Professor Bill Breetz
Bill Breetz is a Connecticut Commissioner to the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws, a member of the Joint Editorial Board on Real Property Acts of the Uniform Laws Conference, and a member of the American College of Real Estate Lawyers. He is also of counsel to Levy & Droney, P.C., in Farmington, Connecticut. He is a
Breetz is the retired former President and Executive Director of the Connecticut Urban Legal Initiative (CULI). In his retirement, Breetz assists with many CULI projects. For many years he has represented a variety of profit and non-profit groups throughout Connecticut involved in housing and a broad range of other matters with public impact.
Breetz also served as a Reporter of the Uniform Laws Conference for the Uniform Condominium Act and the Uniform Common Interest Ownership Act (UCIOA). He chaired the study groups of the Law Revision Commission, which resulted in Connecticut’s 1983 adoption of UCIOA, and the 1995 Amendments to UCIOA. In 2003 and 2004 Breetz chaired the drafting committee for the Uniform Environmental Covenants Act.
He has been a member of the Connecticut Law Revision Commission since 1977 and chaired that Commission from 1980 to 1984. He has chaired several study groups of the Law Revision Commission considering other real estate laws.
Breetz was educated at Dartmouth College (B.A. 1963) and the University of Virginia Law School (L.L.B. 1968). He and his family live in Hartford.
Heather Kulp currently works in Chicago at the Resolution Systems Institute (RSI), an affiliate of the Center for Conflict Resolution. The RSI mission is to strengthen justice by enhancing court ADR systems through expertise in program development, research and resources. To accomplish this mission, RSI provides a range of information-gathering, clearinghouse, evaluation, analysis and training services.
After graduating from Northwestern University School of Law in 2010, Ms. Kulp began a Skadden Fellowship managing RSI’s Statewide Mediation Access Project (SMAP). As RSI’s Staff Attorney, Ms. Kulp develops court mediation programs to meet pressing legal needs of low-income Illinois residents. She provides courts and local community organizations assistance with training, goal-setting, design and implementation, monitoring, and evaluation. Ms. Kulp is also analyzing court referral models to develop a replicable framework for other states’ court mediation programs. She is also a regular contributor to RSI’s blog, Just Court ADR.
She is a volunteer mediator with the Center for Conflict Resolution in Chicago and a member of the American Bar Association Section of Dispute Resolution.
Thomas Cox is retired from the private practice of law where a substantial portion of his practice included the representation of lenders in residential and commercial loan litigation matters. Clients included major regional and national lenders as well as the FDIC. For the past three and one half years he has played a substantial role in the Maine Attorney’s Saving Homes (MASH) program of the Maine Volunteer Lawyer Project as a volunteer lawyer screening mortgage foreclosure cases, handling referrals to volunteer lawyers on the MASH panel, co-counseling on select cases, and acting as a consultant to Maine foreclosure defense lawyers. He has been instrumental in the start-up of in 2009 of Maine’s foreclosure mediation program, providing training and consultation to lawyers representing homeowners in foreclosure mediation. He has also acted as a consultant to Pine Tree Legal Assistance in managing the litigation strategies of its Foreclosure Prevention Program. In addition he has acted as a consultant to lawyers nationally regarding residential foreclosure issues with particular regard to issues relating to GMAC Mortgage, LLC and Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc.
Cox is credited with exposing the foreclosure “robo-signing” scandal with his deposition of GMAC Mortgage’s “limited signing officer”, Jeffrey Stephan, last year and his subsequent and successful efforts to force GMAC to halt its improper foreclosure practices. In addition, he has recently participated in five appeals of key Maine foreclosure issues to the Maine Supreme Court resulting in decisions of national significance. In December 2010 he was a presenter before the House Judiciary Committee on its hearing devoted to the topic: “Foreclosed Justice: Causes and Effects of the Foreclosure Crisis.” He has been a speaker at numerous conferences including those of the American Bar Association, the National Consumer Law Center and various state organizations. He is the recipient of the 2011 Howard Dana Award presented by the Maine Bar Foundation for outstanding services to pro bono clients, and an honorary recipient of a 2011 Empire State Counsel Award from the State Bar of New York. He is a 1966 graduate of Colby College and a 1969 graduate of the Boston University School of Law.
