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The Best Laid Plats (M. Smith) - 213710

The Best Laid Plats

This one hour program will survey the subject of plats used in the definition of real estate titles in Virginia. The topic will be presented at an intermediate to advanced level for VCTE and VCTSA certification holders (and for title insurance agents and attorneys). There will be a focus on caselaw and examples, with some reference to applicable statutes. Among other topics, the speaker will address the validity of legal descriptions when reference is made to a recorded plat, establishing covenants, conditions and restrictions by language in a plat only, the necessity of dedication on or with a plat to convey parcels or roads depicted thereon, and the requirement for plats and plan in defining a condominium regime. Timing of recording a plat and closing of a transaction relying on the recording will also be addressed. Time will be left for questions from attendees. Special thanks to the Cima Companies & Michelle Blanco for sponsoring this session!


R.Michael Smith, Esq.
R. Michael Smith joined Conestoga Title Insurance Co. in December 2012 as Underwriting Counsel. He has been a member of the Virginia State Bar since 1973. He graduated from the University of Virginia with a B.A. with distinction in History and obtained his J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1973. After ten years of general legal practice, Mr. Smith spent most of the last 30 years in title insurance and financial services employment. He did, however, work for four years with an Alexandria, Virginia trial practice firm specializing in foreclosure defense litigation and appellate work. He served as underwriting counsel for Chicago Title, Stewart Title, and LandAmerica Financial Group in Fairfax, Virginia. Mr. Smith has participated extensively in teaching and writing within the title industry, including articles on access to public roads, liability for title search errors, and affiliated business arrangements, and has served as an expert witness on real estate and title insurance issues. In 2007, he coordinated a special program for the VLTA honoring the 400th Anniversary of the Jamestown Settlement and he recently wrote and/or edited a series of articles for the VLTA Examiner around the theme of real property and the Sesquicentennial of the Civil War. In 2014, he was appointed as an Advisor to the Title Forms Committee of the American Land Title Association and he is a member of the Real Property/Trust & Estates Section of the American Bar Association. While Mr. Smith’s focus in title insurance has been in Virginia, he also has experience with underwriting and agency operations in the Mid-Atlantic and Midwest and he has participated in agent seminars or underwriter conferences in Ohio, Maryland, West Virginia, North and South Carolina, Colorado, and Texas. He is admitted to practice in the courts of Virginia and the Eastern and Western Districts of Virginia and the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. Virginia insurance agent CE approved instructor number 587664.