Welcome to the Illinois Real Estate Lawyers Association.

The Illinois Real Estate Lawyers Association is comprised of experienced attorneys dedicated to assisting individuals and businesses in connection with real estate transactions of all types.

Next Meeting

IRELA's next meeting will be April 9, 2014 at 8:00 a.m. 

Topic:  Deconversion of Condominiums




Speaker: Dick Bales, Attorney at Law

Dick Bales, an IRELA Board Member, and Assistant Regional Counsel for the Wheaton, Illinois office of Chicago Title Insurance Company, is one of Illinois' most knowledgeable and respected speakers in the area of title and real estate law and a self-described "title geek".  He will share his insights and the results of his research on the issues relating to deconversion of condominiums, a topic of growing importance in today's economy.  Come learn what you need to know.

In today's economy:  
  • More and more investors are showing interest in purchasing unsold units in troubled condominium buildings and renting them.  Many of these investors wish to own units in "deconverted" condominium buildings.
  • Dick will address how the "deconversion" process works, and what issues result from a deconversion.
  • In addition, a limited number of handouts from Dick's recent Case Law Update CLE will be available.

To download Dick's most recent article discussing Deconversion of Condominiums, click on:

Deconversion of Condominiums Article

IRELA President Ralph Schumann will also provide updates on important developments with issues of the day affecting the practice of real estate law.


When: Wednesday, April 9, 2014, at 8:00 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.

Where: Belvedere Events and Banquets | 1170 W. Devon, Elk Grove Village, IL | 847.534.0600

To access a map of the meeting location, click on:  Map

Attendance is Free for IRELA Member Attorneys in good standing.
(One hour of MCLE Credit is provided for this meeting.)



Upcoming Events

IRELA's May, 2014 meeting will be:

May 14, 2014 -- Speakers: J. Michael Williams and Carrie Dolan on "Update on Title Risks and Title Insurange Coverage"

Attendance is Free for IRELA Member Attorneys in good standing.

(One hour of MCLE Credit provided.)

When:  Wednesday, May 14, 2014

  8:00 a.m.  -  9:30 a.m.

Where: Belvedere Events and Banquets | 1170 W. Devon, Elk Grove Village, IL | 847.534.0600

Watch this space for more information.


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IRELA President Ralph J. Schumann recently presented a Case Law Update CLE for the Chicago Bar Association on March 26, 2014.  To access and download the handout, click on:

Schumann Case Law Handout March 26, 2014


IRELA recently submitted Comments to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in response to the CFPB's Request for Comments on the Mortgage Closing Process.  To access and download IRELA's Comments submitted on behalf of IRELA by Ralph J. Schumann, IRELA President, click on: 

IRELA Comments to CFPB.



Latest News

IRELA position statement regarding HUD's Buyer Select Program. (June 26, 2013 Update.)

IRELA has several concerns regarding the HUD Buyer Select program as implemented in Illinois since March 1, 2013.  The requirements, and the elimination of a seller's attorney in the transaction, shift responsibility for many of the functions traditionally performed by a seller's attorney in Illinois from HUD's designated counsel to the "Closing Agent".  It appears HUD contemplates the Closing Agent functions will be conducted either by the title company or the buyer's attorney. The new requirements present serious risk of fostering the unauthorized practice of law (UPL), as well as other problems. To download and review a letter from IRELA President Ralph J. Schumann to major title insurance companies detailing IRELA's concerns, click on:

Schumann Letter on HUD Buyer Select Program

NOTE: Schumann's Letter expressing concerns with HUD's Buyer Select Program was recently referenced in the monthly online newsletter of Attorneys' Title Guaranty Fund, Inc., "The Trusted Advisor."  Any attorney considering acting as a HUD vendor and participating as the Closing Agent in these transactions should first review the Schumann Letter, the summary of issues raised in the "Trusted Advisor" article, and the Closing Instructions promulgated by PEMCO and other asset managers.  IRELA members, as well as Illinois real estate practitioners in general, are urged to exercise extreme caution in this area.


Illinois Supreme Court amends rules allowing limited scope representation

In a move expected to lower attorney fee costs for clients of limited means, Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice Thomas L. Kilbride announced Friday that the Illinois Supreme Court has approved a proposal designed to lessen the legal costs in civil cases for clients of limited means.

The proposal deals with a concept known as "limited scope representation" which more than 20 other states also permit. Limited scope representation allows attorneys to provide paid legal services on a portion of a client's legal matter, rather than seeing it through from beginning to end. By providing services, specifically limited by agreement between the lawyer and the client, total legal fees should be more affordable for the client.

