2012 NIU Law Review Symposium Speakers

Keynote Speaker

Hon. Mathias W. DelortHon. Mathias W. Delort is an Associate Judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County in Chicago. He is currently assigned to the Chancery Division, where his docket primarily consists of 7,000 pending mortgage foreclosure cases. He earned his B.S. in Mathematics cum laude from DePaul University and his J.D. from the John Marshall Law School, where he received the Dean’s Academic Scholarship. He is currently an adjunct professor at John Marshall.

He previously was a partner and head of the Local Government Practice Group of Robbins, Schwartz, Nicholas, Lifton & Taylor, Ltd., specializing in local government and election law. In that role, he represented numerous Chicago-area municipalities and other governmental bodies for a period of over twenty years. He is the Editor-in-Chief of the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education’s Election Law handbook and is the primary author of the new Cook County Circuit Court Mortgage Foreclosure Bench Book.

As a practicing attorney, he earned the distinction of being named a "Super Lawyer" and "Leading Lawyer" in the field of Cities and Municipalities Law, and as a Local Government Fellow by the International Municipal Lawyers Association. He is the past chair of the Constitutional, Election and Local Government Law committees of the Chicago Bar Association and is a former member of its Board of Managers. Before being admitted to the bar, he worked on the professional staffs of both the Illinois House of Representatives and Cook County Board of Commissioners.

Featured Speakers

Kristen BarnesKristen Barnes is an Assistant Professor of Law at the University of Akron School of Law. She teaches in the areas of property, real estate transactions, and comparative law. Prior to entering academia, Ms. Barnes practiced commercial real estate law at both large and small firms in Chicago. She has represented public and private businesses, developers, REITs, and lenders in various projects involving municipal development, retail, office buildings, leasing, commercial sales and acquisitions, and financing. Ms. Barnes received her J.D. from Harvard Law School and a Ph.D. in Literature from Duke University.

James DurhamJames Geoffrey Durham is a Professor of Law at the University of Dayton School of Law. In addition to publishing articles in the areas of legal ethics and real estate transactions and finance, he is the co-author of the law school course book Commercial Real Estate Transactions: A Project and Skills-Orient Approach, 2nd Ed. and the practitioner treatise Ohio Real Property Law and Practice, 6th Ed. He is active in the Real Property Division of the American Bar Association Section on Real Property, Trust and Estates where he has been the Chair of the Ethics and Professionalism Committee, currently is Chair of the Legal Education and Uniform Laws Group, and is the incoming division secretary.

Dr. Saby GhoshrayDr. Saby Ghoshray is the founder of the Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies. With over a decade of corporate experience with premier investment banks and international corporations, Dr. Ghoshray founded the Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies to foster and disseminate advanced legal scholarship premised on multidisciplinary approach. Besides serving in various executive positions from Global Mergers & Acquisitions to Corporate Compliance, he has been a prolific researcher in multifaceted disciplines, investigating issues from cross-cultural perspectives. While the focal point of his scholarship searches for equality in the legal process vis-à-vis the prism of gender, class and ethnicity, Dr. Ghoshray continues to consult for corporate disputes and provide transactional guidance. His scholarship on various subsets of International Law, Comparative Constitutionalism and Corporate Law & Governance, among others, has been published in various prestigious journals, including Albany Law Review, ILSA Journal of International and Comparative Law, Fordham International Law, Santa Clara Law Review, European Law Journal ERA-Forum, Temple Political & Civil Rights Law Review, Loyola Chicago Law Journal, Michigan State International Law Journal, and Georgetown International Law Review, among others. Most notable among his scholarship on the ongoing mortgage crisis is Dissecting the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010: Peering through the Lens of Economic Principles and Constitutional Precepts (2012). Dr. Ghoshray is multilingual, has travelled extensively while lecturing as both Panel Chair and Moderator in countless legal symposiums in wide-ranging topics of law, policy & corporate governance.

Linda JunLinda Jun is the Program Administrator for the Madison/Bond County Mortgage Foreclosure Mediation Program. She was actively involved in the planning and implementation of the foreclosure mediation program and has served as the Program Administrator since the program began in April 2011. She also recruits and trains the volunteer mediators for the program. Ms. Jun graduated from the Washington University School of Law in 2010 and is licensed to practice law in the State of Illinois. Prior to attending law school, Ms. Jun worked as an AmeriCorps VISTA Paralegal at the Legal Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago. She holds a bachelor’s degree in history and sociology from Northwestern University.

Kermit LindKermit J. Lind is a former Clinical Professor of Law at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, Cleveland State University, where he was on the faculty for 16 years. Prof. Lind supervised students in the Urban Development Law Clinic, a teaching practice providing legal services to neighborhood and community-based nonprofit organizations engaged in housing and community development. Besides teaching skills to new lawyers, the Clinic plays a leading role in the region’s struggle against residential neighborhood destabilization in the mortgage crisis. The Clinic pioneered in civil nuisance abatement litigation. Prof. Lind was co-counsel in two civil suits filed in 2008 to require that global banks owning hundreds of homes in Cleveland abate public nuisance conditions in the houses they own, as required by state and local laws. He provides an array of Continuing Legal Education courses for lawyers. Prof. Lind’s most recent law review publication “Can Public Nuisance Law Protect Your Neighborhood From Big Banks,” XLIV Suffolk University Law Review 89 (2011) explores the application of nuisance law theory to the local impact of the mortgage crisis. A recent article in the Fall 2011 issue of Shelterforce describes the work of the Cleveland Municipal Housing Court enforcing housing and building codes in the mortgage crisis. Currently Prof. Lind consults with public and pubic interest agencies on community development law and public policy.

