Michael C. Obertone, J.D.
404-***-**** Cell Phone
STEWART TITLE GUARANTY COMPANY, Atlanta, GA
Underwriting Counsel Commercial Services January 2020-Present
Reviewed title for insurability as requested by our clients.
Worked with the in-house staff answering commercial underwiring questions.
Presented all required commercial high liability files to the STGC Executive Committee for approval.
STEWART TITLE GUARANTY COMPANY, Roswell, GA
Underwriting Counsel March 2017-December 2019
Reviewed title for insurability as requested by our Georgia agents.
Issued Letters of Indemnity for other underwriters’ agents based on prior policies issued on our paper.
Consulted with the Claims Department and advised them of the proper curative actions to be taken on all Georgia claims files.
Presented all required commercial high liability files to the STGC Executive Committee for approval.
THE MARR LAW FIRM, Atlanta, GA
Supervising Attorney September 2016-February 2017
Duties mirrored those with my own practice, Georgia Closing Associates, Inc., as the owner of the firm had very little previous real estate experience.
From Day 1, assessed the firm’s methods and procedures.
Made substantial changes to the methods of production making the process more efficient and reduced errors/claims.
Reconciled the firm’s escrow account, balanced the account, collected monies owed, and verified wire amounts in order to address specific shortfalls in the account.
Developed training materials for all positions within the firm.
PEAK TITLE & ABSTRACT, LLC, Atlanta, GA
Title Manager April 2016-September 2016
In charge of all default title production for both the Georgia and Florida offices.
Managed 2 supervisors, 14 examiners and 5 title assistants.
Met all production goals and generated positive scorecards.
Developed training materials for all examiners and title assistants.
Assisted in the development of a company specific software system tracking orders, examinations and policies.
Manager for all commercial examinations for the State of Georgia, supervising and approving the preparation of all commitments, proformas, endorsements and policies.
LAND SERVICES USA, INC., Stone Mountain, GA
Commercial Underwriting Counsel July 2014-April 2016
Title insurance underwriter for this national real estate firm’s Southeast regional office, having underwritten $5 billion in files to date. Responsible for supervising title preparation and underwriting for all 13 states.
Directed all ordering of titles through local title abstractors and attorneys.
Reviewed and examined all incoming titles
Finalized commitments after thorough review of prior policies and title reports.
Responded to counsel’s title comments and made all risk-based decisions for 3 separate title insurers.
Supervised and approved the preparation of all proformas and requested endorsements.
Directed the preparation and delivery of all title policies.
Performed all post-closing reviews of files and directed the electronic filing and purging of all necessary documents.
Supervised all paralegal and title staff.
GEORGIA CLOSING ASSOCIATES, INC., Duluth, GA
President and Owner May 2001-December 2014
Founded and led a legal service and consultancy practice, with concentration in real estate law. Consistently ensured high-quality operations through application of novel and industry-leading practices, quality controls and strong customer-service orientation.
Directed all real estate closings (~170/month at the peak), with an excess of $300 million processed and reconciled through the company’s escrow account
Volume was closed exclusively by 1 or 2 attorneys, mandating uniformity in closing files to prevent unnecessary follow-up. Filled in at all positions when needed.
Consistently provided strong customer service with 24-48 hour turnaround on all title orders and necessary documents
Instituted title review and resolution by attorneys, dramatically reducing turnaround time from 4-5 days and freed preclosing to address pressing file requests
Cataloged title scenarios and title language for commitments, allowing preclosing to more accurately prepare title commitments
Developed an unique filing system which provided for immediate location of files and recognition of the files’ status
Hired, trained and managed an average of eight employees across four departments.
Developed formal cross-training program to ensure consistent service at all times.
Performed all accounting for the practice; including accounts payable, payroll and employee health insurance
Led daily meetings to review schedule and update status of each file to provide for managerial action to efficiently complete each closing
Implemented continuous quality improvement (CQM) approach to enable employees to suggest methods to improve efficiency and provide the most responsive service
Performed preliminary title examinations to rule out liens or other encumbrances which might prevent files from progressing to closing, saving our clients time and money
Introduced novel procedures to conform with new RESPA requirements, providing insured closing letters, preliminary HUDs and other related closing documents within hours of each title order. Procedures prevented clients from having to re-disclose relevant fees or in the alternative, having to reduce their fees at closing
Transitioned practice from a paper format to electronic; reducing paper and cost and allowing post-closing on-site access to older files
Continually examined forms and processes utilized in the practice to address changing regulations and other issues encountered
NORTH GEORGIA TITLE, INC., Norcross, GA
Senior Attorney December 1996-May 2001
Served as closing attorney after law school. Developed numerous process improvement, quality control, and customer service procedures to enhance operations.
