Friday, November 22, 2019

Welcome to the ACREL News & Notes!  It is published throughout the year and features articles on substantive areas, noteworthy cases and hot topics, upcoming meetings, ACRELive presentations and Fellow and local ACREL events.


We welcome your suggestions!  Send ideas to David Gordon,

--ACREL Communications Committee


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If you prefer a printable version of the News & Notes click here.



Montreal.  Wow!  296 Fellows and 134 guests attended the October meeting in Montreal, making it one of the best attended in ACREL’s history.  And by all accounts it was a successful meeting, indeed.  Thanks to Jack Fersko, Sheila Nolan Gartland, Janet Johnson and other Programs Committee leadership, and the leaders of the Program in Montreal – Adam Weissburg, Neil Johnston, Cheryl Kelly, Brian Crist.  And, of course, the Meetings Committee folks and Julie and Caitlin. And the Committee Chairs who had meetings and activities in Montreal. Well done, y’all!


Some unfinished business . . . at Saturday’s business meeting, I thanked a ton of folks (including those above).   I did not thank the one person who, from my corner of this, deserves the heartiest thanks – my wife of almost 42 years, Jenger. So, keeping it short and sweet, I thank my partner who is, and always has been, there in all things and without whom I would not even consider tackling a position like President of this extraordinary organization.  Thank you, sweetheart!


To read the rest of Steve's Message, click here.





Carl Circo's book on construction law, Contract Law in the Construction Industry Context, was published by Routledge Press in October. Congratulations!




ACREL Past President, John Daniels Jr., of Quarles & Brady LLP, was elected chair of the Advocate Aurora Health board of directors. Daniels’ term runs through April 2022. He has gained recognition for his involvement in various civic organizations, including serving on the board of Chicago United and as chair of the Greater Milwaukee Committee. He also founded the Milwaukee Fellowship Open, which provides support to academically talented African American young men in Wisconsin to prepare them to graduate from college and for career success.


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In September, Immediate Past President, Jay Epstien, participated in a charity event for the ANNIKA Foundation, which supports women golfers around the world.  Pictured above is Jay with Annika Sorenstam, the greatest female golfer of all time.




Leslee Lewis has been named a “Woman Worth Watching” by Profiles in Diversity Journal.  The 18th Annual Women Worth Watching leadership issue recognizes dynamic professional women who are using their talents and influence to change our workplaces and our world. Nominated by their employers or colleagues, these accomplished executives are from corporate organizations, world-class educational institutions, the armed forces, and nonprofit groups.





Carl H. Lisman, of Lisman Leckerling, P.C., was elected President of the Uniform Law Commission at its 128th Annual Meeting, which recently concluded in Anchorage, Alaska. He will serve for two years.  The ULC is an organization comprising more than 350 practicing attorneys, judges, law professors, legislators and other state officials to draft and promote enactment of uniform laws that are designed to solve problems common to all the states.  Commissioners donate their time as a pro bono public service.




New Fellow, Nancy Lundeen received Connect Media's Women in Real Estate Award, which honors women across the nation for the roles they play in the industry.




Jonathan L. Mechanic, of Fried, Frank, Shriver, Harris & Jacobson LLP, was honored on November 7 at The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s 24th annual Real Estate Council Benefit.  “For the past four decades, Jon has distinguished himself as a true leader in our field,” said Mr. Brodsky, who is also Chairman of The Met. “In addition to his many achievements in the area of real estate transactions, he is an effective teacher and lecturer who regularly shares his extensive knowledge and insights with students and younger members of his profession. He also serves the community by generously donating his time to many philanthropic organizations. Through his example, he has demonstrated a deep understanding of the importance of education, which is the very essence of this award.”




Rick Spencer was honored on September 26 for outstanding contributions to the Houston Alumni and Youth (HAY) Center. The center is a public/private partnership that provides support and services to current and former foster youth, including transition coaching, life skills classes, summer jobs and transition housing. Rick is a former board chair and has been an advocate for foster youth (when they hit 18 they are on their own...which one of us was ready for that when WE hit 18?) in Harris County.




Susan Talley, has been named to the New Orleans Business Alliance Board of Directors. The firm shared the announcement in a press release.  The New Orleans Business Alliance is one of 62 International Economic Development Council accredited economic development organizations worldwide. Formed in 2010 through a coalition of business and civic leaders to employ the best practices in economic development, the New Orleans Business Alliance aims to position New Orleans as the ideal intersection of commerce and culture.




Congratulations to Connie Simmons Taylor, of Baker Botts, who will be honored on December 11 at Houston's Inaugural Power Women event.  The event honors the most influential women in commercial real estate.


Have you recently received an award?  Been published?  Presented at a conference?  

Share with us today on the ACREL LinkedIn group!



