Real Estate Committee December Newsletter
> Message from the Chair  
> CFPB General Counsel Roundtable 2015  
> Committee Developed Resources  
> Sponsor Summary  
> 2016 ACC Value Champion Nomination Opportunity  
> New Leaders  
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Updates From ACC Committees

Message from the Chair

Dear Real Estate Committee,

Welcome to the Real Estate Committee’s first quarterly newsletter! It is an exciting time to be part of the committee. Under leadership of Rudy Rivera, the former chair of our committee, our membership exceeded 2,000 members. Rudy, we thank you for your leadership and bringing our committee the next level. 

The committee leadership is excited that Primerus continues as our sponsor for 2016. The Real Estate Committee and Primerus are working to bring you the resources that will add value to your practice; we will have an array of programs to help you to keep up with new industry trends, legal contracting, regulatory dynamics and the latest curve ball. Stay tuned…this year we will adding local networking and CLO sessions. The 2016 plans will finalized soon and we will be issuing shortly the master schedule of events. 

We would like encourage all members to get involved. The leadership team welcomes your input and suggestions. Please let us know your ideas for resources that you think may be of interest to Committee members or ideas for topics for future Legal Quick Hits on the latest issues affecting your practice.

We plan to develop the content of the newsletter.  If you have suggestions on format or substance, please send them to  or Andrea DeKonig, our Communications Chair at  Special thanks to Andrea and Liz Wasden of ACC for their assistance in creating our first newsletter.  

The leadership teams joins with me in expressing our gratitude to the ACC Committee Liaisons, Tori Payne, Jennifer Tsang, Stephanie Da, and Victor Morales. They are invaluable resources and the foundation for our success. 


Dawn Haghighi
General Counsel
PCV Murcor Real Estate Services
Hightide National Settlement Services
VRM Mortgage Services

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CFPB General Counsel Roundtable 2015
Members of the Real Estate and Financial Services Committee meet with the CFPB and Capitol Hill

On September 24th and 25th, 40 ACC members of the ACC Real Estate and Financial Services Committee gathered in Washington, D.C. to meet in a roundtable format with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and Congressional Committees. The members represented a diverse group of companies and industries from throughout the nation.  Prior to the meetings, the Real Estate and Financial Services Committee chairs, Dawn Haghighi and Laura Dorman, hosted in conjunction with the ACC staff and the law firm of Paul Hastings several pre-roundtable briefing telephone calls for the participants.  The Paul Hastings partners include Thomas O’Brien, former U.S. Attorney, Thomas Brown, former in-house counsel and Gerald Sachs, former CFPB counsel.  During the pre-briefing calls, the members identified current and pending CFPB actions and regulations to address during the roundtables. A very detailed briefing book prepared by Paul Hastings on current regulatory issues was distributed to all participants. 

While at the CFPB Roundtable, ACC members met with various high-level CFPB officials, including Acting Deputy Director and General Counsel, Meredith Fuchs.  Issues addressed with the CFPB included the current regulatory agenda and the consumer complaint database, TRID, joint enforcement efforts of the CFPB and the DOJ, Project Catalyst, advisory opinions and disparate impact in fair lending.  Following the CFPB meetings, ACC members met with staff from both the Senate Banking Committee and the House Financial Services Committee for updates on the legislative agenda concerning the CFPB, and to share their experiences as industries that are regulated by the CFPB.

 Over eighty ACC members applied to participate in the roundtable sessions.   To address the strong interest, the Real Estate Committee and Financial Services committees invited all applicants to participate in the pre-briefing sessions, and have created a Regulator/CFPB working Group; are hosting ongoing calls to discuss updates on Regulator and CFPB enforcement efforts; will be publishing Docket articles; and are hosting local committee networking events. Updates on the upcoming events will be distributed through the Real Estate Committee or if you would like a copy of the briefing book, please contact Dawn Haghighi  or Laura Dorman,
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Committee Developed Resources

Form & Policy

Real Estate Purchase Contract - September 2015


Australian Foreign Investment Reforms - December 2015

Top Ten

Top Ten Errors in Filing Construction Liens in Florida - September 2015

Click here for more resources. 