ISBA President John E. Thies thanked Justice Kilbride and other members of the the Court for the amendments, and noted the Court was greatly aided by many individuals and groups that helped in the process. "I especially want to recognize the Lawyers Trust Fund, and the members of the Joint ISBA/CBA/IJA task force, including my co-chairs, Diane Klotnia of the Chicago Bar Association and Judge Ronald Spears of the Illinois Judges Association," he said.  Thies also thanked former ISBA president and IRELA founder and Chair, John O'Brien, who appointed the joint task force.

For more information, click on:

ISBA Bar News Update on Rules Amendments Rgarding Limited Scope Representation


Making Home Affordable Program Extended

U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew announced recently that Treasury is extending the Making Home Affordable Mortgage Loan Modification image.jpgProgram for another two years. The new expiration date is now set for December 31, 2015. The program offers help to homeowners through solutions including the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives (HAFA), and the Second Lien Modification Program. As of March, an estimated 1.1 million struggling homeowners have received a permanent modification through HAMP. The move aligns with the Federal Housing Finance Agency's (FHFA) extension for the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP), which was first announced April 11th.

Implementation of the Appraisal Management Company Registration Act.

Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulationappraisals1.jpg

Newly enacted Section 1452 of Title 68 of the Illinois Administrative Code, promulgated by the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (the "Department") (effective March 4, 2013), is directed towards appraisal services and specifies rules implementing provisions of the Appraisal Management Company Registration Act, 225 ILCS 459. 68 Ill. Adm. Code 1452. These rules are comprised of definitions, application requirements, and registration, renewal, and reinstatement procedures.

Fraudulent real estate transactions -- Recently Enacted.

House Bill 2832 P.A. 98-0098 (Lang, D-Chicago) allows a county recorder of deeds to establish and use a "Fraud Referral and Review Process" for deeds and instruments that the recorder reasonably believes are fraudulent, unlawfully altered, or intended to unlawfully cloud or transfer the title to any real property. The wide-ranging nineteen (19) "trigger" categories include instruments evidencing "non-standard punctuation" and certain types of maritime liens.  NOTE:  IRELA remains very concerned about the underlying issues that gave rise to this proposed legislation, and looks forward to working with the Cook County Recorder's Office and the legislature to improve the implementation of measures established by the bill.                                                                                                                                                                                              

Learn more  »

IRELA contributes $2,500 to Lawyers Feeding Illinois. 

Pictured below are IRELA President Ralph Schumann and ATG Vice President and Special Counsel to the CEO John O'Brien (who is also the Founder of IRELA).  Ralph Schumann recently presented a check for IRELA's $2,500 contribution to the Lawyers Feeding Illinois program.  For more information, call (847) 593-5750 or (847) 273-8700.

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Learn more  »

IRELA continues to co-sponsor CLE programs with IICLE, ISBA, ATG, and other title insurance companies and organizations.  Check back for more details on upcoming events.


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Headshot RJS 2011 no shadow - from web site.jpg IRELA President Ralph Schumann was interviewed recently for a story that aired on National Public Radio's  WBEZ logo.jpg on Property Flipping: "Flipping Houses in a Post-Bubble World".  

Schumann was quoted in an accompanying article, which can be accessed here as a PDF document:  "Flipping Houses in a Post-Bubble World."

ISBA Illinois Law Program recording 20130610.jpg

IRELA President Ralph Schumann recently participated in the recording of a television program for ISBA's "Illinois Law" series on Landlord-Tenant issues.   Pictured above (L to R) are former IRELA Board Member Samuel Levine, Joel Chupack (incoming Chair of the ISBA Real Estate Law Section Council), Ralph Schumann, and program moderator Marty Dolan.

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Schumann was recently quoted in a Chicago Tribune article by Leslie Mann entitled "Don't Overlook These Homebuying Details".

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IRELA President Ralph Schumann attended a recent CBA Award Luncheon at the Standard Club in Chicago.  Pictured with him above (left to right) are Bill Anaya, Partner, Arnstein & Lehr LLP, Shay Jacobson, LifeCare Innovations, Joel Daly, attorney and former ABC WLS-TV News Anchor, Martha Kern, LifeCare Innovations, and Mike Rooney, Executive Director, IICLE. Congratulations to Mike Rooney on his new position!

Adults Buying PArents Home_realestate_nest.jpg 

IRELA President Ralph Schumann was recently quoted in an article discussing legal issues presented with "More Adults Moving Back to Old Neighborhood, Buying Parent's Home". 

Regular IRELA meetings take place at 8:00 a.m. monthly on the second Wednesday at Belvedere Events and Banquets facility in Elk Grove Village, IL (847.534.0600) or at other announced locations.