December 09, 2019 Message from the Chair-Elect

The Forum is all about YOU!

Arlan D. Lewis

The Forum on Construction Law focuses on “building the best construction lawyers.” Among other things, this involves demonstrating the positive value of construction lawyers to the broader construction industry.  If you are reading this, you are in some way connected to the Forum as a member, associate member, or non-member (preferably a “future member”) interested in the construction industry, and the Forum is all about YOU! 

The Forum remains the preeminent organization for the education and professional development of construction lawyers by doing two things: First, continuing to build upon foundational practices and activities which, over time, have proven “successful” (i.e., being of high value to its members and the industry). Secondly, Forum leadership continuously evaluates its activities and initiatives to provide innovative solutions to further increase the value of the Forum to you. Throughout my years of involvement, I have come to appreciate the willingness of Forum leadership to innovate, take risks, and take on new challenges to better serve its members.  We are fortunate that Forum lawyers bring the spirit of innovation to Forum initiatives through three key elements – programs, publications, and people.

Programs

Early in my career as a construction lawyer, I identified the Forum as the best place for me to get the most relevant, cutting-edge education dedicated explicitly to construction law.  From regional meetings held simultaneously in several cities and devoted to specific construction law topics, to national conferences where leading industry practitioners address front-line issues, and to the Trial Academy (the next one is set to occur March 4-7, 2020 – register early!), the Forum offers the best construction law educational programs.

If you’re not always able to personally attend regional or national meetings consistently, the Forum offers periodic webinars on substantive construction law topics and, most recently, the Construction Law Today podcast series consisting of insightful 30-minute discussions of issues of relevance to construction lawyers. Additionally, many valuable “programs” occur at the Forum division level through periodic conference calls featuring practical presentations on construction law issues of interest to its members.  

Publications

In addition to the Forum’s Construction Lawyer and Under Construction periodicals, the Forum’s books have been a constant resource in my construction law practice.  Recently, the Forum revised and updated its textbook Construction Law, Second Edition and published The Effective Use of Forensic Experts in Construction Litigation.

People  

In the Forum, there are incredible occasions to network with other construction lawyers from all sectors of the practice – in-house counsel, law firms, government lawyers, academia, and other construction industry organizations.  Such opportunities are not only good for business and professional development, but lifelong personal friendships frequently stem from Forum activities – usually from working together in the “trenches” on some Forum project or initiative. The Forum has the potential to provide you with a network of construction lawyers and friends throughout the country and internationally, who serve as valuable resources – whether as a source of business, referrals, inquiries, or expertise.

The Forum’s focus on “people” is not limited to its membership. Recently, the Forum was instrumental in launching Building for Good, Inc. (“B4G”), to provide a volunteer network of construction lawyers to serve non-profits and charities with their construction law needs.  Likewise, the Forum has raised almost $100,000 for local food banks in national meeting host cities. Building the best construction lawyer is not limited to construction law.

There are so many ways for you to extract positive benefits from the Forum, no matter what your current level of involvement may be (and we’d certainly welcome your increased participation).   In other words, if you’re reading this, we are interested in your ideas and your participation to improve the Forum experience. The Forum exists for the benefit of its members and the construction industry as a whole.  We are here to do what we can to make the Forum the most valuable construction law resource for YOU and to help YOU be a better construction lawyer.  I hope you’ll join us in this effort.  I am confident that you’ll get more out of the Forum experience than you ever imagined. I certainly have!

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Arlan D Lewis

Blueprint Construction Counsel, LLP, Birmingham, AL