Editor’s Note: This feature originally appeared in the July issue of DS News, out now.

The Legal League 100, a professional association of financial services law firms with member law firms spanning nearly all 50 states, recently gathered at the historic Joule Hotel in Dallas, Texas for their 11th Spring Servicer Summit. A leading force for industry standards, market research, and policy change, the League is committed to supporting the mortgage servicing industry through education, communication, relationship development, and advisory services. In addition to a full day of education and communication between attorneys, servicers, and government representatives, the Summit also saw the announcement of the League’s most recent leadership elections. The group announced that Roy Diaz, Shareholder, SHD Legal Group P.A., had been elected Chair of the Legal League 100.

A member of the Florida Bar since 1988, Diaz has concentrated his practice in the areas of real estate, litigation, and bankruptcy. He has represented lenders, servicers of both conventional and GSE loans, private investors, and real estate developers throughout his career, with an emphasis on the mortgage servicing industry for over 22 years.

Diaz, who previously served on the Legal League 100’s Advisory Council, took over the position from departing Chair Neil Sherman, Managing Partner, Schneiderman & Sherman, who served as Legal League 100 Chair from May 2016. Sherman will continue serving as a member of the Advisory Council.

In the midst of the Servicer Summit, both Diaz and Sherman took some time to sit down with DS News and reflect on where the League has been, where it’s going, and what it means to the both of them.

“I’m motivated by the work Neil Sherman did,” Diaz said. “That was the reason I threw my hat into the ring. Neil moved things in a positive direction, and I felt like that needed to be carried forward. My focus for my tenure as Chair of the Legal League 100 will be on maintaining a clear vision of where the industry is, evolving industry requirements and opportunity for improvement, and bringing that vision to the membership.”

When asked if he had any advice for Diaz, Sherman laid out two suggestions. “Listen to our members—what their needs are and what their concerns are. Our goal is to provide feedback and advice on behalf of our membership to both the Five Star Institute and the industry at large.” Secondly, Sherman counseled Diaz to remain steady and consistent. “These are such important times,” Sherman said. “We need a level of consistency so that we can continue to build upon what we’ve done over the last decade.”

“Roy is a fantastic candidate,” Sherman continued. “He has a tremendous amount of experience, and he’s been a huge asset to the board. He’ll do a wonderful job.”

Looking ahead, Diaz highlighted the unique position the industry finds itself in as he takes the reins of the League. “We’re dealing with challenges we haven’t experienced before,” Diaz said. “We’re dealing with low portfolio volumes and an environment where there are no clear indicators of when or how that might change. I see a lot of question marks on the road ahead, which means we have to stay fluid as an industry and as a League. We can’t get too entrenched in a plan.”

“It’s imperative that we don’t throw the baby out with the bath water,” Sherman said. “There have been many good regulations imposed within our industry. There may have been some over-regulation because of the crisis, but that appears to be easing up. Our goal is to provide stability for America’s housing market through progressive collaboration.”

Diaz believes compliance will be one of the significant challenges to tackle during his tenure. “What’s expected of us in this low volume environment is very different than what was expected of us before the crisis. The amount of work involved in a file now is very different. There are probably 10 additional steps at each phase of the case that weren’t there before.”

As for Sherman, he said he believed servicers and financial services firms need to keep their eyes on the future—and on the technology that will take us there. “If you’re not learning about the fintech side of our industry and contemplating how that will adjust the way we do business, you’ll likely be left behind,” Sherman said.

Sherman doesn’t believe the human element will be any less critical, however. “People and methodical thinking will be as important as ever, but we will have better tools,” Sherman said. “It’s important that both the default servicing side and the origination side of our industry understand how technology is going to impact what they’re doing and how we have to adjust as small businesses. If you are a large bank servicer or non-bank servicer, you’re putting incredible manpower and money behind fintech. If you’re a small business law firm, you are working hard to stay current on what’s happening in the fintech space.”

