Kreisman’s Gift Puts Focus on Housing Policy and Regulation

A substantial gift from David Kreisman, AB ’60, JD ’63, and his wife, Susan, has led to the creation of a program that will support teaching and research in housing law, policy, and finance. Based within the Law School’s Coase-Sandor Institute for Law and Economics, the program will be multidisciplinary, involving faculty from the Harris School of Public Policy, the Booth School of Business, and other university entities as well as Law School faculty.

Kreisman is Managing Partner of the LOGS Legal Network, a multistate law firm with a practice concentrating on the representation of mortgage bankers and servicers. The LOGS Network is by far the most expansive organization of its kind. Starting in Illinois in 1971 as Shapiro & Kreisman, the principals have been leaders in using cutting edge technology to expand to coverage in 29 states with approximately 2,000 attorneys and staff. Kreisman is also Vice Chairman of The LOGS Group, LLC, which provides proactive default management solutions to lenders and servicers along with back-office non-legal support to the network’s firms, title, and trustee operations.

“Susan and I are excited about the potential of this program to bring the rigorous thinking of the Law School and the rest of the university community to bear on housing policy and regulation, where politics often trump sound policy,” Kreisman says. “The country is awash in ideas and opinions about housing and the extent to which the government should backstop the industry. The lack of discipline in dealing with housing problems has caused an imbalance in the marketplace and created a dysfunctional relationship between government and the financial community. There needs to be clarity and transparency in this most important area, as home are the foundation for community life. We would hope that his program will make a substantial contribution to developing constructive policies that will benefit the country in the long term, getting past the finger-pointing, name calling, and Draconian proposals that characterize too much debate today.”

The David and Susan Kreisman Program will support speakers, conferences, courses, research, and publications. In 2013-2014, it will host a panel on the impact of the Dodd-Frank Act on national mortgage markets and support the development of courses on housing policy, regulation, and finance. It will also produce publications aimed at policymakers and the general public. “This is a conversation that should involve every American,” Mrs. Kreisman says. “Educating political leaders and citizens is an important part of the program.”

Mr. Kreisman has been an innovative leader throughout his career. In the late 1970s and into the 1980s, the LOGS Network gained a strong competitive advantage by making use of computer technology. In 1974, he computerized his office operations with an IBM System 32 minicomputer.

“That computer was not designed for word processing or use in a law firm environment, and even IBM did not think we could create documents. To the best of my knowledge we were the first law firm, or among the first, to use computer technology to run a law firm practice,” Kreisman recounts. “Then we also went forward to computerize our reporting requirements before anyoneelse. Those capacities enabled us to handle a large volume of work, and as the mortgage servicing industry expanded with securitizations we were well positioned to grow, which led to our expansion into a multistate environment. “

Kreisman’s professional and industry leadership arises in part from the important lessons he learned while a student at the College and the Law School. “There was always a spirit of inquiry and students were confident enough to not feel uncomfortable asking ‘dumb’ questions,” he says. “Asking questions, and the interplay between an outstanding faculty and intellectually-minded students, was the key to growth and learning. We developed an awareness that thinking was not about ‘inside the box’ or ‘outside the box.’ We learned that there was no box, and it was that stimulating environment that those who went to the University benefited from. For many, this experience was the catalyst for embracing new ideas and different ways of doing things. It was mine.”

“It’s that kind of open and honest inquiry we would like to see our gift promote,” Susan Kreisman says. “It is important to all of our futures to get housing right.”

The Kreismans’ own future was further brightened earlier this year by the birth of their first grandchild to their son Daniel (MA ’07, PhD ’09) and Cara Castellana Kreisman (MA ’07).