The Trusted Adviser
October 2013 | Volume 6 · Number 8


ATG Holds Ninth Annual Harold I. Levine Real Estate Institute

Honoring a Mentor and Friend

Peter J. Birnbaum photo

Many of you have already registered for our premier Legal Education event of the year, the Ninth Annual Harold I. Levine Real Estate Institute. As of this writing, more than two-thirds of the seats are reserved and more lawyers are registering every day — don't wait!

This year's program contains another list of heavy-hitting speakers and a topic that's so fresh it's still evolving: Welcome to the New World: ALTA Best Practices and CFPB.

Big changes are coming to your real estate and title practice. In the not too distant future, only those underwriters and agents who are Best Practices Compliant will be able to compete, as lenders and the federal government are demanding the highest levels of professional and ethical conduct to better safeguard the real estate and mortgage markets.

ATG agents should take comfort in the fact that we are ahead of the curve in learning and implementing American Land Title Association (ALTA) Best Practices, but it is essential that you get on board. This program will cover the basics on how to incorporate Best Practices and the new closing disclosure rules of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau into your practice.

We're bringing in experienced outside speakers from the highest ranks of ALTA and the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission as well as our tried and true staff speakers, many of whom have been working for months on defining, developing, and implementing new procedures at ATG to make us Best Practices compliant. We've devoted an entire section of our website to this far-reaching topic, the ALTA Best Practices Information Center, which is brimming with information and instructions. We've held eight live programs in three states (OnDemand version available), spoken at state-specific Land Title Association meetings — and now, the Harold Levine Institute.

The combination of my background as a lawyer, my role at ATG, and my seat on the ALTA Board of Directors give me unique perspective on these topics and the challenges facing the legal profession and the settlement services industry. If someone would have told me twenty-five years ago that we'd be facing some of the issues we face today, I would have dismissed it as an overreaction. Instead, now I find myself talking to fellow members of the bar, particularly younger lawyers, the way some of my early mentors talked to me, cautioning about the dangers of the unauthorized practice of law, the woes of certain types of regulation, the far-reaching effects when clients' interests get lost in the mix.

Harold I. Levine, 1931 - 2003Harold Levine was one such mentor, that's why it's fitting that these weighty topics are covered on the program bearing his name. Harold has been gone from us since 2002, but a week doesn't go by when I don't think of him — for many reasons, but especially in the current climate of real estate law. He was of those people who, if you're lucky enough to meet him, you never forget him. A lawyer's lawyer, he was a towering figure in the profession — Harold stood six-foot five and weighed in at a graceful 260 — yet he was unassuming and unpretentious. I owe a great deal of my professional success to Harold's kindness and support.

Harold practiced law in Chicago from the late 1950s until the early 2000s and was one of the most respected real estate lawyers in Chicago. I was lucky to have him as a friend and mentor. He was one of the strongest supporters ATG has ever known.

Harold sought knowledge and wisdom, shared what he gained, and encouraged others to do the same. His legacy includes lawyers who are better advocates and who give back to their communities.

He was a respected and much-loved attorney who brought enthusiasm and insight into the practice of real estate law. He devoted thousands of pro bono hours to indigent defendants, particularly in housing-related matters. He published more than 60 articles and spoke at more than 70 seminars and Continuing Legal Education programs to lawyers in 25 states and five countries.

Harold was a great friend to this organization and to many of the people in it. To honor his memory, we established this forum in 2004, annual programs that cover critical issues facing real estate lawyers and promote his philosophy on the law and life — enlightened attorneys for the benefit of their clients, society, and the bar. Join us November 7. I look forward to seeing you there.

Peter J. Birnbaum
ATG President and Chief Executive Officer

Register Now for the Ninth Annual Harold I. Levine Institute:
November 7, 2013 | The UBS Tower, Chicago
After the Program: Annual Update from the CEO and ATG Shareholders' Meeting
Followed by drinks and appetizers

[Last update: 10-31-13]

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