Biography Photo of Katheryne L Zelenock

Katheryne L. Zelenock

Member and Real Estate Finance Practice Group Chair

Katheryne L. Zelenock, Chair of the Real Estate Finance Practice Group, focuses her practice on all aspects of real estate finance, including loan origination, loan servicing matters, and workouts/enforcement, leading a team that represents commercial mortgage lenders on a national (and international) basis. Kathy has extensive leadership experience in connection with the organization, structuring, loan program design, and day-to-day multi-state operation and compliance of bank portfolio, conduit, and CMBS, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, USDA and SBA loan programs, having acted as closing or supervising counsel for several billion dollars in commercial mortgage loans. She has also served as lead counsel for several multi-state, complex foreclosure litigation matters, including defense against lender liability claims.  As part of her practice, Ms. Zelenock developed and uses a proprietary transaction management and document automation software program to improve the efficiency of loan transactions.  She has been recognized by Chambers USA, Best Lawyers in America (including recognition as 2022 “Lawyer of the Year” in Banking and Finance Law), Leading Lawyers, Super Lawyers, Michigan Lawyers Weekly (2020 Leader in the Law), Midwest Real Estate News (Commercial Real Estate Hall of Fame, 2020), Crain’s Detroit Business (Notable Women in Law, 2017; Notable Women in Real Estate, 2019) and DBusiness magazine as a leading real estate practitioner in Michigan, and is a Fellow of the American College of Mortgage Attorneys (ACMA).  She is also a Co-Chair of the firm’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee and has led the firm’s Women’s Network for many years.

Education & Credentials


University of Michigan

B.A., 1987

University of Notre Dame Law School

J.D., 1991

Bar Admission

  • Michigan


  • DBusiness Magazine
    • "Top Lawyers," Real Estate Law, 2023
  • Midwest Real Estate News
    • "Commercial Real Estate Hall of Fame," 2019
  • The Legal 500 United States
    • "Recommended Lawyer," 2019-2022
    • Real Estate, 2023-2024
    • Real Estate Finance, 2023-2024
  • Crain’s Detroit Business
    • “Notable Women in Real Estate,” Honoree, 2019
  • Michigan Lawyers Weekly
    • "Women in the Law," Award Winner, 2015
  • Best Lawyers in America®
    • Banking and Finance Law, Real Estate Law, 2012-2024
    • Corporate Law, Securitization and Structured Finance Law, 2024
    • "Lawyer of the Year," Banking and Finance Law, 2022
  • Diversity Magazine
    • “Woman Worth Watching," 2017
  • Dickinson Wright Champion of Diversity Award, 2017
  • American College of Mortgage Attorneys
    • Member
  • Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business
    • Real Estate
    • "Up and Coming" Real Estate, 2005-2006
  • Michigan Super Lawyers®
    • Real Estate, 2006-2023
  • University of Notre Dame Law School, Journal of College and University Law,
    • Editor-in-Chief

Representative Clients

  • Greystone Servicing Corporation
  • Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.
  • PNC Bank, N.A.
  • Bank of America, N.A.
  • RED Mortgage Capital

Prominent Assignments

Represents national and regional lenders, mortgage bankers and loan servicers, with emphasis on capital markets, conduit and bank financing, including Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac multifamily and manufactured housing lending.

Has served as closing or supervising counsel for several billion dollars in commercial mortgage loans destined for securitization, including a variety of loan sizes and property types (multifamily, office, manufactured housing communities, nursing homes, shopping centers, etc.).

Extensive leadership experience in connection with the organization, structuring, loan program design and day-to-day multistate operation and compliance of portfolio, conduit and MBS and ABS loan originators and contributors.

Extensive experience in matters related to the operations and licensing of mortgage bankers, correspondents and servicers.

Counsel in matters related to troubled properties and owners, and the modification, restructuring and workout of financing arrangements, including related litigation and due diligence; represented lenders in sales of REO and whole loan portfolios.

Directed development of StreamLoaner and Lexicon, transaction management and document automated software and QLC Knowledgebase, a regulatory compliance database for lenders and lawyers.

Represented a Wall Street warehouse creditor of a large bankrupt residential lender, including extensive mortgage fraud investigation.

