Comments from the Chair

AuthorBy Arlan D. Lewis
Published in
The Construction Lawyer
, Volume 41, Number 3. © 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.
One thing that consistently fuels
my interest in construction law is
the variety of issues in our prac-
tices. We deal with a multitude
of challenges that involve several
legal disciplines. No two projects
are alike, even if they appear to be
at a surface level. Considering the
varying facts, personalities, con-
tract provisions, and jurisdictions involved, there is hardly
a dull moment! Our in-house counsel colleagues deal with
this level of “variety” daily and are often expected to provide
direction within minutes or hours to deal with circumstances
in “real-time.” They rarely have the luxury of time to con-
duct extensive research to provide advice.
Recognizing that our in-house counsel colleagues face
challenges different from those of outside counsel, this com-
ing bar year, we are particularly focused on (1) increasing
the value of the Forum to in-house counsel members, (2)
attracting new in-house counsel to Forum membership and
participation, and (3) helping in-house counsel gain support
from their executive teams for Forum involvement. Accord-
ing to many current in-house counsel members, one of the
signicant benets is access to a wide variety of quality
Forum resources through programs and publications.
Forum Programs
Our programs this year were developed to address issues
important to in-house counsel while allowing outside
counsel to view these issues from the client’s perspective.
Additionally, we incorporated a virtual component into each
to reach broader audiences and provide greater accessibility.
In September 2021, we held a two-day Regional Program in
six cities across the country, combining the Fundamentals
of Construction Law with Sticks & Bricks to provide a com-
prehensive overview of both the legal and technical aspects
of construction for those new to construction law or those
who deal with construction issues occasionally. Tellingly, this
program attracted signicant interest from non-legal con-
struction industry executives and project personnel.
Our Midwinter Meeting (February 24–26, 2022) will
enhance counsel’s understanding of the “business of con
struction” from the executive’s perspective to enable us to
provide valuable guidance to our clients whether we serve
them as in-house or outside counsel. The Annual Meet-
ing (May 4–7, 2022) will be the Forum’s rst-ever In-House
Counsel Summit aimed squarely at providing practical tools
for in-house lawyers addressing key construction issues.
Finally, our Summer Meeting (July 26–28, 2022) will address
the nuts, bolts, and nuances of negotiation—a valuable skill
for every construction lawyer.
In-house counsel members also benet from access to the
Forum’s Searchable Knowledge Database of written materials
from past national meetings. It’s quite valuable for in-house
counsel to be able to search a topic within the database and
immediately access quality, in-depth analyses from leading
construction law practitioners.
Forum Publications
The Forum offers an extensive library of high-quality pub-
lications for in-house counsel who, on any given day, must
quickly grasp the nuts and bolts of a variety of issues to
provide sound advice to executives and project teams. Con-
sidering the frequency with which in-house counsel must
deal with labor and employment issues, The Construction
Lawyer’s Guide to Labor & Employment Law is an invalu-
able guide tailored to the unique construction context. Most
recently, the Forum published the Design Professional’s
Guide to Construction Law, which focuses on laws applica-
ble to design professionals. Construction Defects provides a
framework for analyzing issues in the frequently changing
landscape of construction defects. Whether the need is for
a quick study of federal, state, or local construction project
issues; construction insurance; alternative dispute resolution;
or construction contracts, the Forum offers practical guides
to help in-house counsel get up to speed.
Forum periodicals keep in-house counsel abreast of
emerging trends in construction law. The Construction
Lawyer provides in-depth, scholarly analysis of the legal
implications of construction industry issues, while Under
Construction offers practical guidance on current legal topics.
Forum Benef‌its for In-House Counsel
The Forum has been fortunate to have several in-house coun-
sel serve in leadership positions and to otherwise contribute
their time and talent to help us “build the best construc-
tion lawyers.” We continue to solicit their input into how
the Forum can address the needs of in-house counsel. This
column highlighted some of the Forum resources and how
they translate into value for in-house counsel. Stay tuned for
future columns addressing other benets of Forum mem-
bership to in-house practitioners.
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, AL.
Arlan D. Lewis
By Arlan D. Lewis
The Forum: Providing Valuable
Resources to In-House Counsel

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