Report on the Annual Forum on Construction Law

MarkCobb at the ABA Construction Law Seminar

By Mark A. Cobb

As an active participant in the American Bar Association’s Forum on the Construction Industry, I already knew what a terrific experience the Annual Meeting would be; however, this year’s meeting truly exceeded all expectations.

About 300 – 400 construction attorneys from across the country convened at the conference to learn, teach, discuss, network and enjoy themselves. It’s a wonderful opportunity to see colleagues, discuss pending cases, and develop new legal theories. This year was particularly fascinating since I am one of the editors of the forth-coming 50-State Lien Law publication; the Annual Meeting gave the other two-editors and me an opportunity to meet in person, and I was also able to meet many of the contributors face-to-face.

Also, the Annual Meeting provides very timely and informative learning sessions enabling me to earn my full year’s continuing legal education credit! Although I tried to post a little bit on face book, here’s a list of some of the informative legal sessions which I attended:

  • The Construction Lawyer’s Role Before and After a Crises Strikes
  • When Bad Things Happen to Good People – Defending Design Professionals in Disciplinary Proceedings
  • How to Draft Effective Construction Contract Insurance Provisions
  • Helping Your Client Set Up a Pre-Bid Risk Assessment System
  • Joint Defense & Liquidating Agreements in Construction Litigation
  • You Can’t Take my Equipment – Extraordinary Rimes Call for Extraordinary Measures
  • Cross-Examination of a Scheduling Expert
  • Bytes & Drones – Opportunities and Challenges at the New Frontiers of Construction Law
  • E-Discovery and Other Emerging Issues
  • Public-Private Partnerships

It may be hard to believe, but at the ABA’s Construction Forum attendees actually want to attend most sessions as the speakers are so engaging and the topics are so educational. It would be difficult to chose the “best” presentation, but I particularly enjoyed The Construction Lawyer’s Role Before and After a Crises. Needless to say, crises can strike at any time without warning, so it can be crucial to be prepared and have a contingency plan.  This amazing session included three speakers–one construction lawyer, one prominent journalist, and one airline lawyer. Having the airline attorney’s perspective was amazing since they have to be prepared for a significant crises virtually every day. They train thoroughly for every type of crises including bankruptcy, emergency landings, deaths, and missing planes. Thus, we learned from an industry leader how to better manage crises as well as how the medie can help mitigate some of the damages which might result from a poorly handled crises.

American Bar Association

In the session on drafting effective insurance provisions, there was discussion of all types of insurance which our clients may need to consider including common insurance such as Worker’s Compensation, CGL, automobile and Builder’s Risk Insurance as well as atypical insurances such as Professional Liability, Pollution Liability, Subcontractor Default Liability, Directors & Officers Insurance, Workplace Violation Insurance, Kidnapping & Ransom Insurance, etc.

In addition to a great learning experience and a seeing my fellow construction attorneys, it was great to socialize and meet other attorneys from across the country. There was a breakfast speaker who discussed nutrition, a civil-right’s attorney gave a luncheon talk, and there was a fundraiser for a museum.

Every year, I look forward to the annual meeting, and I can’t wait for next years!

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