J. Damian OrtizJ. Damian Ortiz is a clinical professor at The John Marshall Law School. He teaches fair housing, fair lending, civil rights, legal writing, and other courses. He has litigated fair housing cases in administrative, state, federal, and appellate courts. His most noteworthy case is Sullivan-Lackey v. Godinez, 815 N.E.2d 822 (Ill. App. 1st Dist. 2004). Lackey held that the federal housing assistance program, Section 8, is a lawful source of income. The court further stated that such a finding is consistent with the City of Chicago's policy to assure full and equal opportunity to obtain fair and adequate housing without discrimination against them because of their source of income. In Ho v. Donovan, 569 F.3d 677 (7th Cir. 2009), the court affirmed the trial court's decision on liability and damages. Professor Ortiz conducts fair housing, lending, foreclosure defense and civil rights trainings nationally. He supervises staff attorneys and law students at the nationally renowned Fair Housing Legal Clinic. Professor Ortiz has received a number of awards for his community service and dedication to civil rights. Previously he worked as a judicial clerk for the Honorable Ronald A. Guzman of the United States Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

He is an active member of the Hispanic Lawyers Association of Illinois, the Hispanic Bar Association, Illinois State Bart Association's Judicial Review Committee, American Bar Association, Chicago Bar Association, and the Clinical Legal Education Association. Other community activities include the Cook County Hospital Interpreter Program, the Chicago Chamber of Commerce Youth Motivation Program, Coordinated Advise and Referral Program for Legal Services (CARPLS), and Minority Legal Education Resource Volunteer (MLER). He serves on the boards of Public Interest Law Initiative, Metropolitan Housing Development Corporation, Hispanic Lawyers Association of Illinois and St. Augustine College.

Ralph J. SchumannRalph J. Schumann is a sole practitioner in Schaumburg, Illinois, where he concentrates his practice in real estate law, estate planning, and business and corporate law. Mr. Schumann was admitted to the Illinois bar and the Northern District of Illinois in 1983, and the U.S. Court of Appeals in 1989. He currently serves as President of the Illinois Real Estate Lawyers Association (IRELA), as Vice-Chair of the Illinois State Bar Association Real Estate Law Section Council, and as a member of the Multi-Board Residential Real Estate Contract Drafting Committee as the IRELA representative. In addition, Mr. Schumann was selected by his peers to be a Member of the LEADING LAWYERS NETWORK in the area of Real Estate Law: Residential. Mr. Schumann is a Title Examiner and Agent for Attorneys’ Title Guaranty Fund, Inc. He holds a law degree from the Chicago-Kent College of Law, (J.D. with honors).

Mr. Schumann has been a panelist and speaker at numerous seminars regarding various real estate law issues, and has authored numerous articles on real estate issues, among them “Methods of Taking or Holding Title”, Chapter 8 of Residential Real Estate Handbook, IICLE (2005), and “The Unmarried Couple Purchaser”, Illinois State Bar Association 4th Annual Real Estate Short Course (2008). Mr. Schumann also spoke on the topic of “The Unmarried Couple Purchaser” at the 4th Annual Real Estate Short Course, and on the topics of Transfer on Death Instruments and Civil Unions for the November, 2011, Harold I. Levine Real Estate Institute sponsored by Attorneys’ Title Guaranty Fund, Inc. He has handled thousands of real estate transactions for both buyers and sellers. He has spoken at numerous real estate law programs for the Illinois State Bar Association, the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education, the Illinois Real Estate Lawyers Association, the Northwest Suburban Bar Association, the Chicago Bar Association, and for Attorneys’ Title Guaranty Fund, Inc.

Debra Pogrund StarkDebra Pogrund Stark is a professor of law at The John Marshall Law School in Chicago, Illinois where she teaches real estate related courses and a domestic violence law class with a clinical component. Her current research is focused primarily upon consumer protection in the context of home loans and home purchases. She was awarded in June 2010 (with colleague Dr. Jessica Choplin) a $250,000 grant from the National Science Foundation's Law and Social Sciences Division to investigate how prospective homeowners read, assess and recall important information before agreeing to the terms of home loans. In their three year funded project they are running a series of experiments to test their theories on how unscrupulous mortgage lenders and mortgage brokers can take advantage of consumers' cognitive limitations to reduce the effectiveness of home loan disclosures and to test various intervention strategies, including mortgage counseling. Based upon the results of their experiments Professor Stark has proposed legal reforms to better protect consumers. She currently serves on the State of Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation's Residential Mortgage Board, a group tasked with making recommendations to address the home loan crisis here in Illinois. Professor Stark is a prolific writer authoring thirteen law review articles (several utilizing empirical data and inter-disciplinary work—one in the premier law and psychology journal of the American Psychological Association) on real estate and consumer protection matters, twelve bar and real estate business publication articles, and has authored, co-authored or served as general editor of five books and textbooks, including "Commercial Real Estate Transactions: A Project and Skills Oriented Approach" (2d ed. 2009 Lexis) which has been adopted at over thirty law schools since the first edition came out in 2001. Stark was an active member of the Real Property Section of the American Bar Association (chairing its Foreclosure and Related Remedies Committee and Vice-Chairing its Pro Bono Committee), is a member of the American College of Real Estate Lawyers, and is currently Chair of the Real Estate Section of the Association of American Law Schools.