Comments from the Chair

AuthorBy Arlan D. Lewis
THE CONSTRUCTION LAWYER4 Volume 41, Issue 4, 2022
The Forum is particularly
focused on (1) increasing the
value of the Forum to our in-
house counsel members, (2)
attracting new in-house coun-
sel to Forum membership and
participation, and (3) helping
in-house counsel gain support
from their executive team for
Forum involvement. Consistent with this focus, in my
last column, I addressed the signicant benet to in-house
counsel of access to a wide variety of quality Forum
resources through our programs and publications.
In this column, I’ll discuss what is, in my experience,
the most frequently noted value of Forum involvement to
in-house counsel members: the value of a unique world-
wide network of construction lawyers and consultants.
As the largest organization of construction lawyers glob
ally, the Forum is uniquely positioned to offer in-house
counsel the most extensive and valuable network of legal
professionals in the world.
A Fantastic Network of Professionals
I cannot count the number of times I’ve had conversations
with in-house counsel members who extoll the virtues of
their Forum network. Whether they need counsel in a
particular jurisdiction or a consultant with a specic area
of expertise, or they need to talk with a fellow Forum in-
house counsel colleague about how they’ve dealt with a
particular challenge (legal or otherwise), they have real-
ized signicant value from their Forum membership. The
last two years have reminded us of the importance of per-
sonal relationships and connections. It has also opened
our eyes to new ways of developing relationships virtually.
The Forum is well-suited to provide access to a fantastic
network of professionals both in person and virtually. As
with any network, its value to an individual is based upon
the relevance of those in the network and the effort of
the individual to build relationships within the network
and utilize the network.
The Forum division structure provides in-house
counsel with a solid starting point for gaining access to
substantive information related to a particular subject
matter and identifying lawyers who practice in that area
of expertise. Membership in the Forum’s In-House Coun-
sel Division (Division 11) is strictly limited to in-house
counsel and serves as a space for candid discussion and
camaraderie. The Forum offers 12 additional substantive
divisions focused on topics (e.g., labor and employment,
construction technology, government construction,
insurance, etc.) and addresses the special interests of con-
struction industry participants (e.g., owners, designers,
general contractors, subcontractors, etc.). In-house coun-
sel members can tailor their Forum experience to areas of
interest most closely aligned with their scope of practice.
Likewise, they have an extensive network of lawyers with
expertise in the areas that may be less familiar to them.
One of the most frequent inquiries from in-house
counsel members begins with, “I need a construction
lawyer in . . . .” I’m admittedly biased, but I’d challenge
anyone to nd a more comprehensive global network of
construction lawyers and consultants. Not only can one
always nd several Forum lawyers to consult with but
those Forum lawyers also have access to other valuable
professional networks.
A Value Greater Than the Sum of Its Parts
Sometimes it’s difcult to gauge the “value” of a profes-
sional network when it doesn’t initially appear to correlate
directly to the “bottom line.” Accordingly, some in-house
counsel may believe that it will be challenging to dem-
onstrate the value of the Forum network to gain the full
support of their organization’s executive business team.
What is the value of nding the right lawyer, in the
right jurisdiction, with the right level of expertise? What
is the value of being able to pick up the phone and call a
Forum colleague whom you know and trust to ask about
a particular issue in their jurisdiction that prompts you
to tweak the language in a contract to protect your com-
pany? What is the value of gaining insight about opposing
counsel or their experience with a particular mediator or
arbitrator? What is the value of having a network of other
in-house construction counsel who may have dealt with,
or be dealing with, unique issues that your company is
presently facing? I believe there is tremendous value in
such circumstances.
Another aspect of Forum network value that is dif-
cult to quantify relates to how we deal with one other in
professional matters. I am frequently relieved to discover
that a Forum colleague is involved in a matter, even if we
are adverse to each other. First, I am comforted in know-
ing that he or she knows construction law. If you’ve ever
handled a construction matter with an adversary who
doesn’t understand construction law, you know what I
mean. Second, and most importantly, I expect (and have
experienced) an enhanced level of professionalism in how
Arlan D. Lewis
By Arlan D. Lewis
Value of the Forum for In-House
Counsel, Part II: Our Global Network
continued on page 10
Published in
The Construction Lawyer
, Volume 41, Number 4. © 2022 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.

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