ACREL Gatherings



Florida Fellows met in Miami on November 6, 2019.  Organized by Lee Weintraub to encourage outstanding candidate nominations, the Florida Fellows engaged in a robust discussion including opportunities to diversify the College, and then retired to enjoy dinner and comradery! Attendees included (front row) Gisela Munoz, Marty Schwartz, Bill Sklar (Governor), Peggy Rolando (Outgoing Governor) and Manny Farach. (Back row) Michael Gelfand, Lee Weintraub, Jim Russick, Drew O'Malley, George Meyer and Art Menor (Governor). Others in attendance were Willie Kightlinger and Steve Mezer.



All is Fair in Love and Real Estate: Exploring Fair Market Value Provisions

December 4 @ 1:00 pm EST 

Call-in number: (877) 549-4581
Conference Code: 4778636707


Fair market value provisions are an integral part of many real estate transactions, including leases, joint ventures and option agreements. Panelists will review the spectrum of fair market value provisions in a variety of deals, and will discuss best practices, common pitfalls and current market approaches. This program will also look to the future and explore trends and new ideas for determining fair market, including through the use of technology and evolving methods of dispute resolution.



David Harrison Kremer, Shartsis Friese LLP, San Francisco, CA
David C. Silver, Holland & Knight LLP, Washington, DC



Pamela L. Westhoff, Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP, Los Angeles, CA




Closing Protection Letters - Some Pitfalls for the Unwary
Orlando Lucero, Fidelity National Title Group, Albuquerque, NM

While most practitioners know generally about closing protection letters (CPLs) (sometimes called insured closing letters or ICLs), many practitioners are not sufficiently familiar with the terms and conditions of CPLs to understand the complexities that are involved. This article briefly highlights some issues worthy of note. Absent a CPL, a lender or other party may not be willing to close a transaction with a closing agent or attorney, because of the concern that such agent might steal the money entrusted to them or otherwise fail to follow instructions.    READ MORE >>


An Alphabetical Smattering of Ethics Issues for ACREL Members
Michael H. Rubin, McGlinchey Stafford, Baton Rouge, LA
Covering topics including artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, "ethics rule" against discrimination and harassment, mindfulness and the paperless office, here is a quick dive into some of today's most relevant ethics topics.   READ MORE >>



Privacy in the Drone Zone – Success for the Amicus and Public Policy Committee
 As you know, this past year the Amicus Committee officially became the Amicus and Public Policy Committee. Its mandate was broadened to now include public policy. In its initial entrance into the public policy arena, the committee found itself facing down drones. Drones are a recent, but extremely valuable contributor to the quality of life. They have made surveying easier and more cost effective. Drones can do boundary, topographic, 3D and photographic surveys with accuracies to 1 cm when using state of the art equipment.    READ MORE >>



The article below is part of an ongoing project of the Acquisitions Committee, undertaking a comprehensive survey of the law relative to enforceability of liquidated damages clauses and alternative remedies in purchase and sale agreements.


Liquidated Damages in Iowa
Kathleen K. Law, Nyemaster Goode, P.C., Des Moines, IA

It is common for parties to commercial real estate purchase and sale agreements to include a liquidated damages provision, usually for a breach of the PSA by the buyer. There are not very many Tennessee cases addressing the enforceability and effect of liquidated damages provisions in PSA's and of the few that do, some are quite old. Most of the recent Tennessee cases addressing liquidated damages involved employment agreements. This article will explore a variety of issues that are or could be presented by liquidated damages provisions in PSA's.  READ MORE >>



Read all of the articles from this and past issues of News & Notes here.




ACREL is fortunate to have seventeen sponsors for 2019.  Their support defrays the cost of the ACREL Directory and helps to support other initiatives of the College.   Many ACREL Fellows already work with one or more of our Sponsors.  If you do, please take a minute to thank your contact at the Sponsor for their support.  If not, take this opportunity to become familiar with their products and services.       


If you need additional contact information for any Sponsor, contact Julie Burgess in the ACREL office at or (310) 816-9811 and she can provide phone and email contact for each of our sponsors.


GOLD SPONSOR: CODA Consulting Group



Contact: Connie Hennersdorf | 972-849-4851 |

Recognizing that clients would no longer tolerate the historical model of traditional due diligence firms - impersonal relationships and reluctance to embrace and utilize technology to name a few - an innovative methodology for the new economy was born. CODA has a nationwide network of more than 35 staff and consultants to serve our clients on individual projects and portfolios. They run projects with teams of licensed professionals possessing the specific expertise required for each project






Share your pictures from Montreal!


As reported by Steve, a great time was had by all in Montreal!  With such great turnout, we know that you captured lots of great memories on your phone or cameras.  Please send pictures to to add them to the ACREL vault.  Thank you!




























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