As many of you know, I am involved in the ABA Forum on the Construction Industry, which is the largest organization of construction lawyers in the United States and abroad.  The mid-winter meeting is coming up on January 20, 2011 in New York City.  The one-day conference focus is “Do You Think it’s Alright? Pushing the ADR Envelope.” You can register online here.

Don’t know much about the Forum?  Never been to a Forum conference?  Don’t think it is worth your time or money?  Ask me, What do you get out of the Forum, Matt?  Go ahead, ask me!  I will tell you:

  1. An opportunity to take your practice to the next level.  Although I had been a member of this ABA group since I graduated from law school, I did not get involved for the first 8 years of my career.  Yep, I paid annual dues and did not go to one single conference. Call it an expensive newsletter subscription!  Then, in 2006 one of my partners challenged me to get involved or get out.  That decision four years ago was one of the catalysts to take my practice to the next level.  I made commitment to attend at least one conference a year, establish relationships within the industry, and get involved in the Forum’s work.  In the years since, I’ve had tremendous speaking and writing opportunities.
  2. An opportunity to meet and work with the top construction lawyers in the nation. Once I jumped into the Forum’s activities, primarily by joining one of its twelve divisions, I began to meet many of the “construction lawyer greats” who I had read about in various construction publications (like construction-writing-guru Patrick O’Connor) or who acted as an arbitrator in multi-million dollar disputes (like dispute-arbitrating-Superman Adrian Bastianelli). I am honored to have worked with some of the top construction lawyers who I have met through the Forum.
  3. An opportunity to contribute to the construction industry.  Contrary to what my wife thinks, we do a lot more than travel, eat and drink at Forum events.  The first year I got involved in the Forum, I volunteered to coordinate and help publish Division 10’s Construction Law Update, which was a compilation of case law and legislation affecting the construction industry.  That first year we had contributions from 35 states.  Fast forward to 2009-2010, and we had all 50 states, plus Puerto Rico, plus an update on environmental and federal legislation affecting the construction industry.  Below are copies you can download.


Download Construction Law Update 2006


Download Construction Law Update 2007


Download Construction Law Update 2008


Download Construction Law Update 2009


For the non-attorneys, thanks for your indulgence in reading this post.  Perhaps you can review what’s been happening in your state over the past few years on the construction legal front.

For the attorneys, now is the time to get involved.  Make the decision to get out of your comfort zone and meet some great construction lawyers and consultants by attending a Forum meeting, by joining a division, or by putting your name into the hat as an author or speaker.  You can even contribute to the 2010 Construction Law Update by sending me an email.  And don’t forget, the Forum is Twitter (@ABAConstruction) and LinkedIn.