Looking forward to initiatives he would like to implement within the Legal League, Diaz highlighted something he’s already been doing on his own. Diaz regularly sends out a monthly email blast from his firm, in which he spotlights a couple of important cases or developments and provides context and insights. “That’s an idea I think could carry over to the League,” Diaz said, “examining how we are communicating outside of the summits. How are we keeping that line of communication going?”

Sherman also emphasized the importance of maintaining communication between League firms and the rest of the industry. “We are constantly talking about how we can improve efficiencies between our firms, the servicers, and the investors themselves,” Sherman said. “We’re creating an open dialogue about what our industry looks like in 2018, which isn’t the same as 2009 or even 2015. We have to recognize that.”

“Change doesn’t come quickly, and trying to rush change doesn’t work,” Diaz said. “As an industry, we need to stay focused, stay patient, and stick to the plan. In my role as Legal League 100 Chair, I will keep a clear focus on industry needs— anticipating them, bringing them to the
forefront, and dealing with them.”

As he looked back on his time as Chair of the Legal League, Neil Sherman told DS News he believed the organization and its work was more important than ever. “Trying to solve our industry’s issues alone from my office in Detroit, Michigan, is a much harder uphill climb than doing it as a collective in an association like the Legal League. It’s up to our group to continue to evolve what we do.”

The Legal League 100 will assemble again for their Fall Servicer Summit during the annual Five Star Conference, happening this September 16-18 at the Hyatt Regency in Dallas.

About Author: David Wharton

David Wharton, Online Editor at the Five Star Institute, is a graduate of the University of Texas at Arlington, where he received his B.A. in English and minored in Journalism. Wharton has over 15 years of experience in journalism and previously worked at Thomson Reuters, a multinational mass media and information firm, as Associate Content Editor, focusing on producing media content related to tax and accounting principles and government rules and regulations for accounting professionals. Wharton has an extensive and diversified portfolio of freelance material, with published contributions in both online and print media publications. Wharton and his family currently reside in Arlington, Texas. He can be reached at David.Wharton@DSNews.com.


MReport Online Editor Brianna Gilpin speaks with Neil Sherman, Managing Partner at Schneiderman & Sherman, to discuss getting involved and staying relevant in the mortgage industry by keeping abreast of the latest news and being involved in networking groups.

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Criminals begin the wire fraud process way before the attempted theft occurs. Most often, they begin with a common social engineering technique called phishing. This can take the form of email messages, website forms or phone calls to fraudulently obtain private information. Through seemingly innocuous communication, criminals trick users into inputting their information or clicking a link that allows hackers to steal login and password information.

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On Wednesday, members of the Legal League 100Advisory Council met in Dallas, Texas, to discuss the state of the Legal League 100 and its subcommittees, and to create initiatives to reflect the concerns and needs of its membership.

A Five Star Institute professional association for law firms working in financial services, the strategy of the Legal League 100 has shifted along with changes in the default servicing industry,

At the Legal League 100 Spring Summit in April, Ed Delgado, Ex-Officio of the Legal League 100 and President and CEO of The Five Star Institute, told members of the Legal League 100 that the group’s focus going forward would be on advocacy as opposed to focusing on marketing.

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Best Homes Title Agency LLC is a full-service title company offering a wide range of residential and commercial title and escrow services. Established in 2006 with four title professionals, Best Homes Title, headquartered in Farmington Hills, has ballooned to 70 employees and 13 offices covering the entire State of Michigan.

We’re proud of our growth as we approach our first decade in business. It is our goal to be an industry leader in the title and settlement services sector, from the tip of the Upper Peninsula to the state’s southern borders, through the marriage of “old school” customer service and cutting-edge technology. Our team represents the very best of what our industry has to offer: experience, creativity, expedience, and simply the best customer service.

At Best Homes Title and its Commercial Division, BHT Commercial, we put our clients first while standing at the forefront of industry compliance. Best Homes regularly provides continuing education to the mortgage and realtor communities.

Along with our partner, Martindale Hubbell, AV-rated attorney, Peter Schneiderman, Neil Sherman has received a number of recent local and national honors. In 2014, he was named to DBusiness magazine’s “30 in their 30s,” as well as being recognized nationally by HousingWire magazine as a 2014 Real Estate Rising Star.

