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David J. Alexander is a Principal in the Real Estate Practice Group at Masuda, Funai, Eifert & Mitchell, Ltd., in Chicago, where he advises clients in regard to complex real estate transactions, including the acquisition, disposition, financing, and leasing of shopping centers, retail, office, a industrial buildings, and residences. Prior to joining Masuda Funai, Mr. Alexander was in-house counsel for a publicly traded real estate investment trust in the Chicago area. Mr. Alexander is a member of the American, Illinois State, and Chicago Bar Associations, the International Council of Shopping Centers, and the Real Estate Investment Association. He has authored numerous articles on various real estate matters in publications such as the Illinois State Bar Association’s Real Estate Law Newsletter. Mr. Alexander received his B.A. from Eastern Illinois University and his J.D. from IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law.
Ronald S. Cope is a Partner at Nixon Peabody, LLP, where he focuses on complex land use matters such as local government zoning and annexation approvals and litigation in trial and appellate courts. He also works on the creation of finance tools such as tax increment financing (TIF) districts, special service areas (SSA), and redevelopment agreements. He is a member of the Chicago, Illinois State, and American Bar Associations. Mr. Cope received his B.A. and J.D. from the University of Chicago.
Karen G. Courtney is a commercial underwriting attorney with Attorneys’ Title Guaranty Fund, Inc., in Chicago, where she works with attorneys and lenders in underwriting all aspects of commercial real estate transactions. She is a frequent speaker at continuing legal education seminars offered by ATG. From 2011 to 2016, Ms. Courtney also served as Managing Attorney of ATG’s Short Sale Coordination Department. Ms. Courtney has been a Member of the Real Estate Law Section Council of the Illinois State Bar Association since 2016. Prior to joining ATG, Ms. Courtney practiced law as an associate attorney with the Law Offices of Smith, Rickert & Smith. She received her B.A. from the University of Central Arkansas and her J.D. from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, William H. Bowen School of Law.
David A. Fernandes is a Staff Attorney and Office Supervisor for First Community Title Services, in Champaign, where he focuses his practice on real property and title insurance. Mr. Fernandes has been in private and corporate practice for more than 30 years. He is also a certified trust and financial advisor (CTFA). Mr. Fernandes is a member of various professional organizations, including the Champaign County and Illinois State Bar Association (Past Chair of the ISBA Professional Conduct Committee and committee member for more than 15 years). He earned his B.S. from the University of Tulsa, his J.D. from the University of Illinois College of Law at Champaign-Urbana, and is a graduate with Honors of the ABA National Trust School and National Graduate Trust School at Northwestern University.
Keith W. Groebe is a Principal at Masuda, Funai, Eifert & Mitchell, Ltd., in Chicago, where he represents clients throughout the United States in connection with industrial, commercial, corporate, agricultural, residential, entertainment, and hospitality real estate. His clients include developers, lenders, investors, buyers and sellers, and represent all sectors of the real estate business. He is nationally recognized in the field of site selection, economic development incentive procurement, and foreign direct investment (FDI), having been personally involved in over 300 FDI projects. Mr. Groebe has authored numerous articles and spoken locally and internationally on real estate issues, such as site selection, economic development incentives, and foreign investment in U.S. real estate. Mr. Groebe has served as a Special Assistant to the Attorney General of Illinois. He was selected as a Super Lawyer (2005 – 2008, 2017), a Top Lawyer in Illinois (2016), and a Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent in Real Property Law for 25 consecutive years (2017). He is a member of the Chicago (Past Chair of the CBA Subcommittee on Foreign Investment in U.S. Real Estate), Illinois, and American Bar Associations. He earned both his B.A. and M.A. from the University of Illinois and his J.D. from DePaul University.
Timothy J. Hammersmith, Jr., is a Principal at Masuda, Funai, Eifert & Mitchell, Ltd., in Chicago, where his primary areas of practice include a broad spectrum of real estate disciplines with particular focus on the sale, purchase, new construction and leasing of commercial, industrial, retail, multifamily dwelling, and other type properties. He represents both landlords and tenants with respect to various leasing matters, not only including lease negotiations but also negotiating complex construction/tenant build-out contracts. Mr. Hammersmith also handles various real estate litigation matters related to disputes over title to real estate, property boundary disputes, easements rights and rights of ingress and egress, landlord-tenant contract disputes, and title insurance claims. A further significant area of focus of Mr. Hammersmith’s practice concerns real estate taxation matters. This work includes contesting real estate tax assessments on commercial, industrial, and multifamily investment grade properties, representing not-for-profit entities in the area of real estate tax exemptions, representing industrial use clients in obtaining real estate tax incentives, and tax increment financing, as well as real estate tax leasehold issues. He is a frequent author and lecturer on real estate issues such as taxation, site selection and real estate development incentives, and landlord/tenant matters. For two years, he also served as an adjunct professor for The John Marshall Law School in Chicago. He has served on the Illinois State Bar Association’s State and Local Taxation Section Council, serving as Chair of the Section Council from 1997 – 1998. Mr. Hammersmith earned his B.S. from the University of South Florida and his J.D. from The John Marshall Law School, where he was a member of The John Marshall Law Review.
