Comments from the Chair

AuthorBy Arlan D. Lewis
Published in The Construction Lawyer, Volume 40, Number 4, Fall 2020. © 2020 American Bar Association. Reproduced with permission. All rights reserved. This information or any portion
thereof may not be copied or disseminated in any form or by any means or stored in an electronic database or retrieval system without the express written consent of the American Bar Association.
CommeNts from the Chair
The Journey Ahead
By Arlan D. Lewis
Arlan D. Lewis is a partner with Blueprint Construction
Counsel, LLP. He is Chair of the ABA’s Forum on
Construction Law and is based in Birmingham, Alabama.
It is truly an honor to serve
as your Forum Chair. The
Forum has been a signicant
part of my professional life,
and I have developed many
lifelong friendships through
my involvement with this
incredible organization. I
am humbled to follow in the
footsteps of so many fantas-
tic construction lawyers who
have led this organization
over the past 45 years. Their
leadership has resulted in the Forum becoming the larg-
est organization of construction lawyers in the world and
recognized as a valuable resource to the construction
industry. Most importantly, through its focus on pro-
grams, publications, and people, the Forum is known for
building the best construction lawyers.
Shifting Sands
Undoubtedly, every Forum Chair has had to deal with
challenges in one form or another. In fact, challenges are
at the core of leadership. In addition to the typical range
of challenges, 2020 brought us the unique, worldwide
challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic
resulted in signicant disruptions to each of us on a very
personal level. We transitioned to working from home and
all that comes with it. Travel has been severely restricted,
and gathering with others for almost any business or
social activity was primarily forbidden.
The inability to gather in person had a signicant
effect on the Forum because we deeply value the per-
sonal connections and relationships fostered during our
three national meetings and other in-person events. We
had to make the difcult decision to postpone our 2020
Annual, Fall, and Regional meetings. As the sand contin
ues to shift beneath our feet almost daily, we eagerly look
forward to the time when we can gather in person again.
New Ways to Connect
Meanwhile, we’ve been challenged to develop new ways
to stay connected to you, our members, and to provide
CLE and other valuable resources amid this predicament.
For years, the Forum has looked for ways to connect with
members outside of our in-person events, and the pan-
demic presented an opportunity for us to intensify our
focus. The Forum was fortunate to have Kristine Kubes
at the helm to steer us through the initial blow of the pan-
demic and set us on a focused course as we continue to
work through the impact of these circumstances. I want to
thank Kristine for her servant leadership, resourcefulness,
kindness, and professionalism as we sought to keep the
Forum moving forward through the headwinds of a pan-
demic. With a wonderful sense of humor, Kristine often
reminded Forum leaders that we had to go beyond thinking
outside the box to “throwing away the box” and “building
the bicycle while we’re riding it!” This year has been quite
an adventure thus far, and there are certainly adventures
awaiting us as we move into the 2020–2021 bar year.
In response to the pandemic, the Forum developed
a virtual, non-CLE COVID-19 Leadership Roundtable
series to address the impacts on the construction indus-
try. The Roundtable was open to all construction industry
participants, including construction executives, free of
charge. Since its inception in April 2020, the Roundta-
ble discussions have attracted almost 5,500 registrants,
including approximately 2,500 non-Forum ABA members
and more than 860 non-ABA members. The Roundtable
has been highly successful in providing an opportunity
for the Forum to reach an audience beyond its member-
ship and demonstrate thought-leadership on critical issues
facing the construction industry. Likewise, to maintain
our commitment to address diversity and inclusion issues
in the construction industry, the Forum developed a free
monthly virtual Diversity & Inclusion Brunch featuring a
one-hour conversation with keynote speakers providing
insight into issues of diversity, inclusion, construction,
and the legal industry. If you have not been active in one
of the Forum’s 14 divisions, now is the time to do so. In
addition to providing useful substantive content for their
division members, they connect virtually for social and
other activities.
New Opportunities
As the Chair of the Forum, I am grateful to be surrounded
by an amazing leadership team made up of thoughtful,
intelligent, passionate, and committed construction law-
yers. I am also fortunate to have the support of our Forum
members and volunteers. The Forum could not function
without the hard work and sacrices of our volunteers,
and I have been amazed by their willingness to rise to the
challenges posed by this pandemic. I want to say thank you
to every single volunteer who has reinforced the Forum
Arlan D. Lewis

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