Skip to main content

Hot Topics in Real Property (2023 Real Property Section Winter Program)

8:25        Registration and Continental Breakfast

8:55        Welcome and Introductions

9:00        Welcome to the Land of Distress: Dealing With Real Property in Bankruptcy and Receivership

Lisa P. Sumner, Nexsen Pruet LLC, Raleigh

Unleased space, fraud, mismanagement — no matter the cause, when distressed properties wind up in a receivership or a bankruptcy case, practitioners need to be familiar with the process so they can anticipate the legal issues and counsel clients appropriately. Examine the automatic stay, how leases are treated in bankruptcy, and flashpoints in receivership cases.

10:00      Break

10:10      Commercial Leasing: Practice Points and Lessons Learned

Susan L. Elliott, Wyrick Robbins Yates & Ponton LLP, Raleigh

Whether you practice residential or commercial real estate, most practitioners will be asked to review and negotiate a commercial lease agreement at some point in their careers. Review the basics of leasing and delve into certain specific terms and conditions. In addition, attendees also hear about lessons learned from negotiations of office, industrial and retail leasing for use in today’s environment.

11:10      Break

11:20      What Took So Long? "Hot" Issues in the 2021 ALTA Forms

Nancy S. Ferguson, Chicago Title Company LLC, Greensboro

The ALTA 2021 policies and endorsement changes were developed over 15 years as a result of a lot of title battles, from access to zoning! This presentation focuses on some of the practical issues and misconceptions about title insurance coverage these forms were developed to address. So, what is "good title" or "marketable title" or "insurable title"? That is the question!

12:20      Lunch Break

1:20        What Is Hotter Than Hot? Solar Panels, Marketable Title and Other HOA Matters

James Matthew "Matt" Waters, Jordan Price Wall Gray Jones & Carlton PLLC, Raleigh

Solar panels, marketable title, and the application of the Condominium Act on condominiums created on or before October 1, 1986, all heated up in the appellate courts in 2022. These cases all signaled big changes or potential big changes to the operation and governance of community associations. This presentation explores these cases and the impact on community associations — both condos and planned communities — all over North Carolina.

2:20        Break

2:30        Land Use Entitlement Process in NC and the Regulation of Affordable Housing, Short-Term Rentals and Accessory Dwelling Units

Preston Mitchell, Womble Bond Dickenson (US) LLP, Raleigh
Michael C. "Mike" Thelen, Womble Bond Dickinson (US) LLP, Raleigh

Discuss the possible pathways, processes and general time frames applicable to entitling real estate in North Carolina (annexation, rezonings, subdivisions, site plans, special use permits, etc.) in a way that might inform the structure of a purchase and sale transaction. Then learn how local governments regulate affordable housing, accessory dwelling units, and short-term rentals from a land use perspective.

3:30        Break

3:40        Competency and Confidentiality for Lawyers

Catherine Sanders Reach, NC Bar Association, Cary

Misfired emails. Erroneous attachments. Video conferencing bloopers. The Internet of Things. Improperly applied redaction. Overactive spam filters. Phishing. Exposed metadata. Weak passwords. Lost mobile devices. The list goes on. A lawyer's duties of competence and confidentiality are only two of the reasons to be security aware and competent in the use of technology. Learn how to avoid end-user error, maintain a security-first stance, guard client confidentiality and protect sensitive data. In this session we explore common threats to law firm security and how to avoid them.

4:40        Adjourn

‡ Indicates portion providing Technology Training credit


Designed to address a variety of topics, the 2023 Real Property Section Winter Program discusses an assortment of trends and developments in real property law.


  • Susan L. Elliott

    Susan L. Elliott is Senior Counsel with Wyrick Robbins Yates & Ponton LLP in Raleigh. She has broad experience in multi-site real estate portfolio management and commercial transactions. She assists clients in meeting their real estate goals at each stage of the real estate life cycle, including acquisitions, financing, leasing and dispositions. She is well versed in the real estate aspects of mergers, sales and acquisitions for companies and has experience in multi-state, multiple property transactions, as well as single site developments. She represents landlords and tenants as well as purchasers and sellers, with particular experience representing managers/servicers of large portfolios of properties.

    Susan began her legal career as an associate with King & Spalding LLP in Atlanta and later became a capital partner with Powell Goldstein Frazer & Murphy LLP, also in Atlanta. She worked as the sole in-house real estate counsel and a Director of Real Estate for HD Supply Holdings providing legal guidance for the company with a portfolio at times of 1,200 locations throughout the United States and Canada.

    Susan served as a member of the Executive Committee of the Real Property Section of the State Bar of Georgia for 10 years and was Chair of the Committee during the 2008-09 real estate crisis.

    Susan earned her B.A. in English Language and Literature from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her J.D., cum laude, from Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law, where she was Associate Editor of the Villanova Law Review and was inducted into the Order of the Coif.