R. Kymn Harp is a Shareholder with Robbins, Salomon & Patt, Ltd., in Chicago, where he focuses his practice on commercial real estate and business. Mr. Harp has been Chair of the Business and Real Estate Transactions Group at Robbins, Salomon & Patt, Ltd., since 2013. He is a frequent presenter at IICLE® programs, including the Annual Real Estate Short Course, and is the author and moderator for www.Harp-OnThis.com, a commercial real estate and business blog. Mr. Harp has received awards and recognitions, including the Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review (Rated AV – Preeminent, for Ethical Standards and Legal Ability), a multiyear selection as an Illinois Super Lawyer, and the Illinois Lincoln Award for Excellence in Legal Writing. He is a member of the Illinois, Indiana, and New Mexico State Bar Associations. Mr. Harp earned his B.A. from Wabash College and his J.D. from The John Marshall Law School.
Joel M. Hurwitz is of Counsel at Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr, LLP, in Chicago, with a broad-based practice focusing on the representation of corporations, high net worth individuals and financial institutions, pertaining to real estate transactions; development and leasing; trust and estate administration; corporate formation and operating issues; elder law matters; and lending related matters, including asset-based lending, letters of credit, mortgage lending and workouts. Mr. Hurwitz taught real estate drafting at Chicago Kent Law School. Mr. Hurwitz formerly served as the chairman of Arnstein & Lehr’s Commercial and Real Estate Finance Transactions Group and as co-chairman of the firm’s Real Estate Department. He attended the University of Oslo, Norway, and earned his B.A. magna cum laude from the University of Pittsburgh, his MBA from the University of Chicago Booth Graduate School of Business, and his J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School.
Jennifer Katherman is an associate with Greensfelder Attorneys at Law, in St. Louis, Missouri, where she focuses her practice on business services and real estate. Before joining Greensfelder, Ms. Katherman handled corporate transactions as an associate at a Providence, Rhode Island, law firm. She previously interned with the District of Columbia Department of Insurance, Security, and Banking and spent a decade living in Shanghai, China. She earned her B.A. magna cum laude from Emory University and her J.D. from Boston University School of Law.
Lowell B. Krahn has worked for Attorneys’ Title Guaranty Fund, Inc. (ATG since 2002), first as a law clerk and then as an attorney for the Commercial Department. He currently works with ATG member attorneys, lenders, closers, and non-ATG attorneys in underwriting all aspects of both commercial and residential transactions. Mr. Krahn also works closely with parties on post-foreclosure transactions and has experience underwriting properties that have been through the foreclosure process. He is a member of the Chicago Bar Association and is also a licensed attorney in the State of Florida. Mr. Krahn received his B.A. with distinction from the University of Colorado, his L.L.M. with honors and his J.D. from The John Marshall Law School.
Eugene S. Kraus is a Partner with Scott & Kraus, LLC, in Chicago, where focuses his practice on the areas of products liability and commercial litigation matters, and he represents financial institutions in the areas of bank fraud, workouts and foreclosures, and trust issues. He has tried bench and jury cases to verdict in both state and federal courts. Mr. Kraus is a member of the American, Illinois State, and Chicago Bar Associations. He received his B.A. from Lake Forest College and his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law.
Jason R. Sleezer is a Partner with Scott & Kraus, LLC, in Chicago, where he concentrates his practice in commercial litigation, banking litigation, construction litigation, UCC litigation, and creditor’s rights litigation. He is a member of the DuPage County, Chicago, and Illinois State Bar Associations. Mr. Sleezer received his B.A. with honors from North Central College where he was a College Honors Scholar and a Rhicter Fellow. As a Rhicter Fellow, Mr. Sleezer studied in Germany and the Czech Republic with the German Foreign Ministry and the German Delegation to the United Nations on the topics of international trafficking of women and children and population and development concerns in rural and urban post-reunified Germany. Mr. Sleezer received his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law where he was a Sullivan Fellow.
Sharilee Kempa Smentek is a Partner at Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr, LLP, in Chicago, where she concentrates her practice in commercial litigation, employment litigation, and products liability defense. She has been recognized as an Illinois Super Lawyer Rising Star (2010, 2013 – 2017), an Emerging Lawyer (2015, 2016), and received Corporate Vision Magazine’s 2017 Legal Excellence Award. Ms. Smentek earned her B.S. from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and her J.D. summa cum laude, Order of the Coif from DePaul University College of Law.
Robert J. Taylor is a Partner at Robbins, Salomon & Patt, Ltd., in Chicago, where he focuses his practice on banking, finance, and real estate. Mr. Taylor often serve as outside counsel to entrepreneurs, fast-growing companies, and mature companies in the middle market across a variety of industries. He is a member of the Chicago and American Bar Associations and the International Council of Shopping Centers. Mr. Taylor received his B.S. from the University of Illinois and his J.D. and Certificate in Environmental Law from Chicago Kent College of Law.
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