August 16, 2019 Message from the Chair-Elect

Welcoming a New Decade

Kristine A. Kubes

As we prepare to greet the year 2020, I am pleased to report that we have five teams of extraordinary Forum leaders working with me to plan five programs for the benefit of our members and all construction lawyers. Here is a preview. I sincerely invite you to participate!

Big-picture developments:

In the coming year, the Forum is focusing on professionalism, inclusion, engagement, and foresight. I invite you to join in the conversation. Each of the items and programs outlined here relates to these principles.

In 2016, the Forum made a significant donation to found a non-profit company entitled, Building for Good, Inc. (“B4G”). The goal of B4G is to provide a volunteer network of construction lawyers to serve non-profits and charities who have need for construction law help. B4G will connect those non-profits and charities with a local Forum construction lawyer for pro bono help, meaning the charities can put their funds toward their mission rather than legal fees. We are very proud to announce that B4G has commenced  operations in four pilot states: Florida, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and New Jersey! Please visit the website and volunteer for B4G at www.building4good.org!  

In keeping with the Forum’s strategic plan focus on outreach, in this last year, the Forum has formalized a relationship with the Construction Management Association of America (“CMAA”) to collaborate in programming and thought-leadership, similar to the relationships we have with AIA and AGC. Forum members and CMAA members will be able to attend one another’s meetings and purchase publications at member rates.

In keeping with the Forum’s strategic goal of member engagement, we will be increasing our communications with members via ABA Connect (https://connect.americanbar.org/), the Forum App (search “ABA FCL”) , and Forum social media outlets (@ABAConstruction). Please be sure you are registered for and connected to all of these portals so that Forum news reaches you.

Program Preview:

We will kick off the new Bar year with our Regional Program, Sticks & Bricks – ever-popular for its technical education for construction lawyers. The program will be held on Sept. 9 in Charlotte, NC; and on Sept. 20 in Chicago, New York City, and Sacramento. The registration fee includes the book of the same name, plus attendees will receive a discount on the new book, “More Sticks & Bricks.” Don’t miss it! To register, visit ambar.org/regionals.

Next, we welcome you to the City of Brotherly Love, Philadelphia, PA, for our Fall Meeting, Oct. 23-25, 2019. This first-of-its kind program, Building a Better Construction Industry through Inclusion, Diversity, & Professionalism, will host leaders from the ABA, ACEC, AGC, and AIA in addressing cultural and demographic shifts for the construction industry. Learn the business case for diversity and inclusion in your practice and your client’s market sectors. We are honored to report that eight ABA entities have come alongside the Forum to co-sponsor and support this program! We look forward to your participation.  To register, visit ambar.org/Fall19.

Our Forum Midwinter Meeting will take us to Tucson, AZ – where the Forum has never been – and to the exquisite El Conquistador Hilton resort. Save the dates of Jan. 22-24, 2020, for a unique program examining risk in the new decade. Risk our clients face due to technology changing how they design and construct projects; and risks lawyers face due to the pace/pressure technology puts on the practice. Futurist Simon Anderson will be our keynote.

The Forum will host the Trial Academy, a three-day intensive trial program for construction lawyers, in Dallas, TX, on March 4-7. The Forum will be using new program materials customized for this program as a result of a juried contest. We are very grateful for our members’ significant efforts to create challenging and meaningful materials to help students cultivate their construction trial skills. We have also refined the role of the consultants in the Trial Academy, adding a consultant representative on our program planning team, and registering them as full program participants to hone their skills as testifying experts. Please save the date. Space is limited to 36 lawyers and 24 consultants.

We will cap off the year with our Annual Meeting in downtown Seattle, WA – where the Forum has not visited in over 20 years. Save the dates of April 22-24, 2020, for a first-ever program dedicated to project management from all sides of the construction and design equation. This program will feature a keynote by renowned author, Edward W. Merrow and two sessions presenting the Fall 2019 revisions to the AIA CM-Advisor and CM-at Risk contracts. Please mark your calendars and join us for this valuable program.

Thank you for this opportunity to serve the Forum. I look forward to meeting you at the next program!

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