Bill Beckmann is President and CEO of Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. (MERS). Beckmann joins MERS from Beckmann Insights, LLC, an independent consulting firm where he was president. He was formerly chairman and CEO of CitiMortgage, Inc., one of the nation’s leading originators and servicers of residential mortgages.
During his tenure at CitiMortgage, the company had four million residential mortgage customers, representing over $800 billion in serviced assets. Beckmann had responsibility for strategy, sales, operations, capital markets, and regulation/compliance. Prior to this, he was president of Citigroup’s real estate servicing and technology group, providing customer service, technology and default management services to customers of CitiMortgage, CitiFinancial and Citi’s Auto business.
From 1997 to 2003 Beckmann was the chairman and CEO of The Student Loan Corporation. He has also worked in IBM’s Corporate Strategy and Internet Marketing divisions, Citigroup’s Card Products group, and European American Bank’s strategy department in various marketing, strategy, finance and treasury roles.
Beckmann is on the Boards of Junior Achievement of Mississippi Valley, Enterprise Community Partners and Enterprise Community Investments. He holds an M.S. in Management from the Stanford Sloan Program and a B.A. in Mathematical Economics from Brown University.
Professor Kurt Eggert
Kurt Eggert is a Professor of Law and Director of the Elder Law Clinic. He also runs Chapman’s Alona Cortese Elder Law Center, and teaches both clinical and doctrinal classes. His scholarship has focused on several different areas, among them predatory lending, consumer credit, gambling regulation, and elder abuse. He has testified to Congress on predatory lending issues and is a member of the Federal Reserve Board’s Consumer Advisory Council, where he chairs the subcommittee on Consumer Credit. Previously, he was an adjunct professor of law, teaching Elder Law, at Loyola Law School. From 1990 until 1999, he was a senior attorney at Bet Tzedek Legal Services in Los Angeles, where he specialized in complex litigation, including consumer fraud and home equity fraud. Eggert received his B.A. from Rice University, magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, and received his Juris Doctor from Boalt Hall, the University of California at Berkeley School of Law.
Fred Burnside concentrates his practice in complex civil litigation, with particular emphasis on consumer class action defense. He is co-chair of Davis Wright Tremaine’s class action defense group. He also has successfully defended several clients in wrongful foreclosure actions. Burnside has counseled and represented numerous clients in class action lawsuits across the country, including Amazon.com, AOL, AT&T, eBay, eNom, JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., Microsoft Corp., Providence Hospital Systems, Scholastic Inc., Shell Oil, Skype Inc., Starbucks, T-Mobile USA, The University of California, Verizon Wireless, and Wolters Kluwer. He also represented MERS in an action alleging violations of the Washington Deed of Trust Act, the Washington Consumer Protection Act, FDCPA, and wrongful foreclosure.
Burnside is also co-chair of the ABA’s Consumer Law Subcommittee on Class and Derivative Suits, editor of the ABA Class Action Committee’s Annual Survey of State Class Action Litigation, and is a member of the American Law Institute.
Professor Lynn Foster
Professor Foster currently teaches Property I and II, Decedents’ Estates and Trusts, and Land Use. She joined the faculty in 1986 as the director of the law library, and was appointed Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in 1997 and Associate Dean for External Relations in 2000. Since 2002, she has been a full-time teacher. She is the current Arkansas Barbri lecturer on Real Property law.
Foster has published extensively, including co-authoring the award-winning first edition of Subject Compilations of State Laws, four editions of Legal Research Exercises, the Revocable Trust Handbook for Arkansas Practitioners, and, most recently, Arkansas Probate and Estate Administration. Her recent articles have covered Arkansas’s adoption of the Uniform Trust Code and the Uniform Statutory Rule Against Perpetuities, uniform laws and the legislative process in Arkansas, adverse possession and deed covenants of title. Currently she is co-authoring a book on Arkansas real estate law. She also serves as editor-in-chief of the Arkansas Bar Association Real Estate Law Section’s online Arkansas Real Estate Review, and the Probate and Trust Law Section’s online Arkansas Probate and Trust Law Review, two publications that involve collaboration among practitioners, faculty members and law students.
