Legal League 100 Leadership Convenes to Discuss Strategy Shift

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.

“The abatement in defaults since the crisis has necessitated a shift in strategy for the Legal League 100,” Delgado said. “The primary objective of Legal League 100 is advocacy and on becoming a powerful voice for representations in decisions that affect the industry. Our focus will also be on helping default servicing law firms to be sustainable in today’s changing default servicing landscape.”

The meeting was led by Neil Sherman from Schneiderman & Sherman, P.C., who was elected Chairperson of the Legal League 100 Advisory Council in April, as well as Delgado.

Sherman spoke to the need for law firms to diversify their business strategies and explore cost containment strategies so as to remain competitive in a shifting marketplace. “We as an industry and a membership are at a crossroads. It is imperative through partnership and collaboration with the servicing community that we as attorneys aid in the development of solutions that support overall industry viability. In these challenging times in our industry it is our responsibility shine,” Sherman said.

“The abatement in defaults since the crisis has necessitated a shift in strategy for the Legal League 100.”

Ed Delgado, President and CEO, The Five Star Institute

Other leadership changes announced in April for the Advisory Council were the election of Michelle Garcia Gilbert of Gilbert Garcia Law Group, P.A., as Vice Chairperson; Roy Diaz of SHD Legal Group, P.A., and David G. Marowske of Potestivo & Associates, P.C., to general positions with the Advisory Council; and Stephen M. Hladik of Hladik, Onorato & Federman, LLP, as Government Affairs Subcommittee Chairperson. Re-elected to Advisory Council general positions in April were Jeffrey B. Fisher of BP Fisher Law Group; Erin M. Laurito of Laurito & Laurito, LLC; and Richard Nielson of Nielson & Sherry, PSC.

“I am excited in my role as Vice Chairperson to act as a liaison between Advisory Council and the Legal League Subcommittees to create initiatives to reflect the concerns of the membership as a whole,” Gilbert said. “Today’s meeting was an important first step to outlining these initiatives and putting thought into action.”

The newly-elected and re-elected members joined Advisory Council members Adam Codilis, Codilis and Associates, P.C., and J. Anthony Van Ness, Van Ness Law Firm, PLC.

At Wednesday’s meeting, the Advisory Council discussed initiatives for 2016 and 2017 to advocate on behalf of the Legal League 100 membership at large and address important issues such as law firm viability sustainability, dealing with cost increases, entering new business arenas, and the creation of uniform procedures throughout the industry.

The Legal League 100 Fall Summit will be September 13 as part of the 2016 Five Star Conference and Expo. The conference will be September 11 through 13 in Dallas, Texas.



The Faces of Title Work – Best Homes Title Agency




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.

Best Homes Title Expands to Rochester Hills

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.

The acquisition became official June 1, said Best Homes Title President Neil Sherman. Homeowners Title Agency owner Phil Campbell will be a key advisor, bringing his decades of experience to Best Homes Title and to his long-time clients during the transition, Sherman said. Eight Homeowners Title Agency employees will continue work from the Rochester Hills location.

Campbell, a real-estate attorney with more than 35 years of experience, founded Homeowners Title Agency in 2004 to provide client-centered real-estate transactions.

“In the past few years, we’ve added offices in Troy, Waterford, Big Rapids and Greenville. Now, we’ve got a presence in Rochester Hills. This not only increases our footprint, but it also increases our residential expertise,” Sherman said. “We will continue to look for new partnerships that are a match for our drive toward top-notch customer service and technical savvy.”

This Michigan-centric expansion is part of Best Homes Title’s desire to be an industry leader in the state, both in terms of the services it provides and the kind of technology it offers, Sherman said. Having 13 locations allows Best Homes Title to give its clients in-person access across the state to its team of real-estate attorneys, title and escrow experts and staff.

Its industry-leading technology also serves clients who want fast, reliable information to close a deal. That includes Best Homes Title’s Client on Demand service, giving brokers and Realtors online access to documents, as well as its new customer-friendly app.

“It’s quite unusual for a title agency to have an independent app,” Sherman said. “We think it’s a great thing for realtors and mortgage officers. It allows them to run estimates directly from their phones and send them to their customers. It’s complete interconnectivity and sets a new standard for the marketplace.”