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Sponsor Summary

International Society of Primerus Law Firms Overview

Our Values: The Six Pillars

When we formed Primerus in 1992, we set out to restore honor and dignity to the legal profession and to help rebuild the public’s trust in attorneys by setting the highest standards for our member firms. Every Primerus member firm and every attorney within those firms shares a commitment to a set of common values known as the Six Pillars:

• Integrity

• Excellent work product

• Reasonable fees

• Continuing legal education

• Civility

• Community service

More than twenty years later, our commitment to these values remains strong, and our clients notice the difference in who we are and how we work.

Starting with that foundation, Primerus has developed one of the most valuable services to clients available in today’s legal market: helping them find just the right lawyer for their needs. The most important decision a client must make in resolving or avoiding legal problems is finding the right lawyer, with the right skills, in the right location, and at the right cost.

Fortunately, Primerus does exactly that for clients. With a membership of nearly 200 firms in more than 40 countries, we offer clients access to the world’s finest attorneys. Our research department does the hard work of searching for and screening excellent lawyers everywhere in the world. But then we go a step further by working individually with clients to find the right lawyer.

Only the Best

You might hear us refer to Primerus members as the world’s finest law firms. We know this is true because we seek out and retain only the best law firms around the world. We use all the ratings services available to us, including Martindale Hubbell, Best Lawyers, Chambers, and Legal 500, to ensure the law firms we invite to join Primerus are the best. That is just the beginning. We then conduct a more extensive investigation of the firm, including attorney backgrounds, references and malpractice history checks. An independent accreditation board has the last word on admission and retention of members, resulting in a high quality standard that’s applied universally to all members. Another board oversees quality assurance to more specifically define our high standards and to help firms live by those standards in everyday practice. So you can rest assured we really are the best.

Your Global Legal Team

We search the world for the best law firms so you don’t have to. Our work doesn’t end there. We bring these firms into a close-knit society to work together for you. Located in nearly 40 countries around the world and in almost every U.S. state, with more joining every day, our firms are poised to serve as your global legal team, working together to meet your needs seamlessly and efficiently. We have attorneys with expertise in more legal specialties than any law firm in the world. Combine that with our law firm locations all around the world and the result is our unique ability to combine location with legal specialty to serve you in a whole new way. Primerus is ready to help you find the right attorney for any legal matter you face. Primerus has a staff dedicated to finding the best law firms in the world and then helping clients find the perfect attorney for them. If we do not have a member firm in the area, or one with the expertise you need, we will use our contacts and resources to find one.

You can choose a Primerus attorney with confidence. Our nearly 3,000 lawyers have depth of knowledge and expertise in hundreds of specialties and subspecialties. And because our law firms are small to mid-sized, with fewer than 50 lawyers, you will receive personalized attention, excellent communication and enduring relationships.

Good people who happen to be good lawyers®

This statement captures the essence of Primerus members and reflects an important part of the culture of the organization. “Good people” in this case could be defined as those who are considerate, honest, trustworthy and interested in others. They are people who believe in the Primerus Six Pillars (Integrity, Excellent Work Product, Reasonable Fees, Continuing Legal Education, Civility, and Community Service).

Primerus and our member law firms stand ready to serve your needs. Visit us at or call 800-968-2211/616-454-9939 for personalized service.

Primerus Law Firms Practice Areas/Specialties

Primerus law firms have experience in thousands of practice areas worldwide including a dedicated Real Estate Practice Group (  

Below you’ll find links to our member law firms:

By Region

By Practice Area
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2016 ACC Value Champion Nomination Opportunity

Have you implemented management initiatives resulting in reduced spending, higher predictability, and/or better outcomes? If so, put in a nomination to be a 2016 ACC Value Champion by February 5. We want to shine a spotlight on your successful management tactics, providing ideas and inspiration to others. For more information and to put in a nominations, click here.
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New Leaders

Dawn Haghighi

General Counsel, Privacy and Compliance Officer for affiliated companies PCV Murcor Real Estate Services (Los Angeles, CA), Hightide Settlement Services (Anaheim, CA) and Vendor Resource Mortgage Services (Dallas, TX)

Committee Position:  Real Estate Committee Chair


Dawn Haghighi’s career encompasses senior management positions with responsibility for matters at several multi-national corporations, including Assistant General Counsel and Privacy Officer for Princess Cruise Lines, Ltd., Charter One Bank, NA (Royal Bank of Scotland), and Nordstrom, Inc. 