Foster is active in service. In conjunction with one of her research areas, legal history, she maintains a website containing territorial Arkansas court records that is viewed annually by more than 13,000 visitors. In 2009 she received the law school Faculty Excellence in Service award and was the first faculty recipient of the newly established Law School Award for Outstanding Public Service. Currently, she serves on the Arkansas Commission on Uniform State Laws and represents Arkansas at the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws. She also serves as Vice Chair of the Arkansas Commission to Study Landlord-Tenant Law. She is a frequent CLE speaker who presents regularly at the Arkansas Bar Association’s annual “Best of CLE” program, and who received the Association’s CLE Award in 2010.
Professor Grant Nelson
Professor Nelson joined the Pepperdine faculty in 2007 as the William H. Rehnquist Professor of Law. Before coming to Pepperdine, Nelson was on the faculty at UCLA School of Law since 1991 and taught Real Estate Finance, Advanced Real Estate Transactions, Property, Land Use Regulation, and Remedies. He was the recipient of the UCLA School of Law’s Rutter Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2000 and the UCLA University’s Distinguished Teaching Award in 2002. UCLA law graduates selected him as “Professor of the Year” in 2004, 2005 and 2007.
He was the co-reporter for the American Law Institute’s Restatement of Property (Third)–Mortgages (1997), served on the Law School Editorial Advisory Board of the West Publishing Company, and as a commissioner of the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws.
While in law school, Nelson was an editor on the Minnesota Law Review. After serving as an officer in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam era, he practiced real estate finance at Faegre and Benson, a large Minneapolis law firm. He taught at the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law for twenty-four years, where he was the Enoch H. Crowder & Earl F. Nelson Professor of Law and was elected Outstanding Professor by three classes. He was also Professor of the Year at two other law schools where he was visiting.
Nelson has published many books and articles on real estate finance law, property, and remedies, the most recent of which include: Real Estate Finance Law (with Dale A. Whitman), 5th ed. West Publishing (2007); Contemporary Property (with W. Stoebuck and Dale A. Whitman), 3rd ed. West Publishing (2008); Real Estate Transfer, Finance and Development (with Dale A. Whitman, Ann Burkhart & Wilson Freyermuth), 8th ed. West Group (2009); and Equitable Remedies, Restitution and Damages (with Kovacic-Fleischer and Love), 8th ed. West Group (2011).
Professor Debra Stark
An expert on real estate law and predatory lending law, Professor Debra Pogrund Stark was awarded in June 2010 (with colleague Dr. Jessica Choplin) a $250,000 grant from the National Science Foundation’s Law and Social Sciences Division to investigate how prospective homeowners read, assess and recall important information before agreeing to the terms of home loans. In their three year funded project they will run five experiments to test their theories on how unscrupulous mortgage lenders and mortgage brokers can take advantage of consumers’ cognitive limitations to reduce the effectiveness of home loan disclosures and to test various intervention strategies, including mortgage counseling. Based upon the results of their experiments Stark will propose legal reforms to better protect consumers. She currently serves on the State of Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation’s Residential Mortgage Board, a group tasked with making recommendations to address the home loan crisis here in Illinois.
Professor Stark is a prolific writer authoring thirteen law review articles (several utilizing empirical data and inter-disciplinary work—one in the premier law and psychology journal of the American Psychological Association) on real estate and consumer protection matters, twelve bar and real estate business publication articles, and has authored, co-authored or served as general editor of five books and textbooks, including “Commercial Real Estate Transactions: A Project and Skills Oriented Approach” (2d ed. 2009 Lexis) which has been adopted at over thirty law schools since the first edition came out in 2001. Stark was an active member of the Real Property Section of the American Bar Association (chairing its Foreclosure and Related Remedies Committee and Vice-Chairing its Pro Bono Committee) and is currently active in the Real Estate Section of the Real Estate Section of the Association of American Law Schools (Executive Committee, Treasurer, and currently Secretary—slotted to be Chair of the Section in 2012).