Best Homes Title was founded in 2006 by real-estate attorneys Peter Schneiderman and Neil Sherman. Under their direction, Best Homes Title has grown from four people in Farmington Hills to more than 75 employees in 13 Michigan locations, averaging a monthly volume of more than 1,000 transactions.

The longtime business partners, who offered title services to their national clients, saw an opportunity to combine their industry experience and focus on customer service through the creation of Best Homes Title, an independent agent within the escrow and title industry. Best Homes Title is underwritten by First American Title Insurance Co., Fidelity Insurance Co. and Old Republic Insurance Co., providing expanded insurance solutions to its clients.

The two real-estate attorneys began working together at Schneiderman & Sherman P.C., a Michigan law firm serving the mortgage industry for more than 35 years. Mr. Schneiderman has continuously represented clients in the real estate and mortgage banking industry since 1975. Mr. Sherman, who serves as its Managing Attorney, joined the firm in 2002.

About Best Homes Title Agency LLC

Founded in 2006, Best Homes Title Agency, LLC, provides comprehensive title insurance, title examination and closing services throughout the state of Michigan. Best Homes Title is headquartered in Farmington Hills, Mich., with offices in 12 other locations, including Troy, Waterford, Saginaw and Grand Rapids. For more information, visit or call the main office at 248-286-3800.

Estate Planning Variations and Deeds – One Popular Option, the Lady Bird Deed

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?

With such “joint tenant” deeds, it would take the cooperation of all of the grantees to re-convey into the configuration now desired by the original grantor.  That might be simply undertaken.  But there is certainly no guarantee.  Equally problematic might be the scenario where the original grantor now wishes to take out a mortgage on the property or refinance.  Of course, that mortgage will need to be signed by ALL the title holders (even though they are not the “borrower”).  The same would apply should the grantor decide to the sell the property.  All this ties the original grantor’s hands, in exchange for avoiding probate.  Is there a better way?

Perhaps, yes.  A different estate planning tool, developed 40+ years ago by U.S. President Lyndon Johnson to transfer property to his wife “Lady Bird” Johnson, seems to have gained popularity in recent years.  Simply put, the grantor conveys his or her (or their) interest in the property, while at the same time retaining a life estate, coupled with the full power to convey, mortgage or otherwise alienate the property during the grantor’s lifetime.  If the grantor does not exercise this power during his or her lifetime, the grantee(s) (remaindermen) become vested in fee title without any further action or probate court process.

There are variations as to the language and style that can achieve this end result.  And, as always, estate planning and the drafting of such specifically worded deeds should only be done by a real estate attorney after the necessary counseling with the grantor/client.  But it is another estate planning tool.  This form of conveyance and reservation is supported by Michigan Land Title Standards 9.3 and 9.9, and Michigan Compiled Law 565.114.

BHT Commercial

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

Best Homes Title Agency Residential Services

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

Best Homes Title Agency moves into West Michigan

Grand Rapids

FARMINGTON HILLS, MI — Best Homes Title Agency announced on Thursday, Jan. 3, that it has acquired The Closing Office Title Agency of Grand Rapids.

“We’re so proud to be further expanding our reach across Michigan with the addition of a Grand Rapids office,” said Best Homes Title President and Co-Founder Neil Sherman. “But even more so, we are thrilled to be acquiring an agency with as stellar a reputation as The Closing Agency.”

With the acquisition, Best Homes Title will now operate The Closing Office Title Agency’s six offices in Grand Rapids, Portland, Grandville, Rockford, Newaygo and Kentwood.

“We enjoy a shared work ethic, growth strategy and experienced professional teams that are committed to providing superior customer service. It’s a win for us, and for our collective current and prospective clients,” Sherman said.

Founded in 2006 by Sherman and Peter Schneiderman, Best Homes Title has 45 employees between its headquarters in Farmington Hills and office in Saginaw. The addition of The Closing Office team will increase their total staff to 60.

“Joining the Best Homes Title team means only good things for our customers,” said Wes Parkinson, President of The Closing Office. “Our team will be able to offer expanded insurance solutions, and clients will benefit from access to even greater statewide services; a tremendous asset moving forward.”