In addition to serving as the Chair of the ACC Real Estate Committee, leadership positions with the Association of Corporate Counsel include the Board of Directors of the Southern California Chapter, The Board of Directors and past President of the Chicago Chapter, the Annual Meeting Advisory Committee (2006) and the National Board Nominating Committee (2005).  She was the recipient of the Association of Corporate Counsel Robert Townsend Member of the Year Award (2005).

Ms. Haghighi is a frequent lecturer before corporate boards, foundations and professional organizations around the world.  She is active in a number of international, public policy, and not for profit organizations.  She was selected as a participant to the U.S. – China Economic & Trade Cooperation Forum welcoming PRC Vice President Xi Jinping to Los Angeles (2012), as a delegate to the Salzburg Global Seminar in Salzburg, Austria (2010), as a member of the United States delegation to the Enhancing the Middle East’s Economic Future IV Forum Doha, Qatar (2009), as a participant to the RAND China Reform Forum, in Beijing, China (2004 and 2005) and a presenter to the Supreme People’s Court Mediation and Arbitration Congress in Beijing and Shanghai, China (1990 -1995) and as a delegate to several HKTDC Business Conferences in Honk Kong.  Ms. Haghighi also attended the White House Welcome Ceremony for the PRC Premier Wen Jibao (2003).  In recent years, she served as one of the keynote panelists at the Greenberg Taurig National Executive Women’s Leadership Conference. Her community involvement also vests in memberships of a number of international, public policy, and not for profit organizations, she is a member of the Pacific Council on International Policy (invitation only) and a member of the Board of Directors of the Los Angeles Committee on Foreign Relations (invitation only).  She has served on the Boards of The Association of Corporate Counsel SoCal, The Western Justice Center Foundation, the National U.S. Hong Kong Business Association (past chairmen and founding director), The Princess Cruises Community Foundation (founding director and secretary), The Hong Kong Business Association of Midwest (past president), The Association of Corporate Counsel Chicago (past president) and the Chinese American Service League.  She is also pro bono consultant to the Rockefeller Pacific Trust advising on the advancement of national and international justice systems, with emphasis on transnational economic activities.  Ms. Haghighi has received many professional awards including the Los Angeles Business Journal In-House Counsel Awards Finalist (2012). Alston & Bird Women of Distinction Award (2011) and the Association of Media and Entertainment Honoree (2007).

Elena Antonetti

Executive Counsel, Travelers

Committee Position:  Resources Chair (backup Program Chair)


Elena joined Travelers in 2007. Prior to joining Travelers, Elena was senior in-house counsel with a leading multinational food and beverage company, focusing on M&A transactions, domestic and international reorganizations and IT deals.  Elena also worked as an associate in law firms in New York and Connecticut.  She holds a J.D. from the New York University School of Law.  Elena is bilingual in English and Russian and fluent in Spanish.  She is a member of the Real Estate Committee, Law Department Management Committee & the IP Committee.   

Darryl Austin

General Counsel, Riverside Affordable Housing Equity Partners, LLC.

Committee Position:  Annual Meeting and Program Chair


Riverside syndicates multifamily properties which utilize affordable, historic and energy tax credits.  A significant portion of Riverside's pipeline is generated through a sister company which is the largest affordable housing developer in the country.  Darryl has been syndicating multifamily properties for almost two decades.  He received his joint JD/MBA from American University.

Andrea de Koning

First Vice President and Associate General Counsel, Luther Burbank Savings

Committee Position:  Communications Chair


Andrea joined Luther Burbank Savings as Associate General Counsel in 2014.  Luther Burbank Savings is a federally chartered savings association that has retail branches throughout California.   As associate general counsel, Andrea is responsible for oversight and leadership of many legal aspects of the business, including, but not limited to, employment matters, human resources compliance, commercial office space leasing, and vendor contract negotiation.  Andrea also routinely advises and trains the business on various legal and compliance issues.  Prior to joining the bank, Andrea was an Associate in the Labor and Employment department of Seyfarth Shaw, LLP, it its San Francisco office.   Andrea is also on the Los Angeles Committee of the Joyful Heart Foundation which provides services to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.

Erik W. Lindberg

Associate Counsel, William Charles, Ltd.

