MSBA's Special Committee on Construction Law has scheduled a meet-and-greet event for September 23, in Annapolis. It will be their first event of the 2010-2011 term but the Committee, ratified by the Board of Governors in November 2009, has worked hard the last few months to establish their events with MSBA members.
At the Association's Annual Meeting, Michael Pappas, a Committee council member, recalls their 8:00 a.m. education session being filled to capacity, with chairs and attendants expanding into the hallway. To Pappas, the scene accurately depicted what he called a real need and real interest in Construction Law today.
The Committee will extend their outreach to lawyers this year based on that need and interest, all in the hopes of culminating the 2010-2011 term as a Section.
The first extension reaches to the annual Advanced Real Estate Institute, held by MSBA's Real Property Law Section in November. Michael W. Skojec, the Committee chair, and Pappas will present a segment on Construction Law topics affecting Real Estate law. The session will discuss bankruptcy and other issues.
Then, after the New Year, the Committee plans to host a program about alternative dispute resolution, which is where most Construction Law cases go as opposed to trial.
A desk book on Construction Law is also being prepared. The publication is a reference guide for attorneys foreign to the field. Pappas says the book was designed to be a "good starting point to handle Construction Law." Joseph Kovars, a Committee member, is the lead editor on the project and many state attorneys will contribute. The Committee intends to publish the book through MSBA's Continuing Legal Education department (www.msba.org/departments/education/).
Though interest and education is growing, the Committee understands and accepts that the number of attorneys practicing in Construction Law is small. The Committee's goal is to make that group operate as efficiently as possible.
During the 2010 State Legislative season the Committee tracked every bill that dealt with Construction Law in any way. Pappas said that totaled to several hundred bills. Their website (www.msba.org/sec_comm/committees/constructionlaw/) displayed the updated reports each week. This service will continue and become an exclusive member benefit once the Committee becomes a Section.
"We want to provide the most up-to-date information so we can serve our clients better and serve our part in the Justice System," said Pappas.
Committee members said there are over 100 attorneys registered with the Committee's LinkedIn page and over 180 attorneys in their electronic discussion group on the MSBA website. Committees are required to have at least 100 members before they obtain Section-status. As of this printing, the Construction Law Committee had 157 members. The Committee will be ratified as a Section at MSBA's Annual Meeting in June. The question is: how many more members will join after these events?