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Legal League Assembles With Servicers for Spring Summit

The Legal League Spring Servicer Summit took place on May 1-2 at the Westin Dallas Stonebriar Golf Resort & Spa for members of the Legal League 100. The two-day event featured a comprehensive servicer certification class, a reception, and a day of speakers and panel discussions for attendees. 

Starting the day of panels was opening remarks from Stephen Hladik of Hladik, Onorato & Federman, LLP who welcomed everyone and gave a quick rundown of the day. 

Hladik was followed by the opening keynote speech by Stanley Middleman of Freedom Mortgage. 

After the keynote, host Hladik sat down with Middleman for a brief Q&A. 

The first panel of the day called “Attorney Oversight and Compliance—Current and Future Issues in Law Firm Compliance” featured speakers Ryan Bourgeois, BDF Law Group; Michael Merritt, BOK Financial; Melissa Black, PennyMac Loan Services, LLC; Mark Atencio, Lyons McCloskey; and Tony Vas Ness, Van Ness Law Firm, PLC. 

During this panel, the speakers discussed the future of on-site audits, IT, and information security issues facing firms and the industry, as well as management of firms’ third-party vendors. 

Following a short networking break, the next panel was titled “A Kaleidoscope of Foreclosure Perspectives” which discussed insights into the challenges and solutions of today’s foreclosure environment are vital for daily work and success; it was designed to bring insights on HAF funds, loss mitigation, foreclosure delays, and e-notes/e-mortgages. 

Speakers for the panel included: Caren Castle, DEA Law Group, PC; Roy Diaz, Diaz Anselmo & Associates, P.A.; Elizabeth DeSilva, McCalla Raymer Leibert Pierce, LLC; Deloise Browne Milner, Freddie Mac; and Toniqua Green, Mr. Cooper Group. 

After lunch, the most anticipated panel of the day was a fireside chat between Hladik, who acted as moderator, and Tony Van Ness and Erica Johnson-Seck of Mr. Cooper. 

After another brief networking break, the next panel was entitled “Costly Servicer Pitfalls in the Bankruptcy Arena” which featured speakers: Brooke E. Sanchez, McPhail Sanchez, LLC; Graham Arceneaux, Graham, Arceneaux & Allen, LLC; Alicia Byrd, Flagstar Bank, NA; Michael Daniels, Mr. Cooper; Traci Luckhaupt, PHH Mortgage; and Brian McGarry, Fannie Mae. 

This panel focused on the lengthy list of rules and recent litigation surrounding rule (3002.1). 

The final panel of the day was entitled “Market Update: Inflation, Recession, or What?” featuring panelists Jane Bond, MRLP, LLC; Daren Blomquist, Auction.com; Neil Sherman, Schneiderman & Sherman, PC; Nolan Turner, Carrington Holding Company, LLC, Rick Sharga, CJ Patrick Company; and Dean Meyer, Freddie Mac. 

The panel discussed the latest updates on the current state of the market as we move into the second quarter of 2023, and heard expert predictions on whether foreclosures will rise, if loss mitigation will provide meaningful options, and whether third-party sales will continue to remain near record highs. 

The day was closed out with brief closing remarks from Hladik who recapped the Summit and shared what’s next to come for the Legal League 100. Attendees were then invited to come together for a visit to Globe Life Field to watch the Texas Rangers baseball team play the Arizona Diamondbacks from a catered VIP suite, something that was included in every registration. 

Alicia Byrd, Bankruptcy Operations Manager, Flagstar Bank, was a first-time attendee to this year’s Summit. She had this to say about why she chose to attend this year:

“Legal League appealed to me because I like to hear both my peers' perspective and the legal perspective. I really enjoyed what [the different panels] brought: what our servicers are seeing, but tempered by what attorneys can cope with.”

Mike Aiken, SVP and Associate General Counsel, Fay Financial, LLC, was a returning member for the Summit, but had missed the past few years.

“The face-to-face [aspect] is important for me because I'm counsel, so I deal with a lot of these attorneys directly. Being able to see them again … and to talk about what's going on, what they're seeing, what we're seeing. It’s not the same doing it over the phone or over Zoom.”

Mike Merritt, SVP, Mortgage Default Servicing, BOK Financial, who was also a panelist, had this to say about the Summit:

“The thing I like about Legal League is really being able to hear the firms’ perspectives. A lot of these conferences are so focused on the servicer perspective, and our firms, they are one of the most critical vendors and partners that we have, so hearing their pain points is eye-opening because a lot of times it's simple fixes that you can make on our side to make their job easier. Just hearing and having that interaction is always a great part of this Summit.”

About Author: Kyle G. Horst

Kyle G. Horst is a reporter for DS News and MReport. A graduate of the University of Texas at Tyler, he has worked for a number of daily, weekly, and monthly publications in South Dakota and Texas. With more than 10 years of experience in community journalism, he has won a number of state, national, and international awards for his writing and photography including best newspaper design by the Associated Press Managing Editors Group and the international iPhone photographer of the year by the iPhone Photography Awards. He most recently worked as editor of Community Impact Newspaper covering a number of Dallas-Ft. Worth communities on a hyperlocal level. Contact Kyle G. at [email protected].

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