In this age of awareness about diversity and inclusion in the work place, now could not be a better time to have our own ASID Industry Partner Kristine Kubes at the helm of the American Bar Association’s (ABA) Forum on Construction Law. She is making history by being the first solo/small law firm and the sixth female lawyer to lead the Forum in its 43 year history. She is currently serving a year as Chair-Elect and will begin her service as Forum Chair in September 2019. Click here to read the full press release: https://www.kubeslaw.com/kubes-in-the-news/news1/   

She was also recently featured in the Minneapolis/St. Paul Star Tribune business section. Click here to read more: http://www.startribune.com/incoming-head-of-aba-construction-law-forum-talks-industry-changes/509093442/

Design Directions recently sat down with Kubes to discuss her upcoming role, what the Forum is, and why it was created. Founded in 1976, the Forum is the largest organization of construction lawyers in the world.[1] The Forum’s mission is to build better construction lawyers so they can serve their clients well. This statement from the ABA’s website describes their mission and who they represent; “Members of the Forum represent all segments of the construction industry: owners, design professionals, general contractors, construction managers, subcontractors, suppliers, insurers and sureties. The Forum’s mission is to serve the construction industry through education and leadership.”[2]

The Forum has 14 divisions that allow construction lawyers to grow in their knowledge of their particular practice area: 1) Litigation & Dispute Resolution, 2) Contract Documents, 3) Design, 4) Project Delivery Methods and Construction Technology, 5) General Contractors, 6) Labor & Employment, 7) Insurance, Surety & Liens, 8) International Construction, 9) Subcontractors and Suppliers, 10) Transportation, Energy & Environment, 11) Corporate Counsel, 12) Owners and Project Finance, 13) Government Construction, and 14)Young Lawyers.[3] 

During her year as Forum Chair, Kubes will be in charge of five educational programs:

  • 2019 Fall Meeting in Philadelphia – Summit on Inclusion, Diversity, and Professionalism in Construction, Design, and Law (1.5-day program)
  • 2019 Regional Program – Sticks & Bricks (technical construction education for lawyers) (1-day program)
  • 2020 Midwinter Meeting – Focus on Risk in the New Decade (1.5-day program)
  • 2020 Trial Academy for construction lawyers (3-day program)
  • 2020 Annual Meeting – Focus on Project Management (2-day program)

Kubes has selected teams of Forum lawyers to develop each of these programs with her. Each team consists of two co-chairs and a liaison from the Forum Governing Committee. Kubes, who has a passion for fostering people’s growth in leadership, said the program planning process is a challenging time-commitment, but a very rewarding experience for all of the team members involved to develop what starts as an idea into a successful continuing education program.

Kubes is particularly hopeful about the Fall Program, entitled “Building a Better Construction Industry through Inclusion, Diversity and Professionalism.” This program will be a first in the Forum’s history – and that of the ABA. Kubes explained the business case for inclusion: Companies can manage risk and maximize employee engagement by cultivating a respectful workplace culture. This program will assist companies in understanding how to reduce the effects of implicit bias that can harm workplace culture. She hopes that this conference will help lead to heightened awareness of the need for respect for and inclusion of all peoples in the industries of construction, design, and law.

Forum lawyers like Kubes provide advocacy and legal resources for the design community through books and articles on construction law from all sides of the construction relationship. In addition, the Forum regularly commits significant resources to legal scholarships to allow diverse and in-house construction lawyers — from design and construction firms — to attend Forum meetings, gain legal education, and strengthen their practice.

Bringing the benefit of her work for the Forum closer to home, Kubes and other Forum colleagues have formed an independent non-profit corporation called “Building for Good Inc.,” a volunteer network of construction lawyers who will provide free construction law services for non-profits and charities in states around the nation.[4] Kubes explained, “By providing pro bono legal services, Building for Good will help non-profits and charities alike dedicate more of their dollars to their missions, rather than legal fees.” Minnesota is one of four pilot states. Kubes is leading the formation and outreach here in Minnesota. Other pilot states include New Jersey, Massachusetts and Florida.

Moving forward, we are pleased to announce that Kristine Kubes will be providing a quarterly column in Design Directions with advice for the ASID design community on business practices, including contracts, ethics, risk management, and insurance. 

Kristine A. Kubes, kristine@kubeslaw.com, is an attorney and principal of the Kubes Law Office, PLLC, Serving Design and Construction Professionals.  She is an ASID Industry Partner, incoming national Chair of the ABA Forum on Construction Law, and former Chair of the Minnesota Board of Architecture, Engineering, Land Surveying, Landscape Architecture, Geoscience & Interior Design. This article does not constitute legal advice.  Each case must be evaluated on its own facts.