After eight years in private practice with Katten Muchin, Professor Stark joined the faculty in 1994 and appreciates the opportunities this career shift allowed her to serve the community. While at JMLS she helped create John Marshall’s LLM Program in Real Estate Law and co-founded with two students the John Marshall Law School Habitat for Humanity Chapter. As faculty supervisor of the JMLS HFH Chapter she has organized and worked on pro bono legal assistance to local affiliates with students. She has taught in the past Property and Family Law and currently focuses on Real Estate Transactions, Commercial Real Estate, Predatory Lending Law (as a guest lecturer), and Domestic Violence Law and Practicum (a course she developed for the law school in 2008 that includes a clinical component where students represent survivors of domestic violence to obtain an emergency order of protection and where students also work on reform ideas and outreach letters to effectuate improvements to the legal and community response to domestic violence).
Professor Dale Whitman
Professor Dale Whitman is the Distinguished Visiting Professor of Law at the University of Arkansas School of Law for the 2012-2013 academic year.
Whitman is the former James Campbell Professor of Law at the University of Missouri in Columbia, where he retired in 2007. He received his B.E.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from Brigham Young University in 1963 and his law degree from Duke University in 1966. After practicing for a short period with the firm of O’Melveny and Myers in Los Angeles, Whitman began his academic career at the University of North Carolina in 1967.
He was a member of the original faculty when the Brigham Young University law school was founded in 1973. He has since been a faculty member at the University of Washington and the University of Missouri-Columbia (where he served as dean from 1982 to 1988). He has also been a visiting professor at Pepperdine University, University of Florida, South Texas Law School, Washington University in St. Louis, the University of Tulsa, the University of Utah, the University of Georgia, and UCLA. During 2009-2010, Whitman served as Associate Area Legal Counsel for Asia for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, where he dealt with the church’s legal issues in 15 Asian countries.
Whitman is one of the nation’s premier experts on property law. He is a coauthor of five books and numerous articles in this area. During 1971-73 he was involved with the nation’s federal housing programs, serving in Washington DC with the Federal Home Loan Bank Board and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Whitman was a member of the Executive Committee of the Association of American Law Schools from 1994 through 1997, and was its president for the year 2002. He was a co-reporter for the Restatement (Third) of Property (Mortgages), published in 1997, and reporter for the Uniform Power of Sale Foreclosure Act, approved in 2002 by the Commissioners on Uniform Laws. He is a member of the Order of the Coif, the American Law Institute, the American College of Mortgage Attorneys, and the American College of Real Estate Lawyers, and is a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation.
April Charney has served Jacksonville Area Legal Aid since 2004. After graduating from the University of Miami School of Law, Charney spent several years in private practice and working with legal aid in northwest Arkansas. She has developed a national reputation as a champion of homeowners facing foreclosure.
Charney has been at the forefront of the legal fight against illegal home foreclosures in America that use fraudulent practices and has successfully argued a number of foreclosure defense legal strategies, including produce the note and real party in interest defenses. A member of the National Association of Consumer Advocates and National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys, Charney instructs fellow advocates and attorneys across the nation on foreclosure defense strategies and tactics to protect consumers.
She asserts that few attorneys are well-versed in the legal issues in such cases and that judges often are not familiar with the details of the bank strategies. She further asserts that lax bank regulations precipitated the economic crisis. Charney has been a featured speaker during several “teach-in” sessions that seek to make knowledge of legal remedies for these cases more accessible to attorneys and the consumers they represent.
Professor Bruce Kramer
A long-time professor at Texas Tech University School of Law, Bruce M. Kramer is a preeminent oil, gas, energy, and land use legal scholar.
Kramer is the co-author of several important books that have become the definitive references for energy lawyers, including two multi-volume treatises, The Law of Pooling and Unitization and Williams and Meyers Oil and Gas Law (since 1996), as well as the last three editions of the Manual of Oil and Gas Terms. Bruce also is an authority on land use, zoning, and the conflicts that arise between mineral property owners.
Among his many accomplishments, Kramer’s books and legal articles have been cited as authority in numerous court rulings and appellate opinions, including decisions of the Supreme Courts of Texas, Alaska, Louisiana, Montana, New Mexico, and North Dakota; the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit; the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit; and numerous Federal District Courts. Kramer has prepared papers and spoken at more than 80 continuing education programs for lawyers and other professionals in the oil and gas and real estate/land use industry.