Comments from the Chair

AuthorBy Arlan D. Lewis
Published in
The Construction Lawyer
, Volume 41, Number 2, Season 2021. © 2021 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.
To say that the past 15 months
have been a challenge would be
an understatement. Not only
has the pandemic and other
events challenged each of us
personally and professionally
but it has also had a signicant
impact on the construction
industry. The construction
industry is known for its ability to adapt to challenges,
whether these are changing circumstances affecting a
project or problems requiring innovative technological
solutions. As construction lawyers, we’d like to think that
some of the resilience—so characteristic of the construc-
tion industry—has rubbed off on us, particularly as it
relates to the Forum.
While we have not been able to hold our traditional
in-person meetings or otherwise operate as “normal” for
more than a year, the Forum has continued to thrive. We
have taken the opportunity presented by the pandemic to
sharpen our focus and develop additional ways to pro-
vide value to our members and the construction industry.
In February 2021, we held our rst-ever Virtual Con-
struction Conference, which focused on the fundamentals
of construction law and was highlighted by a keynote
address from renowned economist Anirban Basu. As
with any new endeavor, we were unsure how well-received
an entire “virtual” construction conference would be. I
am pleased to report that we had more than 350 attend-
ees, including many non-Forum members. The insight
we gained through the development and implementa-
tion of the virtual conference has opened up a world of
new possibilities for reaching construction lawyers and
other industry participants to illustrate the value of the
Forum. We have also continued our tradition of publish
ing industry-specic books—most recently, the Design
Professional’s Guide to Construction Law.
An ENR 2020 Top 25 Newsmaker
The Forum is more than simply the largest organization of
construction lawyers in the world. We are also thought lead-
ers and a resource to the entire construction industry. The
Forum’s impact on the broader construction industry was
illustrated in the Engineering News-Record’s (ENR’s) selec-
tion of its 2020 Top 25 Newsmakers. Every year ENR selects
individuals who have impacted the construction industry
by tackling difcult challenges. The Forum was pleased to
stand in the shadows of the spotlight shown on one of our
long-time Forum supporters, Frank Giunta, of HKA, who
was recognized as an ENR 2020 Top 25 Newsmaker.
In the early days of the pandemic, Frank had the idea to
facilitate an environment where construction industry lead-
ers could collaboratively discuss how they were dealing with
various issues related to the pandemic. Fortunately, Frank
reached out to the Forum to partner in developing what
ultimately came to be the “COVID-19 Leadership Round-
table Series.” The Series ran from April through September
2020 and attracted more than 5,000 registrants, many of
whom were not lawyers. Thanks to Immediate Past Forum
Chair Kristine Kubes, Rob Ruesch, Tracy Doyle, and many
others, the Forum was able to deliver signicant value to
the construction industry.
Award-Winning Diversity Brunch Series
In addition to the pandemic, this past year also brought chal-
lenges that renewed focus on issues of diversity, equality, and
inclusion. For several years, the Forum has invited promi-
nent speakers to its national meetings to discuss these issues.
To maintain our commitment to addressing diversity and
inclusion challenges particular to the construction indus-
try, the Forum developed a free, monthly virtual Diversity
& Inclusion Brunch offering one-hour conversations with
insightful keynote speakers. Each session was developed
and moderated by a Forum member. Interestingly, one of
the sessions featured another 2020 ENR Top 25 Newsmaker,
Jennifer Todd of LMS General Contractors.
In February 2021, the Forum received the “Diversity,
Equity & Inclusion Champions Award” from the ABA
Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Pro-
fession for the development and implementation of this
series of discussions. This award was a tremendous honor
recognizing the Forum’s commitment to diversity and
inclusion in the construction industry. Under the sound
leadership of Nick Holmes, the members of the Forum’s
Diversity & Inclusion Committee are to be commended
for a job well done.
* * * * * *
While we are looking forward to the light at the end
of the tunnel, the Forum will press on to be a light in the
tunnel for our members, afliates, and the construction
industry as we strive to continue “building the best con-
struction lawyers.”
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.
Arlan D. Lewis
By Arlan D. Lewis
A Light in the Tunnel

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