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March 22, 2021 Message from the Chair-Elect

Patience and Adaptability: Hallmarks of The Forum 2020 Experience and Beyond

Wm. Cary Wright

Little did we know at the beginning of 2020 that the Forum, due to COVID-19, would be embarking on a historic year that none could have envisioned. The year, which started out as usual, took what we thought would be a minor detour when COVID-19 struck the nation, then took a major turn when the pandemic persisted much longer than anticipated. Through it all, however, the Forum remained patient and adaptable, and grew to be stronger.

In late January, the Midwinter Meeting was held in Tucson, Arizona – a first for the Forum. It was a beautiful setting and attendees enjoyed being with one another for the first meeting after the holidays. The topic was “2020: A Focused Look at Risk Management in the New Decade.” Little could we have anticipated what was to come.

A few weeks later, the first cases of COVID-19 were reported on the west coast, in the Seattle area. At the time, no one paid much attention to the impact this could have on Forum meetings, much less to our daily lives and the nation as a whole. However, as it turned out, the Annual Meeting, scheduled to be held in Seattle in April, with the topic titled “2020 Foresight: Effective Project Management and Strategies,” had to be cancelled and rescheduled to the Fall 2021.

Rather than sit idly by, the Forum and dedicated sponsors developed and rolled out a webinar series to address how the construction industry and we as practitioners could navigate through the myriad of issues presented by COVID-19. The series was extremely well received, and set the groundwork for future webinar series, provided at no charge to members and industry participants.

As the impacts from COVID-19 increased, it became apparent that the pandemic would last much longer until a vaccine was developed. It became clear that the Forum would have to remain patient and be flexible. Which it did and continues to do.

To that end, the Forum leadership sought approval from the Governing Committee to have a Gap Year – that is, move the Forum in-person activities scheduled for the 2020-2021 ABA Bar Year to the 2021-2022 Bar Year. Also, the current leadership – Chair, Chair-Elect, Immediate Past Chair and Governing Committee members – would continue in their current roles for an additional year. The same would go for Division Chairs should they desire to continue in their roles for another year. This was approved by the Governing Committee, and then subsequently approved by the ABA Board of Governors, approving a Forum bylaw change permitting this to occur.

So, with this in mind, we are scheduled to meet back in person at the Fall 2021 Meeting in Seattle, with the same topic: “2020 Foresight: Effective Project Management and Strategies” but should probably be modified slightly (perhaps “20/20”) demonstrating yet again the Forum’s adaptability. The Forum’s patience and adaptability will continue to be rewarded as we look forward to seeing and learning with one another in person and continuing to grow stronger. 

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Wm. Cary Wright

Carlton Fields, Tampa, FL