2018 Convention



NCLTA 2018 Annual Convention


September 13 - 15, 2018

Pinehurst Resort

Village of Pinehurst, NC


Carolina Update

The most recent issue of the Carolina Update newsletter issued by the North Carolina Land Title Association.

Meet the Speakers

Convention Speakers







Peter Birnbaum

Peter Birnbaum has served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Attorneys’ Title Guaranty Fund, Inc. (ATG) since 1991. He currently oversees a staff of more than 200 people and annual revenues in excess of $75 million.

In 2011, Birnbaum was inducted as a Laureate in the Academy of Illinois Lawyers, the highest honor bestowed by the Illinois State Bar Association. This award honors Peter’s lifetime of service to the public and the profession. In 2013 he received the Chicago Bar Association Vanguard Award for promoting diversity in the profession. Also, in 2005, he received the Abraham Lincoln Marovitz Lend A Hand Foundation “Making a Difference” award. Birnbaum has also held positions on various corporate and philanthropic boards. He served as president of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Chicago. He and his wife Juliet have been a Big Brother and Big Sister for the past sixteen years. Birnbaum is also President of the Jesse White Foundation. He is helping lead efforts to build the Jesse White Community Center. He was honored by the Illinois Legislature in House Resolution 384 for his work with children’s charities.

A past president of the Alumni Board and current Board of Overseers member of the Chicago-Kent College of Law, Birnbaum was honored with a Distinguished Service Award from the College in 2004. In addition, in 2013 he was named one of Chicago-Kent College of Law’s 125 Alumni of Distinction of its 125 year history for his outstanding professional and community service achievements. He was elected to the Board of the American Land Title Association in 2009 and currently serves as Treasurer. In 2014 he was selected to receive the Illinois Bar Foundation Distinguished Service to Law and Society Award.

Birnbaum has authored or been featured in dozens of regional and national newspapers and trade publications, including: The Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, Illinois Bar Journal, Crain’s Chicago Business, Chicago Lawyer, and many other real estate and legal trade publications. He has also been interviewed on several local and national TV stations, including: Fox News, NBC, and WGN. He has testified in the U.S. Congress, the Illinois Senate, and the Illinois Supreme Court Rules Committee. He speaks to audiences from legal or real estate trade associations across the country.          

In January 2004, Birnbaum was appointed as a judge to the seven-member Illinois Court of Claims. The Court hears cases en banc and rules on claims against the State. Birnbaum began his career at ATG as a law clerk in 1981, while a first-year student at the Chicago-Kent College of Law. He advanced to positions of staff attorney, and vice president and counsel. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Iowa in 1979. Birnbaum lives in Chicago with his wife and their three children.

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Chris Burti

Chris earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Management from East Carolina University and received his Juris Doctor from the University of North Carolina School of Law (Chapel Hill). 

After fifteen years in private practice he left the law firm of Lewis & Burti in 1994 to join Statewide Title, Inc., where he serves as Vice President and Senior Legal Counsel. Chris concentrated his practice in the areas of Commercial Real Estate, Residential Real Estate and Governmental Law.  As counsel for Statewide Title, Inc., Chris works with attorneys across the State in resolving complex legal issues in residential, governmental and commercial transactions involving real property. He is active in providing input and advice on drafting legislation to increase certainty in land records, mortgage lending and to correct problems affecting real property.

Chris is the principal course planner and speaker for continuing legal education seminars for Statewide Title, Inc., and has been a CLE presenter for the North Carolina Bar Association, The University of North Carolina School of Law, Wake Forest University School of Law, Professional Educational Systems, Inc., the North Carolina Association of Municipal Attorneys and other professional associations.  He is the principal author on the topic of Real Property Law for the Statewide Title, Inc. Newsletter and Legal Memorandum. These articles were frequently reprinted in the Campbell Law Observer and other legal journals.

Chris is a Past President of the North Carolina Land Title Association and has served for two terms as its General Counsel. He has previously served on the North Carolina Bar Association Real Property Section Council, the North Carolina Bar Association Board of Governors, on its Executive Committee and currently serves as Past Chair of the Senior Lawyers Division.

