributing Editor
Swezey analyzed, summarized, and commented on WCAB and Administrative Director decisions for the Reporter from 1992 through 2014. Earlier, he had served the WCAB in various capacities, including 12 years as referee in charge of its San Jose office, four years as a Board staff referee, five years as its Secretary and Deputy Commissioner, and ten years as a Board commissioner. He had been Senior Counsel at the State Compensation Insurance Fund, a lecturer on workers' compensation and other legal subjects for Continuing Education of the Bar and others, and an instructor at San Francisco Law School. A graduate of Stanford Law School, he was a member of the State Bar of California since 1949. He authored California Workers' Compensation Practice (3d ed., Cal CEB 1985) and contributed to the 4th (current) edition of that book and its yearly updates, and practiced as a legal consultant on workers' compensation matters.

Editorial Assistance

Mary Fenneman has performed copyediting and proofreading for the Reporter since 1989, as well as indexing, journalism, and consultation services. Formerly a production editor at University of California Press, she has also worked for several legal publishers and educators, including California Continuing Education of the Bar (CEB), the California Center for Judicial Education and Research (CJER), the National Judicial College at the University of Nevada, Reno, and the Matthew Bender Company.


Design and Production

Dickie Magidoff (Wandering Mind Productions), a typographer and designer for more than 35 years, typesets and prepares the Reporter for printing.

Administration & Subscription Fulfillment

Sandra Lesch, a financial consultant, manages business and subscription services supporting CWCR, including subscription and back issue fulfillment, database management, and recordkeeping. She can be reached at and at 510–843–1381.