ACC Real Estate Committee March Newsletter
Message from the Chair  
Executive Development and Leadership  
Leadership Biographies  
Financial Regulation Best Practices  
Litigation vs Arbitration: How do you prefer to draft your contracts?  
Call for Resource Library Suggestions  
Member Spotlight  
Upcoming Quick Hits  
Save the Dates  
Virtual Library
Renew Your Membership
Update Your Records
Upcoming ACC Programs
Search Back Issues

Updates From ACC Committees

Message from the Chair

Dear Members,

Last year was a very successful year for our committee. It is with great excitement that I introduced the 2017 leadership. We are excited that a number of members expressed interest to join the leadership team and we are reaching out to each of you and look forward to your support and participation.

In addition, the Real Estate Committee is in the process of developing ways for our committee members to participate on Pro Bono efforts. We are looking for law firms to partner with their existing programs. This will provide avenues for in-house to work with partners in certain practices areas to enhance their skill sets or learn new practice areas while providing a service to the community.  

Our featured law firm promo program this is Paul Hastings, which has a deep commitment to pro bono work. Nearly 99% of lawyers in their U.S. offices and 83% of lawyers in their international offices contributed 20 or more pro bono hours last year. There may be an opportunity for some pro bono representation for one of your favorite not for profits. If you have a not of profit to recommend for pro bono services  or would like  to participate in an existing project please contact Jennifer Baldocchi, IP partner and the chair of Paul Hastings pro bono committee in Los Angeles, to discuss your ideas. Her email is jenniferbaldocchi@paulhastings.comand her telephone number is (213) 683-6133. 

Also please reach out me if you have any questions.  Dawn Haghighi Chair Real Estate Committee -
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Executive Development and Leadership

Stay  Tuned.... The Real Estate Committee will be announcing a double header Quick Hit on Executive Development and Leadership to be presented by Major Lindsay and Africa. 

Trends for 2017

What are the anticipated hot practice areas in 2017? Will there be more/less hiring? The impact of LF raises on IH comp?

2017 promises to be a turbulent year with anticipated changes in health care, immigration, trade, environmental and tax policies leading to an increased need for talented regulatory attorneys. Budgets for these areas tightened last year awaiting the election results.  In the coming months, hiring will increase in those areas, while the compensation for such talent continues to increase. The most recent pay raises in law firms have tightened the market for talent coming out of those firms as associates delay any departures, while forcing in-house positions to pay a premium over 2015 and 2016 salaries to attract that talent. Cybersecurity and data privacy continue to be growing areas. An uptick in litigation, particularly class actions, and the potential for increased M&A activity will also influence the legal job market. Legal hiring is generally a lagging indicator, so hiring changes may not materialize until the latter part of the year. In an upcoming presentation we will explore general compensation trends and some of the challenges in-house departments may face in hiring.
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Leadership Biographies


Dawn Haghighi, General Counsel, PCV Murcor Real Estate Services.

Dawn is 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).  Her 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 theRAND 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).


Vice Chair and and Co-Program Chair 

Raghu Nandan,General Counsel & COO, Sunstreet Mortgage, LLC.

Raghu Nandan has been in the mortgage industry in a variety of operational capacities for almost 15 years. He has helped establish and manage Risk Management departments and divisions in large mortgage banks, litigated as a plaintiff’s counsel in business and personal tort matters, and provided compliance oversight and general counsel services to small- to medium-sized organizations. He is presently a member of Sunstreet Mortgage, LLC, a Tucson-based residential mortgage lender, and serves as General Counsel & COO of Sunstreet Mortgage, LLC.

Raghu is actively involved with ACC’s Regulatory Working Group, and is the Vice-Chair of ACC’s Real Estate Committee.


Secretary and Communications Chair

Darryl Austin, General Counsel, Forerunner Housing Partners, LLC.

Darryl has extensive experience in all aspects of developing and financing multifamily real estate. He has a particular expertise in structuring the multiple layers of government financing and incentives included in housing tax credit programs. Darryl has been syndicating multifamily properties for almost two decades through positions with a large law firm, a national multifamily developer and the federal government. He received his joint JD/MBA from American University.


Co-Program Chair, Written Materials and Resources 

Elena Antonetti, Executive Counsel, Travelers. 

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. 


Membership Chair

Erik W. Lindberg, Assistant Counsel, William Charles, Ltd.  

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 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.

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Financial Regulation Best Practices

CFPB recently issued guidance on managing production incentives in the financial marketplace (CFPB Compliance Bulletin 2016-03 issued November 28, 2016). In issuing this guidance, CFPB highlighted some of the problems the agency sees in incentive programs, ranging from opening accounts without consent to variable compensation payment based on types, terms, or conditions of transactions (leading to abusive/deceptive practices).

While recognizing that incentive programs are common and may be potentially beneficial to consumers, CFPB emphasizes the importance of a robust Compliance Management System (CMS). In CFPB’s guidance, a CMS takes a multi-pronged approach starting with (a) executive management oversight, (b) monitored compliance program, policies, procedures, and training, (c) consumer complaint management, and (d) an independent compliance audit.

CFPB expects a “tone from the top” attitude to executive management’s role in a robust CMS. Executive management should consider harmful unintended outcomes of incentive programs, and empower employees to raise concerns without fear of retaliation. Policies and procedures should be transparent, equitable, and with sufficient institutional control supplemented by a comprehensive training and monitoring program that incorporates meaningful corrective action. Consumer complaints should play a critical role in identifying abuses or unintended consequences of incentive programs. An independent compliance audit should enable the company’s compliance team and executive management to assess the incentive program.