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Zipporah Edwards

Zipporah (“Zip”) Basile Edwards co-chair’s Horack Talley’s litigation practice group and is a litigator working primarily in the resolution of disputes involving real property, including concentrations in the following areas: coverage opinions and representation of title insurance companies; defense counsel for insureds; defalcation and fraud recovery; mechanics lien defense; resolution of access, easement and boundary issues; subrogation litigation; and title curative measures. Ms. Edwards addresses these issues in all forums, including, regularly representing clients in bankruptcy adversary proceedings arising out of real estate and lien priority disputes. Ms. Edwards also provides malpractice defense for attorneys, focusing on claims and litigation arising out of real estate transactions.

Located in Charlotte, North Carolina, Ms. Edwards practices in all State and Federal Courts in North Carolina. In addition, Ms. Edwards is admitted to practice in the US Circuit Court of Appeals (4th Circuit) and The United States Supreme Court. She uses her experience in real estate law, creditors’ rights, foreclosures, litigation, construction law and bankruptcy, to provide her clients with effective and efficient representation. As part of a team of real estate and title resolution attorneys, she is able to leverage Horack Talley’s diverse practice areas to craft comprehensive and practical solutions to real estate problems. Ms. Edwards is a member of the Litigation and Real Property Sections of the North Carolina Bar Association. She currently serves on the Litigation Committee for the NCBA Real Property Section. She received her B.A. and J.D. degrees from Wake Forest University in 1991 and 1994, respectively.

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David Ferrell

David P. Ferrell is a partner with Vandeventer Black LLP’s Raleigh NC office, where he concentrates his law practice in civil matters, including legislative representation, eminent domain, real estate, civil litigation, professional liability defense, cooperative and public utilities, administrative and regulatory, business, and construction litigation. Ferrell is NCLTA’s lobbyist and serves as legal and legislative counsel to professional trade associations, including representing their interests before the General Assembly and various Executive Branch agencies. He has lectured on right-of-way acquisition and condemnation law at seminars and is the Editor of Vandeventer Black’s Eminent Domain and Property Rights Newsletter. Ferrell earned B.A. degrees in Political Science and Economics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a J.D. from Campbell University School of Law. He is admitted to practice in North Carolina and the U. S. District Court, Eastern, Middle and Western Districts of North Carolina. He is a member of the Wake County (Member: Professionalism Committee), North Carolina (Member, Real Property; Zoning, Planning and Land Use; and Administrative Law Sections) and American Bar Associations.

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Elizabeth Harrison

Elizabeth R. Harrison concentrates in residential and commercial real estate transactional work as the owner of Elizabeth R. Harrison Attorney at Law, PC, 721 W. Morgan St., Raleigh, NC.  She is a 1995 graduate of Campbell University School of Law and 1991 graduate of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.  Elizabeth formerly was In-House Counsel for The College Foundation, Inc., a partner at Gunter & Harrison, PLLC in Raleigh, and an associate with Levine & Stewart, PLLC in Chapel Hill. 

Activities and Awards include: Business North Carolina Legal Elite for 2008, 2013 and 2014; Chair, NCBA Real Estate Section Council 2014-2015; Chair-Elect, NCBA Real Estate Section Council 2013-2014; Member, NCBA Real Estate Section Council, 2009-2012; Tri-Chair, NC Best Practices Task Force 2013-2015; NCBA YLD Outstanding Young Lawyer Award for 2002-2003;  Board Member, Wake County Bar Association, 2002-2004, 2010-2012; Member, WCBA Grievance Committee 2003-2006; Chair WCBA Swearing In Committee 2002; Member WCBA Social Committee 2002-2003; Member WCBA Directory Committee 2000-2001; President Wake County Bar Association Young Lawyers Division, 2000-2001; Chair WCBA YLD Ask a Lawyer Day 1997; Co-Chair WCBA YLD Social Committee 1998; Chair, NCBA YLD Community Relations Committee 2002; Division Director, NC Bar Association Young Lawyers Division, 1999-2002; Member, NCBA Strategic Planning Committee 2002-2005; Board Member, NC Museum of Art Contemporaries, 1998-2002; Board Member, NC Museum of History Young Associates, 1998-2002; Board Member, Hopeline, 2001-2004; Member of the Alliance of Disability Advocates Center for Independent Living Affordable Housing Committee, 2010-2011; and Member HBUM Finance Team 2011-2013.

