Saturday, January 30, 2021

What's Up at Division 1 (No. 7)

 I am very happy to report that . . . 

A LOT is going on with DIVISION 1 in the start of 2021!  

We have used the occasion of the new year to launch and advance a number of initiatives and projects.  Thanks to the D1 Steering Committee members and our many volunteers for all of your hard work and diligence.  

Some of our updates are described in this monthly post. Contact me (rtdunn@Pierce if you have questions or would like to get involved.  

1. Division 1 Neutrals Directory 

Given that we are the litigation and dispute resolution division of the ABA Forum on Construction Law, we are lucky to have so many mediators, arbitrators, and other experienced project neutrals in our ranks.  

I am happy to announce that we started a directory of our D1 Neutrals.  The directory has 30+ D1 Neutrals on it now.  You can view it on The Dispute Resolver (new page created to host it), D1's ABA Connect page, and through the google sheets.  We will work to update it on a quarterly basis.  

We hope that you find this directory a helpful resource for your practice.  We invited our D1 Neutrals to submit their answers to be featured on our blog.  As those posts are generated, we will link them to the directory.  

If you want to be added to the Division 1 Neutrals Directory, please fill out the form below:


2. Launch of D1's Toolbox Talk Series (TTS)

Last year, we missed meeting up with each other in April at the Annual Meeting in Seattle, in June for the planning retreat in Jackson, October for the Fall Meeting in Memphis, and this month (January) for the Midwinter Meeting in San Diego.  

While we miss the CLEs and other organized events, perhaps more so we lost the opportunity for casual conversations during breaks, in the exhibitor hall, and at the hotel bar.  During those conversations, we talk about our cases, our law firms, and other challenges/successes of our professional (and sometimes personal) lives.  We wanted to find a mechanism where we can take that informal conversations and information sharing back home with us in a short, focused program.  

We turned over this concept to Jade Davis and a group of excellent committee members to implement last year.  After a number of planning calls, they developed a name, a logo, and a schedule to put on these programs every month in 2021 and perhaps beyond!  Below is our information flyer about the TTS programs:

On January 28, Division 1 held its first Toolbox Talk Series about Early Dispute Resolution with a focus on In-House Counsel.  We partnered up with Division 11 (In-House Counsel) for the TTS.  Below was the flyer for the event:

Along with our 50+ participants, we had an excellent substantive discussion about early dispute resolution.  Brian Neuffer set the table for us with a case study where EDR was successfully implemented during a project.  Thereafter, Brian and Daya Naef artfully guided the discussion and conversation from attendees.  

What was cool was that there were contemporaneous conversations happening verbally and in writing (through the chat) during the program.  The chat room enabled much more participant engagement than a normal program could provide.  

One key takeaway that I had from the program was that there is a perception that early dispute resolution is much more likely to occur if both sides of a potential dispute have in-house counsel.  Right or wrong, there is a perception that involvement of outside counsel raises the stakes and could lead to more adversity than compromise.  Many parties agreed that further education of owners regarding the value of early dispute resolution could go a long way.  

While the conversation could have gone on much longer, we followed through on our promise and we concluded the program promptly after 30 minutes. 

If you were not able to join us for our January TTS, please consider joining us next month for the next TTS on

Using Experts in Mediation: What Works and What's Different? 

February 25, 2021 at 12:30PM


This program will explore how advocates and neutrals can best use experts to assist in resolving or narrowing the issues in construction disputes. Panelists and attendees will offer examples of how experts can bring technical, emotion-free perspectives to the ADR process that the neutral and advocates lack and need to understand and weigh the risks of competing claims.  

Patricia Thompson and David Ponte will lead the discussion for us.  We are starting 30 minutes after our regular time to accommodate other Forum programing during the Forum's first virtual construction law conference.  

3. Forum's First Virtual Construction Law Conference - Feb. 24-26, 2021

Cassidy Rosenthal, our immediate past chair, is Co-Chairing the Forum's First Virtual Construction Law Conference.  The program is designed for all attorneys and law students who have an interest in construction law.  It blends the Forum's fabulous Fundamentals of Construction Law program in the morning sessions followed by topical and engaging CLEs in the afternoon.  View the Brochure for the program.  

In addition to the CLEs, there will be a complimentary welcome reception for networking, numerous social events (comedy, trivia, cooking), exhibitor rooms, and wellness rooms.  Check out the brochure for registration information.  Space is limited for the social events so sign up as soon as possible!


On Thursday, February 25th at 3PM, Division 1 is partnering up with Division 7 and Division 9 for a virtual escape room.  We will be placed into random teams and tasked with progressing through an escape room. Winners will be announced at the conclusion of the program.  

Michael R. Martin
We are very lucky to have Michael Martin from LitCon sponsor this event for us. This will reduce the cost of registration for our members.  

Be on the lookout very soon for registration information for this special joint event by Divisions 1, 7, and 9!  Space is limited for this program.

4. What's Next? 

Division 1 has some fun and interesting projects in the works for 2021.  These include topical distance learning program in March/April, providing author/speaking opportunities for our members, and more social events.  

At the very least, know that if you join Division 1 (Litigation & Dispute Resolution), you will gain A LOT of value out of your membership.  At a minimum, we will have the following two events every month

  • Division Planning Call - Second Monday of the Month at 3PM ET
  • D1's Toolbox Talk Series - Fourth Thursday of the Monday at 12PM ET (except for this February @12:30PM 

The monthly planning call is a good opportunity to learn what we are working on, what the Forum is up to, and to bring your ideas/suggestions.  

Please join us and get engaged!  Who knows, you may get a D1 branded DeskCrumbee for raising your hand and lending your perspective! 

D1 Steering Committee Member Rob Ruesch with his Crumbee

Thank you and I look forward to working with you all throughout the balance of this year!  

Chair, Division 1 (Litigation & Dispute Resolution)

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