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Annual Report 2001-2002

By Robert A. Berlow, Section Chairperson, 2001-2002

Needless to say, this year started on a very somber and surrealistic note. The section held its annual meeting on September 12, 2001, the day following what was then considered an unimaginable event. Then, barely two weeks later, C. Robert Wartell, our friend and past chairperson of the section, passed away on September 24, 2001. Although these two events were on our collective minds throughout the year, the section persevered and continued to do what we do best, providing continuing legal education for our members and other real estate practitioners.

Our Continuing Legal Education (CLE) Chairperson, Patrick A. Karbowski, coordinated this year's CLE activities and, together with Ronald Daniels, the Chair of the 2001-2002 Homeward Bound Series, and Brian P. Henry, the Chair of our Summer Conference, the section implemented new and innovative program formats. I want to thank each of them for all of their hard work and efforts to make last year a CLE success.

We began the year with the Section's program at the State Bar's Annual Meeting in Lansing, which was chaired by David Pierson. At the program, Kevin T. Smith made a presentation on The New Foreclosure Provisions for Property Tax and David E. Nykanen presented a topic entitled, Transfers After Proposal A: Loss of the Cap on Taxable Value.

The Homeward Bound series which began in October 2001 and continued on a monthly basis through May 2002 included the following topics and speakers:

  • Condemnation for the Transigator: A Transactional and Litigation Overview—presented by David W. Barry, Alan S. Levine, and Thomas J. McCarthy
  • Securities Law Aspects of Real Estate Transactions—What Every Real Estate Lawyer Needs to Know—presented by Charles W. Royer and Jeffrey A. Supowit
  • Telecommunications and Real Estate—presented by Gerald A. Fisher and Mark P. Krysinski
  • Commercial Projections: What You Need to Know About Construction Contracts and Liens—presented by Brian P. Henry and Matthew C. Norris
  • September 11: Rethinking Real Estate Issues in These Unsettling Times—introduced and presented by Robert A. Berlow, Michael S. Hale, Susan A. Kovach, Joel D. Kellman, Lawrence D. McLaughlin, Robert R. Nix II, Charles K. Watters, Jr., and Creighton J. Weber
  • New Urbanism: Innovative Concepts in Mixed Use Developments—presented by Robert Gibbs, Susan K. Friedlaender, J. Adam Rothstein, and Craig Schubiner
  • Emerging Issues in Electronic Transactions—presented by Howard A. Lax and Stephen L. Tupper
  • Update and Repairs on the Condominium Act—presented by Mark F. Makower and Susan Hlywa Topp

The section held its 27th Annual Summer Conference from July 17 through July 20, 2002, at the incomparable Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island. The conference, entitled Preparing for Both Profits and Problems, was well received and was attended by real estate practitioners from around the state. Breakfast roundtable discussions were held on both Thursday and Friday mornings and, in addition, the Friday morning topics were presented in a workshop format.

Set forth below are the topics and presenters at the summer conference:

  • How a Developer Evaluates the Feasibility of a Commercial Project: What Every Lawyer Should Know—presented by Peter Allen
  • Essential Title Endorsements: Why Obtained and How Do They Contribute to the Real Estate Transaction—presented by Dennis W. Hagerty


  • Buying Real Estate Out of Bankruptcy—presented by Lawrence M. Dudek and Vicki R. Harding
  • Corporate Real Estate Disposition Alternatives—presented by Steve Morris
  • Disaster Proofing Real Estate: Understanding the New World of Insurance and Risk Management—presented by John M. Roberts
  • Innovative ADR Strategies for Real Estate Transactions—presented by Asher N. Tilchin and Martin C. Weisman

Hot Tips

  • Electronic Closings and the Proposed Amendments to the Recording Statute—presented by Lawrence A. Mitchell and Harry S. Ellman
  • Current Zoning Issues for the Real Estate Practitioner—presented by Richard D. Rattner
  • Mold and Other Biohazards: Do You Really Want to Look For It? Liability Litigation and Insurance Issues—presented by Grant R. Trigger
  • Hot Topics in Residential and Condominium Real Estate—presented by David W. Charron

The section's special committees have been major contributors to the section's CLE efforts, as well as serving as a source for articles for the Michigan Real Property Review.

The Review, published under the supervision of the Publications Committee co-chaired this year by Vicki R. Harding and George J. Siedel, the Review's Editor, continues to be an invaluable resource for section members. The quarterly Review includes articles concerning proposed legislation and recent case decisions which impact the real estate practice. A cumulative article index of the Review through Volume 29 will be published in the Winter issue of the Review.

The Legislative Committee, chaired by Lawrence M. Dudek and comprised of representatives of the special committees has reviewed and responded to pending legislation throughout the year. Larry did an outstanding job this year in monitoring proposed legislation which would have an impact on our real estate practices. A review of the Volume 29 issues will provide the reader with a summary of the actions which were taken by the council during the year with respect to proposed legislation.

Community service is an important part of the section's mission and is performed by the section's Pro Bono Committee, chaired by Carol Ann Martinelli. From time to time, the committee has prepared brochures regarding common legal issues affecting a broad spectrum of the public. These brochures cover a variety of legal issues affecting the general population. For example, in 2001, the committee distributed a brochure entitled, Delinquent Property Taxes, in order to educate homeowners about the 1999 revisions to the tax lien foreclosure procedures. These brochures are distributed to legal services and human services agency offices throughout the state for further distribution to their respective constituents.

Finally, I want to thank all of my colleagues who served with me on the council this year, including: Vicki R. Harding, Chair-Elect; Lawrence M. Dudek, Vice Chairperson; Lisa Sommers Gretchko, Secretary; David W. Charron, Treasurer; C. Leslie Banas; Mary M. Fowlie; Susan K. Friedlaender; Patrick A. Karbowski; Mark F. Makower; Reuben A. Munday; Jerome P. Pesick; Lawrence R. Shoffner; George J. Siedel; and Wilfred A. Steiner. I also want to thank all of the former chairpersons of the section who continue to attend council meetings, provide advice and counsel, and remain involved in the section's activities.

The section is proud of its tradition of keeping its members apprised of recent developments by providing them with timely articles and programs through the publication of the Review and its CLE seminars. We cannot continue these endeavors without the volunteer efforts of our members, whom we encourage to become participants in the section's activities, either by joining a committee, serving as a program presenter, writing an article for the Review, or all the above. I guaranty you will meet many new friends while finding the experience most enjoyable.



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