Michael J. Torchalski of Torch Legal in Crystal Lake is the IICLE® Spotlight Author for July. He is a contributor to the upcoming IICLE® handbook MECHANICS LIENS (2019), for which he has written since 2000.
Torchalski began as an IICLE volunteer author nearly 20 years ago at the invitation of a mentor, William J. Holloway, who at the time was managing partner of title insurance law at Hinshaw & Culbertson. “We worked together on a variety of interesting title-related claims, including relief from sheriff’s levy sale, relief from tax sale, quiet title, subrogation recovery, and defense of mechanics liens,” says Torchalski. Holloway asked for Torchalski’s assistance in updating his chapter, Owner and Third-Party Defenses Against Contractor and Subcontractor Mechanics Lien Claims, to which Torchalski readily agreed. “I knew IICLE was a great resource enabling lawyers to draw upon the knowledge of experts in every area of the law,” Torchalski explains. “As a young lawyer, I thought it would be good to know one thing well, and the law of mechanics liens would become my ‘thing.’”
Mechanics liens intersect with several of Torchalski’s practice areas, such as real estate, commercial litigation, and title insurance, and “are critically important to construction industry clients because secured creditors are far more likely to be paid than unsecured creditors” since “validity of a mechanics lien can be the difference between full recovery and no recovery.”
In Torchalski’s words, “Education and service to the legal profession carries its own rewards.” Being an author has gained him lawyer referrals and clients that have retained him to file, foreclose, and defend against mechanics liens.
In addition to his work at Torch Legal, Torchalski is a member of the Heartland Realtor Organization’s Governmental Affairs Committee and the National Creditors Bar Association and a licensed title insurance agent. He is an alumnus of the Chicago-Kent College of Law.