October 17, 2019

Message from the Chair

I am so excited to be starting my year as Chair of the Forum. Having attended Forum meetings since 2005, its really meaningful to me to have the opportunity to serve our many wonderful and talented members. 

2019 has been a busy year for many of us with our industry moving forward after the uncertainty of tax reform as well as working to get our arms around newer legislation such as income averaging and Opportunity Zones. There is still much to learn on those fronts and as always, we are striving to be sure that the Forum is at the forefront of new and emerging topics like this, not only by providing substantive content to help our members understand new programs but also providing comments on proposed guidance to both the IRS and HUD. We were able to timely provide comments to the IRS on several topics, including income averaging, over the summer and are working to provide comments to HUD. The level of dialogue and interaction that our group has with these agencies really does help shape laws and the agency guidance that is published in connection with those laws, which is really one of the most important and unique attributes of the Forum. We truly owe a great debt of gratitude to our members who take the lead in collecting, drafting and disseminating those comments as it is no small feat.

Looking forward, the Forum is again hosting our “bootcamp”, this year in Denver beginning October 17. We will again have two intensive, substantive tracks, one for beginners or those new to the industry and one that is somewhat more advanced.   Please check the website for more details, including the agenda for each day.  Again, this is a very unique offering from the Forum that provides interactive technical training really unlike any other available today.   I encourage you to think about attending regardless of your practice level and certainly encourage others to do so.  While obviously designed by and hosted for attorneys, it can really be beneficial to developers, agency employees, government employees, bankers, investors etc. so please tell all of your colleagues about this dynamic programming offered by the Forum.

Please also be watching your inbox for the upcoming schedule of webinars hosted by the Forum.   Topics will include income averaging, historic tax credits in LIHTC transactions, a RAD update and real estate documents in affordable housing as well as an ethics panel in December.  

Lastly, I would like to share that the Governing Committee continues to work on implementing the strategic plan for the Forum.  Part of this process is to develop a subcommittee structure within the Governing Committee with the goal of making the GC more efficient and effective at what we do.  These subcommittees will also have non GC members on them, with the hope of providing more transparency and inclusiveness for our membership as well as a clear path for those who are interested in being involved in the leadership of the Forum.  We have a wealth of talent and resources amongst ourselves as well as the ability to create invaluable networks.  We believe developing this new level of organization will help maximize the opportunities and resources that we have.

Again, I am so excited and honored to work as your Chair this year.  Please do not hesitate to reach out to me with any comments, thoughts or suggestions you may have about the Forum.

Kelly Rushin Lewis 
Jones Walker LLP