Stephen Henning, Founding Partner, Wood Smith Henning & Berman LLP
Phyllis Modlin, Executive Claims Specialist, Construction Claims, Markel
QUESTION: The CLM Construction Conference will be in-person this year (Sept. 22-24). Tell us a bit about the location, and the importance of bringing everyone together after a year of virtual conferences.
A: Due to popular demand, we are returning to San Diego for what will be the largest in-person conference squarely focused on all issues impacting construction exposures since the onset of the pandemic. We know people are worn out from an overabundance of virtual programming and the limitations from participating virtually. This environment will allow attendees to actively participate during and after cutting-edge sessions to learn emerging trends while networking with the sharpest minds in the industry.
Let’s be clear: The past year plus has completely changed not only the construction field, but also how general counsel, claims professionals, and attorneys practice. People will leave with best practices and truly current information, which they will be able to implement in their practice. As a bonus, all networking sessions and breaks will provide opportunities for the crowd to gather outdoors, framed by stunning views of the harbor.
Q: What are some of the COVID-19-related safety precautions that will be in place at the conference?
A: There are so many developments, seemingly daily. We are sure this will change by the time of the conference. Safety and best practices will be the North Star, with guidance provided by the state, of course. At this time, we contemplate basic precautions—distance, masks, and hand-sanitizing stations are currently top of mind. Hopefully, vaccinations and other metrics will bring us full circle to a conference reminiscent of the last time we were in San Diego. Regardless, attendees can expect safety first while providing a great location and opportunities to connect.
Q: What are some of the topics you are most looking forward to hearing about during this year’s sessions?
A: Truly, the topics are varied and cover all aspects of the industry. How juries will react following the pandemic is top of mind for everyone. To this end, hearing from the leading jury consultants, trial lawyers, and claims managers on nuclear verdicts and social inflation will absolutely be standing-room only in terms of popularity.
Hearing directly from judges from all corners of the nation is always a highlight. And with growing focus on infrastructure, that presentation will definitely be popular.
Lessons from the pandemic and impact on practices and protocols going forward will certainly be a common thread in many sessions. For us, knowing the emerging trends that are developing and that impact coverages, theories of liability, and damages are game changers for those leading firms, practice groups, claims departments, or providing risk management or general counsel to developers, general contractors, design professionals, and subcontractors nationally.
Q: With everyone getting back together, there will no doubt be a lot of excitement around the networking opportunities and activities. What can attendees expect?
A: Annually, we receive feedback that this conference knocks it out of the park on content. Solid academically, yet engaging for those eager to learn and participate in roundtables. The agenda curated allows attendees to focus on tracks of coverage, claims, regions, trends and age-old problem issues. At the same time, San Diego provides opportunities for incredible networking outdoors framed by the Pacific Ocean and stunning San Diego coastline. This is a must-attend conference.