American Bar Association
Forum on Construction Law: Diversity Committee

Forum on Construction Law:
Diversity Committee

Mission Statement

Promoting diversity in the profession shall be a priority of the Forum. The mission of the Forum’s Diversity Committee is to raise awareness and understanding among our members and others of the vital role diversity plays in the construction industry, both nationally and globally. The Diversity Committee’s mission includes enhancing participation, inclusion and leadership opportunities for attorneys of diverse backgrounds in Forum programs, publications and other initiatives. The Committee will also educate our membership on how diversity impacts the practice of construction law.

Forum Diversity Quick Facts

At every national meeting of the Forum, the Diversity Committee has presented a breakfast or luncheon featuring a nationally prominent speaker on some aspect of diversity and inclusion. Past speakers have included:

  • 2017 Fall meeting – Mary L. Bonauto, Civil Rights Project Director at GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), nationally renowned litigator who argued the case of Obergefell v. Hodges before the U.S. Supreme Court which legalized gay marriage in the United States, and advocate for LGBTQ rights;
  • 2017 Annual meeting – U.S. Senator Maggie Hassen, second woman in history to have served as both a Governor (New Hampshire) and a U.S. Senator, and advocate for disability rights;
  • 2017 Midwinter meeting – Dr. Steven Chu, Stanford University Professor, former U.S. Secretary of Energy, and Nobel Laureate;
  • 2016 Fall meeting – Robert J. Grey, Jr., President of Leadership Council on Legal Diversity and past President of the ABA;
  • 2016 Annual meeting – Paulette Brown, (then current) President of the ABA and the first woman of color to ever be elected President of the ABA;
  • 2016 Midwinter meeting – Carla Christopherson, former co-owner of the WNBA Los Angeles Sparks and Executive Vice President and General Counsel of the global design, construction, and management firm AECOM in Los Angeles;
  • 2015 Fall meeting – Kate Bergin, Curator and Speaker Coach for TEDx Manhattan Beach, California;
  • 2015 Annual meeting – Fred Gray, civil rights lawyer who worked alongside Martin Luther King, Jr. on voting rights and school integration, defended Rosa Parks after her refusal to give up her seat on a Montgomery city bus, sued the federal government on behalf of the men exploited by the Tuskegee, Alabama syphilis experiment, and the first African-American ever to be elected President of the Alabama Bar Association;
  • 2015 Midwinter meeting – Judge Bernice B. Donald of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, past Secretary of the ABA and the first African-American woman to serve as an officer in the history of the ABA and the first African-American President of the American Bar Foundation; and
  • 2014 Fall meeting – Kat Cole, President of Cinnabon, Inc. and former Hooters waitress.

Fall 2017 Meeting Diversity Speaker Mary Bonauto

Diversity Fellowships Now Available!

The Forum is Currently Seeking Diverse Construction Lawyers to Apply for Fellowships to be Awarded in the Spring of 2018

The Forum’s leadership has initiated a fellowship program for diverse construction lawyers with the goal of drawing diverse construction lawyers into the ranks of active, long-term Forum members. The Forum’s Diversity Fellowship is intended to identify diverse construction lawyers who have demonstrated interest in the Forum and are therefore potential candidates for future Forum leadership.

Currently, up to six (6) three-year Fellowships are awarded by the Forum each spring. Fellows receive the following benefits:

  • Waiver of all registration fees for the Forum’s Fall, Midwinter, and Annual Meetings;
  • Reimbursement of reasonable travel and accommodation expenses associated with attending the Forum’s Annual Meeting held each spring (not to exceed $1,500 per annum);
  • Waiver of Forum membership dues; and
  • Payment of ABA membership dues in the following amounts: 100% in Year 1; 66% in Year 2; and 33% in Year 3.

While all submitted applications will be considered, the ideal candidates will have between three (3) and twelve (12) years’ experience in construction law. Fellowship recipients are expected to attend the Forum’s Annual Meeting held April 11-13, 2018 in New Orleans, LA. The 2018 Diversity Fellowship application can be accessed here. Completed Fellowship applications must be received on or before Friday, January 26, 2018. The application deadline will not be extended.

If you have any questions about the Diversity Fellowship program, please contact:

  • Arlan D. Lewis (Chair, Diversity Fellowship Subcommittee)
  • Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP
  • One Federal Place
  • 1819 Fifth Avenue North
  • Birmingham, AL 35203-2119
  • Phone:205.521.8131

  • Diversity Scholarships Available to the Annual Meeting!

    The Forum is pleased to announce the availability of six (6) Diversity Scholarships for the cost of registration for the Annual meeting of the Forum April 11 – 13, 2018 at the Roosevelt New Orleans in New Orleans, LA for women and minority construction lawyers, construction lawyers with disabilities, and construction lawyers from the LGBT community. Individuals wishing to be considered for a scholarship should submit a copy of their resume and a letter describing their construction law practice and the reasons why they want to attend the Annual Meeting. The applications deadline is February 23, 2018. If selected, candidates must commit to attend the program. The scholarships are not transferable. The Diversity Scholarship includes:

    • Admission to the Program with waiver of the registration fee;
    • A set of Program course materials; and
    • Continental breakfast and lunch as noted in the meeting brochure.

    Applications for the scholarships should be sent to the Forum’s Diversity Committee Chair, David J. Theising, at If you have any questions, please contact Mr. Theising by email at or by calling him at 317-639-4511.

    Get Connected!

    Are You Hiring or Will You Be in the Future? Would You Like to be Connected with Attorney Candidates in Your Area?

    On August 4, 2017, the Forum had a booth at the Career Fair at the National LGBT Bar Association’s annual conference in San Francisco. The National LGBT Bar Association’s annual conference, referred to as the Lavender Law Conference, is the largest LGBT legal conference in the country, with typical attendance exceeding 1,500 people. Because the LGBT community crosses all racial, ethnic, and gender lines, and attendees at the conference come from all over the country, this Career Fair is an excellent opportunity to connect with diverse job seekers from all over the country. Forum Diversity Fellow Jessica Bogo and other Forum members were at the Forum’s booth collecting resumes and had candidates complete a short questionnaire regarding their geographical areas of interest, their background in construction (if any), and their legal research and writing experience. If you would like to receive resumes for the candidates in your area, please contact Jessica Bogo at

    Get in Free!

    Bring a Diverse First Timer to the Annual Meeting and You Both Get in Free!

    In order to encourage Forum members to recruit diverse lawyers to attend their first national meeting of the Forum, the Diversity Committee has established a new Member Bring a Diverse First Timer initiative. Under this program, the Forum will waive the registration fee for the first ten (10) Forum members who register for the Forum’s Annual Meeting and who also register and bring along a diverse lawyer to his or her first national meeting of the Forum (a “first timer”), whose registration fee will also be waived. It could be a diverse young associate in the member’s office or a diverse lawyer on the other side of a case. In order to take advantage of the initiative, the Forum member and the first timer must both commit to attend the program (offer limited to one per Forum member per bar year). For more information or to register, please contact Lisha Morris at



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    Modified by Christopher Ng on January 17, 2018

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