CFPB’s recent regulatory actions suggest a continued focus on production incentive programs. The November 28, 2016 guidance provides insight into CFPB’s concerns with respect to such program. A periodic review of existing incentive programs through the lens of this guidance may help companies in the financial marketplace assess the robustness of their Compliance Management System.

Raghu Nandan
General Counsel & COO
Sunstreet Mortgage, LLC.
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Litigation vs Arbitration: How do you prefer to draft your contracts?

We encourage you to log-in to the eGroups and post to the Real Estate Committee's message board to share your thoughts.

I have a strong preference for Arbitration. The costs are substantially less and it is a lot more efficient than litigation.

--Drew Iddings, Detroit MI

Arbitrators tend to split baby. When representing the money partner I prefer litigation.  I don’t want 50% of damages, I want 100%.

--Robert Richman, Rochester, NY

Neither, I’ve actually found Mediation to be the most helpful on my new construction deals. Sometimes the answer is simply to have the contractor and architect sit down at a table with a neutral party to walk through the issues. Most of the time the parties can find common ground simply by having someone diffuse the emotions and walk through the facts.

--Terrence Green, Washington, DC

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Call for Resource Library Suggestions

We want to hear from you! What forms, templates or tutorials would you like added to the Resource Library.  Please email your requests to Elena

In addition, every month ACC hosts a webcasts that goes over how to search the Resource Library and explains all that it offers. It is a 30-min presentation and the archived version of the November presentation can be found at here.


Call for Legal Quick Hit Topics.

What programs would you like to see presented as a legal quick hit? Please email your requests to Elena  I
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Member Spotlight
Meet Laura Dorman

Laura Dorman is a Managing Director and Associate General Counsel at Berkeley Research Group. BRG is a leading global strategic advisory and expert consulting firm that provides independent advice, data analytics, authoritative studies, expert testimony, investigations, and regulatory and dispute consulting to Fortune 500 corporations, financial institutions, government agencies, major law firms, and regulatory bodies around the world. Named by Forbes as one of America’s Best Management Consulting Firms in 2016, BRG is headquartered in Emeryville, California, with offices across the United States and in Asia, Australia, Canada, Latin America, the Middle East, and the United Kingdom.

Laura joined BRG in 2011, when BRG was one year old and had less than 100 employees, and has participated in the company’s growth to its current level of almost 1,000 employees. In addition to advising her colleagues, Laura leverages her experience in litigation to provide advice and strategic leadership on client matters, guiding lawyers and executives in the process of assembling appropriate consultants and experts for complex, high-priority client matters.  

Following her graduation from law school at USC, Laura clerked for a federal district court judge, and then headed to Washington, DC, where she worked on the staff of a Congressional task force studying fraud, waste and abuse in the Department of Defense. She returned to California to join Severson & Werson, where she specialized in litigation and became a shareholder. She also taught Pretrial Litigation and tort law at Golden Gate University School of Law, first as an adjunct and then as a full-time professor for two years. She then spent 10 years in-house at California Federal Bank and Citibank, where she was responsible for supervising and managing the bank’s litigation. Laura has been active in the ACC since becoming in-house counsel. Having served as chair of the Financial Services Committee, she joined forces with Real Estate Chair Dawn Haghighi to organize the committees’ Regulatory Working Group, which she and Dawn co-chair. She has also served on the Advisory Board to the ACC’s Mid-Year Meetings.

Laura is a member of a number of professional organizations, including the Association of Business Trial Lawyers. She is currently a member and Advisor and served as vice-chair of the Financial Institutions Committee of the Business Law Section of the State Bar of California. She also served on the State Bar’s judicial selection committee. She has devoted time to a number of non-profits, including Reading Partners, and served on the board of her community educational foundation.

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Upcoming Quick Hits
The Real Estate Committee is pleased to announce the following timely topic for our March Legal Quick Hit.

Real Estate Committee Legal Quick Hit
March 16, 2017 Noon PST/3:00 PM EST

The Real Estate Committee is pleased to announce the following timely topic for our March Legal Quick Hit.

Topic: Hacking, Encryption, and Privacy:  Where will a Trump Administration Go?  

Explore the upcoming policy decisions around encryption and data security and whether a Trump Administration will embrace encryption and privacy, law enforcement access, or some blend of both. The discussion will also focus on the impact of President Obama's January 2017 sanctions on the Russian government, and how that will impact Trump's policies and decision-making.


Paul M. Rosen serves as Chief of Staff at the Department of Homeland Security. Mr. Rosen previously served as Deputy Chief of Staff and Senior Counselor at DHS and Chief of Staff at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.  He was a federal prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia and for the Department of Justice Criminal Fraud Section. Mr. Rosen also served as Counsel to then-Senator Joseph Biden, Jr. on the United States Senate Judiciary Committee. Prior to the Senate Judiciary Committee, Mr. Rosen was a law clerk to the Honorable Gary Allen Feess, U.S. District Judge for the Central District of California.


Jason P. Gonzalez, a former Assistant US Attorney, partner at Nixon Peabody specializing in white collar investigations and a Certified Information Privacy Professional/United States (CIPP/US).

Dial-in: 1.877.647.3411
Passcode: 1835235160

Click here to register for this presentation.
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Save the Dates

  • ACC Mid-Year Meeting, April 2-4 in New York, NY. 
    • Chair Dawn Haghighi will be presenting: "After Dodd-Frank and CFPB: Surveying the New Financial Regulatory Landscape".

  •  2017 ACC Annual Meeting, October 15-18 in Washington, DC.
    • Early registration is open through March 22.

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