    Click here for more information about Susan.

  • Nancy S. Ferguson

    Nancy S. Ferguson is Vice President and Senior State Underwriting Counsel for Chicago Title in the Greensboro office as well as North Carolina State Counsel for the Fidelity National Title Group.

    Nancy provides legal underwriting support to our approved attorneys, agents and underwriters as well as focusing on claims management and prevention. This experience ranges from drafting and participating in significant legislation to working with industry leaders on comprehensive responses to marketplace changes to gathering or coordinating resources to help our customers practice better and more efficiently.

    Nancy has served as officer and on multiple committees of the Real Property Section of the North Carolina Bar Association, as President of the North Carolina Land Title Association, President of the Greensboro Bar Association, Chair of the Greensboro Bar Association Real Property Section, as 18th Judicial District Councilor of the North Carolina State Bar, as a member of the Real Property Law committee of the North Carolina State Bar Board of Legal Specialization and is a member of the American College of Real Estate Attorneys (ACREL) and the American College of Mortgage Attorneys (ACMA).

    Nancy is a frequent presenter at CLE seminars and has published articles on various real estate topics for many organizations. She is North Carolina co-editor of the ALTA Title Insurance Regulatory Survey. She is a co-author of North Carolina Real Estate, With Forms 3d Edition (Thomson-Reuters, West Publishing).

    Nancy received her undergraduate degree and her J.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her M.B.. from Wake Forest University. She is a North Carolina State Bar Board Certified Specialist in Real Property Law: Business, Commercial, Industrial and Residential.

    Click here for more information about Susan.

  • Preston Mitchell

    Preston Mitchell is a land planner with Womble Bond Dickenson (US) LLP in Raleigh. He has extensive experience in project management, plan review, permitting, conducting legislative and quasi-judicial public proceedings. He also has advanced aptitude in code and ordinance composition. He uses his training in long-range planning for area/district/neighborhood plan development, community engagement, and involvement techniques, as well as drafting and adopting long-range policy initiatives for the firm.

    Preston has successfully coordinated community development programs such as CDBG, HOME, and ESG. He has also developed and administered a $3M annual, department budget—included non-discretionary funds for personnel, community development fund, and MTPO fund.

    Preston is a Certified Planner (AICP) with the American Planning Association.

    Before joining Womble, Preston worked as the Director Of Development Services for the City Of Johnson City, TN. Prior to that he worked as a City Planner, and later a Development & Codes Manager, for the City of Salisbury for over 14 years.

    Preston earned his B.A. in Urban Studies & Public Administration from the College of Charleston. He holds a certificate in Form-Based Coding from the Academy for New Urbanism at Virginia Tech.

    Click here for more information about Preston.

  • Catherine Sanders Reach

    Catherine Sanders Reach is Director for the Center for Practice Management at the North Carolina Bar Association, providing practice technology and management assistance to lawyers and legal professionals. Formerly she was Director, Law Practice Management and Technology for the Chicago Bar Association and the Director at the American Bar Association's Legal Technology Resource Center.

    Prior to her work at the NCBA, CBA and ABA she worked in library and information science environments for a number of years, working at Ross and Hardies as a librarian. She received a master's degree in Library and Information Studies from the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa in 1997.

    Catherine's professional activities include articles published in Law Practice magazine, Law Technology News and GPSolo Magazine, as well as numerous other publications. She has given presentations on the use of technology in law firms for national bar conferences, state and local bar associations and organizations such as the National Association of Bar Council and the Association of American Law Schools. In 2011 she was selected to be one of the inaugural Fastcase 50, celebrating fifty innovators, techies, visionaries, and leaders in the field of law and in 2013 became a Fellow of the College of Law Practice Management. She served on the ABA TECHSHOW Board from 2007-2009, 2014-2016 and is co-vice chair in 2019.

    Click here for more information about Catherine. Connect with her on Twitter and LinkedIn.

  • Lisa P. Sumner

    Lisa P. Sumner is a member at Nexsen Pruet LLC in Raleigh. She is a commercial litigator focusing her practice in the areas of bankruptcy & creditors' rights. She is experienced in representing creditors in a variety of cases, including claims of lender liability, fraudulent transfers and breach of fiduciary duty, as well as in the filing of involuntary bankruptcy petitions. She also advises lawyers on how to avoid or defend against legal malpractice claims related to bankruptcy practice, as well as advises clients regarding asset purchases from a receivership or bankruptcy estate.

    Lisa is recognized as a Leading Attorney by Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Bankruptcy/Restructuring. She is President of the Turnaround Management Association, Carolinas Chapter and council member of the Bankruptcy Section of the North Carolina Bar Association.

    Lisa earned her B.A. in Political Science and French from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her J.D. from Duke University School of Law.

    Click here for more informaton about Lisa.