Committee Position: Membership Chair


Erik joined William Charles, Ltd. in 2007 as Associate Counsel.  William Charles, Ltd. is a holding company engaged in environmental remediation (Environmental Contractors, Inc.), heavy highway (William Charles Construction), rail and commercial construction (Ragnar Benson Construction) and real estate development (William Charles Real Estate).  A material amount of Erik's time is devoted to William Charles Real Estate as Vice President & Associate Counsel.  A graduate of Saint Louis University School of Law in Saint Louis, Missouri and Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, Erik is a licensed attorney in the State of Illinois with an undergraduate Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. His prior work experiences include Hinshaw & Culbertson, LLP and Ernst & Young, LLP.  Erik is a founding Board Member of the Ethan Lindberg Foundation, Inc. a not-for-profit supporting children and families facing congenital heart disease.  Erik also works closely with Rockford Corridor Improvement, Inc. a not-for-profit working to reduce urban blight.

Rudy Rivera

Chief International Counsel/Legal Hold Officer, Fidelity National Financial, Inc. 

Committee Position: Committee Outreach Chair


Mr. Rivera is currently Chief International Counsel for Fidelity National Financial (“FNF”).  FNF is the nation’s largest title insurance company through its title insurance underwriters - Fidelity National Title, Chicago Title, Commonwealth Land Title, Alamo Title and National Title of New York - that collectively issue more title insurance policies than any other title company in the United States. FNF also provides industry-leading mortgage technology solutions and transaction services through its technology company Black Knight Financial Services and ServiceLink Holdings, LLC.  

Mr. Rivera is currently an adjunct professor at Washington University St. Louis School of Law where he teaches International Business Transactions.

Mr. Rivera served as President of the ACC National Real Estate Committee and is the current Vice President of the ACC International Legal Affairs Committee.  He is a frequent speaker on international legal topics that include business transactions, litigation and arbitration, and real estate due diligence in foreign jurisdiction.

Mr. Rivera is a 1977 graduate of Ohio Northern University and a 1980 Graduate of St. Louis University School of Law.  At St. Louis University, he served as Assistant Managing Editor of the St. Louis University Law Review.  Mr. Rivera also studied international law at The Hague during the summer of 1979.

Prior to joining Fidelity National Title Group, Mr. Rivera was in private practice representing clients throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.    He is fluent in English and Spanish.       

Kevin A. Sachs

Senior Counsel, Title Resource Group

Committee Position:  Vice Chair (backup Secretary)


Kevin is Senior Counsel for Title Resource Group (TRG), a national title and settlement services company.  A graduate of William & Mary Law School, Kevin manages TRG’s litigation throughout the United States, and also provides advice concerning compliance, privacy and employment matters.  Kevin was previously a member of the board of directors of ACC’s Greater Philadelphia chapter, and prior to joining TRG, a commercial litigation associate for a New Jersey law firm.

Jeffrey Schneider

Director of Real Estate Finance and General Counsel for OliverMcMillan, Inc.

Committee Position:  Secretary


OliverMcMillan is a national developer of mixed-use, residential, retail, and public-private real estate projects.  Mr. Schneider is responsible for arranging and structuring debt and equity financing for the Company’s real estate projects, structuring transactions, and managing all legal matters for the Company.  Although Jeff has been a part of Oliver McMillan’s team for over 20 years, he moved “in house” in 2013.  Before joining OliverMcMillan full time, Jeff was the Managing Partner of VANGUARD Law Group, LLP, where he counseled clients in connection with business and real estate matters and negotiated and documented complex transactions. He has closed billions of dollars’ worth of transactions over the past 25 years.

Jeff has served as Chairman of the California State Bar Real Property Section, Chairman of the State Bar’s Commercial and Development Subsection, Chairman of the San Diego County Bar's Real Property Section, and Chair of the Continuing Legal Education Committee of the San Diego County Bar Association.

Jeff has been a teacher, trainer and professor for 30 years.  He was an adjunct law professor at California Western School of Law, where he taught for 20 years, primarily in the area of real estate, business franchise law, and negotiations.   He additionally instructs practicing attorneys and other professionals on behalf of the American Land Institute, the University of California’s Continuing Education of the Bar (CEB), the National Business Institute, the State of California, and various industry groups and Bar Associations.  He has been an advisor to the CEB real estate division and is a consultant on CEB’s treatise on ground leasing.  He also is author of the textbook entitled Business Franchise Law (used by law schools throughout the U.S.)
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