Elizabeth is married to Joey Propst a construction litigation attorney who practices with Jordan Price Wall Gray & Jones. Together they have two children, Rogers Propst (9) and Harry Propst (7).  Her father is R. Woody Harrison Jr. a real estate lawyer with Narron & Holdford, PA in Wilson, North Carolina.

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John Sarratt

John Sarratt is a partner in Harris Sarratt & Hodges LLP in Raleigh, North Carolina. His principal area of practice is Business Litigation. He received his B.A. degree summa cum laude from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1969 and his J.D. degree cum laude from Harvard University in 1972. In addition to representing clients in litigation matters, Mr. Sarratt is also a Certified Mediator and an American Arbitration Association panel arbitrator. He has been active in the North Carolina Bar Association, serving most recently as Chair of the Lawyer Effectiveness & Quality of Life Committee and as Vice President of BarCARES, a confidential, short-term intervention program provided cost-free to members of local bar groups and law schools in North Carolina. He has also been a member of the Chief Justice's Commission of Professionalism and an adjunct professor at UNC School of Law.

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Teri Stomski

Teri K. Stomski is Senior Underwriting Counsel with First American Title Insurance Company. In addition to her background in commercial real estate transactions, lender representation, title curative work and real property litigation, Ms. Stomski is a former commercial lender and former South Carolina State Counsel for a regional title insurance underwriter. She utilizes her expansive knowledge of real estate, lending and title insurance to assist her agents in closing transactions while minimizing risk. A native of Columbia, South Carolina, Teri earned her B.A. and J.D. degrees from the University of South Carolina. She received the Gold Compleat Lawyer Award in 2009 by the University of South Carolina School of Law, an award given to alumni in recognition of their significant contributions to the legal profession and high standards of professional competence, ethics and integrity, and is AV® Preeminent Peer Review Rated for Ethical Standards and Legal AbilityTM by Martindale-Hubbell. Ms. Stomski is an Adjunct Professor at the USC School of Law, teaching Real Estate Transactions II, and is a frequent lecturer and contributing author for continuing legal education seminars relating to real estate law and title insurance for the South Carolina Bar, PLTA, NCLTA, ALTA and numerous financial institutions, among others. She was featured in Columbia Business Monthly as a “Legal Elite of the Midlands” and won the 2014 J. Lee McDonald Award for outstanding contributions to the Palmetto Land Title Association (PLTA). Ms. Stomski is Past President and the current Chair of the Education Committee of PLTA and has also served as Chair of its Communications, Convention and Membership Committees. Ms. Stomski serves on the Board of Directors of Business Carolina and is Past President and a former Past President and board member of the Central SC Chapter of the Risk Management Association (RMA). She is a member of the South Carolina Bar, where she served on the Executive Council of the Young Lawyer’s Division from 1999 to 2001, and is developing the Bar’s Real Estate Essentials course. Teri resides in Columbia with her daughter, Ava, and husband, Nick, with whom she enjoys traveling the world seeking trophy billfish. 

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Michael Wolf

Michael Wolf is an economist with Wells Fargo Securities, covering both U.S. and regional economies. Based in Charlotte, N.C., he writes indicator reports, special commentary, and contributes to the company’s Weekly Economic & Financial Commentary.

Prior to joining Wells Fargo in , Michael worked as a regional and international
economist at Moody’s Analytics. Additionally, he measured trends in compensation as an economist for the Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

Michael has a master’s degree in international economic policy and statistics from Columbia University and Baruch College, respectively. He also holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Maryland.

He is a member of the National Association of Business Economics and Charlotte
Economics Club.

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