  • Brittany M. Teague

    Brittany M. Teague is an associate with Womble Bond Dickinson (US) LLP in Winston-Salem. She is a deal lawyer, and typical real estate projects in her practice include representing clients in the acquisition, development, sale and financing of commercial properties. She guides clients all stages of the acquisition, disposition, and financing of a diverse range of commercial properties, from negotiating the purchase and sale agreement, to reviewing and coordinating diligence (including complex title and survey issues), to closing.

    Brittany also represents developer clients in the acquisition, development, financing, leasing and sale of industrial projects in North Carolina. She also negotiates lease agreements, including build-to-suit leases, long-term ground leases and master, multi-state leases. She has a true 360-degree view of real estate lending, as she frequently represents borrowers and lenders in real estate construction loans, including multi-state loans.

    Brittany earned her B.A., with highest honors, from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her J.D., summa cum laude, from Elon University School of Law.

    Click here for more information about Brittany.

  • Michael C. "Mike" Thelen

    Michael C. "Mike" Thelen is a partner with Womble Bond Dickinson (US) LLP in Raleigh. His practice specializes in real estate controversies, which is both the land use entitling (e.g., zonings, subdivisions, use permits, development agreements, etc.) of high stakes or controversial real estate projects and guiding individuals and businesses through controversies – whether litigation or disputes headed toward, but not yet in, litigation – involving real estate (e.g., zoning and subdivision challenges and appeals, boundary and title disputes, construction, leases, etc.). In this sense, Mike is both a litigator and a transactional lawyer, having litigated real estate disputes in federal and state courts throughout North Carolina and having navigated land use entitlement processes in county and state governments throughout North Carolina and South Carolina.

    Mike is a widely published authority on real estate controversy issues in North Carolina and is often called upon by the media to shed light on complex legal issues and concepts. In addition, he routinely presents continuing legal education courses to state attorneys and contributes to the online legal, political and business communities through both long-form content and short-form social commentary. Mike is the founder and lead editor of the North Carolina Land Use Litigator, a multi-platform resource analyzing land planning, zoning, development, and commercial real estate matters in North Carolina.

    Mike earned his B.A. from the University of Notre Dame and his J.D., with honors, from Notre Dame Law School.

    Click here for more information about Mike.

  • James Matthew "Matt" Waters

    James Matthew "Matt" Waters is a member of Jordan Price Wall Gray Jones & Carlton PLLC in Raleigh. He practices in the Firm's Litigation Section. He concentrates his practice primarily in the area of community association law, representing HOAs and condominium associations across North Carolina.

    Matt's community association practice ranges from advising the Firm's numerous community association clients regarding covenant enforcement, amendments, title issues, and assessment collection matters, among many other things. Matt has extensive experience representing the Firm's community association clients in foreclosure actions in counties throughout North Carolina.

    Matt's litigation practice also encompasses representing real estate developers and construction contractors in a variety of claims and disputes; and breach of fiduciary duty litigation in the area of Trusts and Estates.

    Matt was elected and currently serves as Vice Chair of the North Carolina Bar Association, Real Property Section, and continues to serve (since 2019) as Chair of the Community Associations Committee for the Real Property Section.

    Matt is a native of Eastern North Carolina, born and raised in Little Washington. Having been personally impacted by numerous hurricanes growing up in Little Washington, and engaging in his community afterwards, he saw first-hand the needs of people who might not otherwise have the access and means to hire an attorney of their choosing. Particularly in the wake of Hurricanes Matthew and Florence, Matt has dedicated time as a volunteer on a pro-bono basis to assist and guide residents of North Carolina effected by these storms through the aid of the NCBA-DLS and NC Legal Aid.

    Matt earned his B.A. in History and Political Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and his J.D. from Campbell University School of Law. While in law school, he was the Symposium Editor for the Campbell Law Review, and a Regional Champion in the 2007-08 National Appellate Advocacy Competition in Washington, D.C.

    Click here for more information about Matt.


If you did not attend this program in its entirety, please fill out a partial credit form to ensure that we report your credit accurately.

Please send your completed form to within seven days of this program.

As an attendee at this CLE program, your feedback is important.

Click here to fill out the program evaluation.

Click here to view Forms and CLE Policies, Terms and Conditions.

If paying by check, click here for a printable registration form. Please reference the in-person live program code 198RPP.

Can't attend in person? Please contact us at or 919.677.0561 to switch your registration to the Live Webcast before the start of the program.

(After the live CLE program begins, you will have real-time access to only the program format for which you are registered — either In-Person Live or Live Webcast — and your registration cannot be switched.)
February 17, 2023
Fri 8:25 AM EST
North Carolina Bar Center 8000 Weston Parkway Cary, NC 27511 919.677.0561

View map and directions

Duration 8H 15M

No longer available for purchase
Already Registered?
For Technical Support
*for callers residing outside of the United States