For Release: June 1, 2015

Contact: Neil Sherman, 248-286-3800


New acquisition drives firm’s focus on offering the best in terms of in-person access as well as the latest in technology

FARMINGTON HILLS, Mich. (June 1, 2015) – In its effort to become one of  Michigan’s largest and most experienced title- and escrow-services company, Best Homes Title announced today that it has grown with its acquisition of Rochester Hills-based Homeowners Title Agency.

This is the company’s largest Metro Detroit expansion, boosting Best Homes Title to 13 full-service offices across the state. Best Homes Title now has more than 75 employees, including an array of industry veterans in the areas of residential and commercial real estate.
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Through the years people have sought economical ways of streamlining succession plans of owning real estate and avoiding the prospect of probate court upon the owner’s demise.  Often this resulted in a parent or parents deeding property to themselves and their heirs or desired successors, as joint tenants with rights of survivorship.  In many cases that achieved the desired goal, passing title to the designated survivor(s) and voiding the time and expense involved with probating an estate.

But such a practice was not without potential issues or problems.  What if: (1) the grantor changed his or her mind as to who should get (or share) the real estate after his or her death?  Of course, there could be numerous factors that might change the relationships or appropriate nature of the grantees.  Perhaps one of the heirs (grantees) moved across the country and thus had no need or interests in the real estate.  What if one of the heirs had been the principal care giver in recent years and was deserving of a greater share?  Or what if there was a falling out between the grantor and one of the heirs?  How could the grantor change his or her mind and undo what had been previously put in place?
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BHT Commercial is the commercial division of Best Homes Title Agency, LLC, a full service title agency, providing comprehensive title and settlement services for residential and commercial real estate transactions. While the name Best Homes might suggest a strong dedication to residential transactions, BHT Commercial has the personnel, experience and applied technology to handle all types of real estate transactions – commercial, industrial and developmental, as well as default, new construction and extraordinary situations.

Led by Chief Operations Officer, Allan Dick, with over 40 years of commercial title insurance experience with local, national and multi-site transactions, BHT Commercial’s staff of dedicated commercial real estate experts include Attorney-President Neil Sherman and Attorney-Vice President Peter Schneiderman. Peter has well over 30 years of experience with commercial transactions, representing lenders, developers and commercial realtors, as well as Best Homes Title Agency.

Allan Dick’s background includes having been senior underwriter for three major title insurance underwriters, national accounts division manager for First American Title Insurance Company and is currently President of the Michigan Land Title Association. With a hands-on approach, he has underwritten, coordinated closed a wide variety of commercial transactions.

With the help of a strong support staff of some 40 title and escrow personnel, BHT Commercial and Best Homes Title Agency, LLC have the experience, expertise and staff to provide the very best in title and closing services for commercial real estate transactions of all types and sizes

When it comes to retail and residential title and closings, we understand the customer service that is needed to keep production at its best and clients’ expectations met and exceeded. One of the things that we pride ourselves on at Best Homes Title is that, since we have opened in 2006, our escrow department has continued to grow in all aspects, including REO, Retail, Commercial, and REFI business, which includes an exceptional support staff.

We pride ourselves on the hands-on approach from the time a file comes in until it is complete. This hands-on approach means having one main contact on our retail files, which we have found to be very important to our local clients. In addition, our office is very flexible and will send a closer out to ANY location requested by the local client to help accommodate our clients on any Purchase, REO, Commercial, REFI, FISBO and Retail Cash Deals.

Primary Services

  • Owner and Lender Title Insurance
  • Residential and Commercial Closings
  • Escrow Agent
  • For Sale By Owner
  • Title Searches
  • Foreclosure Guarantees

Additional Services

  • Online Ordering
  • Office Hours 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.
  • Home/Workplace Closings
  • Eleven Closing Locations in throughout Michigan
  • Evening and Weekend Closings
  • Staff Attorneys
  • Ultra-mobile Professional Closers (accessible by email or cell phone)

Best Homes Title Customers Have Online Access To

  • Place new orders
  • View up-to-the-minute file status
  • View and print closing and title documents
  • Share documents