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September 20, 2021 Message from the Chair-Elect

An Opportunity to Reflect as We Move Forward

Wm. Cary Wright

What a year and a half it has been!  When COVID hit in early 2020, no one could have anticipated the disruption it would bring to our nation, profession, and families.  For some, an unspeakable loss of a family member or a close friend.  For our professional lives, the advent of Zoom depositions, hearings, and mediations took hold and are undoubtedly here to stay – at least in some form.  As our firms and local economies continue opening up and getting back to the new normal, it is a good time to reflect on where we have been and where we are going in both our professional and personal lives. 

In our professional lives, the Forum’s mission is “Building the Best Construction Lawyers.”  This is more than a tagline – we truly believe and practice it.  We are comprised of thirteen Divisions that focus on various aspects of construction law, and one devoted to Young Lawyers.  Although we have been unable to meet in person since the Midwinter Meeting in January 2020, we have met virtually.  It was an adjustment, but through the leadership of Kristine Kubes and Arlan Lewis, and the able assistance of Forum Staff, the Forum has done remarkably well.  The Forum displayed the characteristics of its leadership and members: creativity, persistence, optimism and collegiality, among many others. 

As we take stock of our personal lives, we should focus on these and other characteristics that define us. These include honesty and respect for our fellow colleagues - whether on the same or opposite side of a matter.  Recently, one of our long-time colleagues and Past Forum Chair, Larry Harris, passed away. Larry was a member of the American College of Construction Lawyers, which has a tradition of members recounting their remembrances of a passed colleague in an email string, which is subsequently given to the family.  I did not have the pleasure of meeting Larry, but was impressed by the comments of his fellow members in the College.  A sampling of these comments were: “respect and admiration”; “always smiling”; “Prince among men”; “grace, accomplishment, intelligence, warmth and cheer”; “proud of family”; “extraordinary person and privilege to know him”; “impacted people with spirit and positivity”; “openness and frankness”; “friendliness and collegiality”; and “special human being.”  Perhaps, the most profound comment, and one that we as Forum members should strive to have said about us one day is: “better off for having had him as our colleague, and more so our friend.”  As we continue our mission of Building the Best Construction Lawyers, not only should we focus on the technical aspects of our great profession, but foster and cherish the friendships we make along the way and leave our colleagues and friends better off for having known us.

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Wm. Cary Wright

Carlton Fields, Tampa, FL