Proper Title hires industry veteran Dick Bales as senior underwriting consultant and counsel

Dick Bales

Proper Title, LLC, the Palatine, Illinois-based title insurance agency serving the residential and commercial real estate industries, hired Richard (Dick) Bales as senior underwriting consultant and counsel. A long-time authority on title insurance, Bales will provide counsel to attorneys, examiners and closers.

“Dick Bales is basically the godfather of title,” said Kathy Kwak, executive vice president of operations and counsel for Proper Title. “Everyone knows him and reads his materials. Dick’s expertise will help strengthen our attorney-agent client relationships, especially as we grow our business into new Chicago suburban markets. Internally, he will be a tremendous resource as we hold learning sessions where Dick will address our staff on a variety of title topics. Title examiners will also be able to tap into his storehouse of knowledge.”

Bales joins Proper Title after just three months in retirement. He had recently completed a 31-year career at Chicago Title Insurance Company where he had risen to be the firm’s assistant regional counsel. In addition, he had recently been a guest lecturer throughout the state on all aspects of title insurance as a member of the education committee of the Illinois Land Title Association. He has also written numerous articles for the Chicago Bar Association, the DuPage County Bar Association and the Illinois State Bar Association.

“My new position at Proper Title allows me to keep doing all the things I love—mentoring, teaching, speaking and writing,” said Bales. “I have worked with Proper Title professionals since the firm was founded, and I respect the company and its accomplishments. I’m honored to join an entrepreneurial organization with a growth mindset.”

Some of Bales’ articles have been reprinted in the book, “Land Surveys: A Guide for Lawyers and Other Professionals,” which was published by the American Bar Association in 2012. Bales’ book, “A Guide to Residential and Commercial Surveys in Illinois,” was published by the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education (IICLE) in 2004 and later updated and reissued in 2011. Bales has also written a chapter for an upcoming IICLE book on title insurance.

“In my 30-plus years in the industry, I have written on just about everything title-related, so attorneys can ask me a question and I’ll usually be able send them an answer from my previous writings,” said Bales. “Attorneys know they can get a hold of me for advice on anything from executing a deed to waiving a document on title.”

In addition, Bales wrote a book available on Amazon entitled, “The Great Chicago Fire and the Myth of Mrs. O’Leary’s Cow.” For his research, he used land tract records to create a scale drawing of the O’Leary neighborhood and transcripts from an investigation of the fire to uncover evidence on what really caused the Great Chicago Fire. Bales’ initial conclusions concerning the cause of the fire earned him the Illinois State Historical Society’s Harry E. Pratt Memorial Award.

Bales has a bachelor’s degree from Illinois College in Jacksonville and a juris doctorate degree from Northern Illinois University. He has been a long-standing member of the real estate committee of the DuPage County Bar Association, the American Land Title Association and the National Society of Professional Surveyors liaison committee. He has helped draft several versions of the national ALTA/NSPS land title survey standards, including the latest 2016 version.

Proper Title has 10 closing offices throughout the Chicago area, including suburban locations in Palatine, Northbrook, Libertyville, Park Ridge, Oak Brook, Naperville and St. Charles, as well as closing locations in Chicago’s Loop, Bucktown and Irving Park neighborhoods. The title company also offers remote closings to attorney clients.