Promoted to Senior Attorney within 6 months of hire
Responsible for all closings, totaling 160 monthly at the company’s peak; sole attorney for the majority of these closings
Outsourced title examinations by region resulting in higher marginal cost, but gaining a competitive advantage as a result of 24-48 hour turnaround time; five to seven years before it became common industry practice
Assisted in hiring and training all employees; managed an average of eight employees in four departments
Developed processes across all four departments to reduced loss and increase efficiency, including title check downs to reduce post-closing issues
Produced a reference library of real estate related documents and forms to immediately address clients’ needs
Marketed services throughout northern Georgia
Eliminated the use of individual office voicemail, requiring employees to communicate to clients directly and provide an immediate response to issues being addressed
Developed a broad knowledge of the industry and each of the positions within the practice
NORTHSIDE TITLE & ABSTRACT CO., INC., Atlanta, GA
Paralegal/Title Examiner August 1996-November 1996
Reviewed titles and resolved issues for upcoming closings, manually examined title in most of Metro Atlanta counties (prior to the use of computer examination programs)
Supervised all examinations in Fulton County; consistently acknowledged as the most difficult county to examine title in Georgia, based on incomplete indexing and cross referencing
ECKLAND AND ASSOCIATES, Norcross, GA
Associate October 1995- July1996
Learned every aspect of the closing process, from processing to underwriting to closing
Implemented several quality control and performance improvement efforts, including:
A two-folder file system designed to identify title documents rapidly and efficiently
A labeling procedure to rapidly illustrate the status of each file, improving and client services
Trained paralegals and new associates in the developing procedures within the firm
Performed every position within the firm, which did not utilize any real estate paralegals
Prepared and issued all title policies
Preformed the majority of the closings
Marketed on behalf of the firm, gaining and maintaining several new clients
CONSULTANCY AND OTHER PROFESSIONAL SERVICES
Advisory Counsel and Consultant May 2010-February 2017
Serve as quality-control an audit consultant for real-estate related law practices, providing advice and expertise on operations, quality control and service. Services performed as engaged.
Performed overall performance review of practice procedures
Verified files, insuring payoffs, recordings and releases were properly paid and released
Researched and resolved files with shortfalls and missing recordings; worked with the mortgage companies, bank, and Clerks of Superior Courts to correct all issues
Streamlined file intake, preparation and distribution to increase efficiency; changes prevented extensive delays in closing
Instituted procedures to ensure no future shortages and eliminate potential future claims
Provide and implement (as desired) performance improvement recommendations
EMORY UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF LAW, Atlanta, GA
Juris Doctorate May 1995; Top 1/3 of class; Phi Delta Phi honor society
UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI SCHOOL OF LAW, Coral Gables, FL
Attended, 1992-1993; transferred to Emory University
Class Rank: Top 6% (23/362)
Invited to join the University of Miami Law Review
DUKE UNIVERSITY, Durham, NC
AB Degree in Political Science and History May 1991
Treasurer, Phi Kappa Sigma fraternity
Member, State Bar of Georgia
Member, Chief Justice's Commission on Professionalism
Member, Georgia Title Standards Standing Committee
Participated in the Georgia Bar Association’s Mentoring Program
Licensed Florida Agent
Speaker-2019 Georgia Title Standards- Transfers and Agents-Chapter 8, Conveyances by and to Trustees-Chapter 29
Creator/Speaker-2017. 2018, and 2019 Georgia Title Training-Individual training for agents firms and their staff covering all aspects of Georgia title law and techniques for success
Underwriting Panel-2018 Fall SLTA Seminar
Speaker-2018 Stewart Title 101-Title Claims
Speaker-2018 Stewart Title 101-Commitments and Title Policies
Speaker-2018 Georgia Residential Real Estate Seminar-POAs in Your Residential Closing (No One Wants to Attend Closing)
Speaker-2018 Georgia Title Standards-The Uniform Power of Attorney Act (UPOAA) Comes to Georgia
Underwriting Roundtable-2017 Stewart Title Real Estate in Review
Speaker-2017 Stewart Title 101-Powers of Attorney
Speaker-2017 Stewart Title 101-Trusts
Speaker-2017 Stewart Title 101-Corporate Entities and Authority
Speaker-2017 Stewart Title East Coast Underwriting Seminar-Negatives Associated with PACE Loan Programs
Speaker,-2012 Georgia Association of Realtors Conference and Expo-MARS-Another Planet? Sometimes Seems Like It!
Speaker,-2012 Georgia Association of Realtors Conference and Expo -Take Control of Your Buyer Side (REO Updates)