Served as a key team player in hundred-million-dollar real estate and securities litigation spanning seven courts in five jurisdictions; lead counsel for multi-state foreclosure litigation, including defense of lender liability claim.

Professional Involvement

  • American College of Mortgage Attorneys
    • Member, Board of Regents 
    • Chair of the Technology Committee
  • American Bar Association, Member of several committees related to real estate
  • Mortgage Bankers' Association of America (MBA)
  • Commercial Real Estate Finance Council (CREF-C)--formerly known as Commercial Mortgage Securities Association (CMSA)
  • International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC)
  • Oakland County Bar Association 

Community Involvement

  • Eversight, Board Member
  • Detroit Urban Debate League, Advisory Board Member and Volunteer
  • University of Notre Dame Law School Advisory Council, Past Member
  • Detroit Catholic Youth Organization, Volunteer
  • Notre Dame Club of Detroit, Past Board Member and Past Officer


  • Author, "Charging Forward! EV Charging Stations on Commercial Properties Create Real Estate Questions,“ American Bar Association Probate and Property Magazine, May 2024
  • Co-Presenter, "I Am Here – I Am Not a Cat,” American College of Mortgage Attorneys (September 2021) 
  • Presenter, “Diversity and Inclusion as Ethical Obligations,” American College of Mortgage Attorneys Annual Meeting (September 2017)
  • Panelist, “Operational and Technology Challenges for Small Balance Lending” Mortgage Bankers Association Small Balance Lending Summit (June 2016)
  • Co-Author, "The Virtual Mortgage - Nearer Than You Think," Mortgage Banking Magazine (March 2016)
  • Panelist, "eSignatures, eRecording and Other Technology Issues in Commercial Real Estate Finance," American College of Mortgage Attorneys Annual Meeting (October 2015)
  • Author, "Bridging More Than One Thousand Years of Tradition: eSignatures in Commercial Mortgage Lending," (prepared for presentation at the American College of Mortgage Attorneys Annual Meeting - October 2015)
  • Panelist, "A Great Big Bundle of Sticks: Whose Land is it Anyway?," State Bar of Michigan Real Property Law Section Winter Conference (March 2015)
  • Author, "There Must Be...50 Ways to Terminate That Restrictive Covenant or Restriction...," State Bar of Michigan Real Property Law Section Winter Conference Materials (forthcoming)
  • Presenter, "Multifamily and Manufactured Housing Deals: Forms, Customs and Problems," Institute of Continuing Legal Education (ICLE) (November 2013).
  • Moderator, "Can't We All Just Get Along? Intercreditor Agreements and Disagreements - Recent Decisions and Evolving Issues," American College of Mortgage Attorneys (ACMA) Annual Meeting (September 2013).
  • Author, “Using Document Automation to Speed Up the Lease Negotiation Process,” Retail Law Strategist, Vol. 31, Issue 2 (Summer 2013).
  • Author, “Document Automation Can Improve Commercial Real Estate Transactions,” Commercial Insight (published by the National Commercial Services Division of First American Title Insurance Company), Spring 2013.
  • Presenter, "Potential Liability and Electronic Communications," Mortgage Bankers Association Servicing and Technology Conference, Dallas, Texas. May 2012.
  • Roundtable Leader, "Risk Areas- Blue Hills Office and Related Cases," State Bar of Michigan Real Property Section Groundbreaker Breakfast Roundtable on "Unexpected Recourse Liability in a Non-Recourse World." April 2012.
  • Presenter, “Document Automation in Leasing,” International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) Law Conference. October 2011, 2012 and 2013.
  • Presenter, “Commercial Foreclosures,” State Bar of Michigan Real Property Section Summer Conference. July 2011.
  • Panelist, “Commercial Side of Real Estate,” Michigan Association of Certified Public Accountants (MACPA) Construction Industry Conference. September 2010.
  • "Uniform Electronic Transactions Act," Mortgage Industry Standards Maintenance Organization's (MISMO) Commercial eMortgage Workgroup, published in Commercial/Multifamily Finance News, September 23, 2004
  • "Big Ideas in Small Packages" (coauthored with Ken Beyer), Mortgage Banking, January 2004
  • Primary Author, "Commercial eMortgages: The Present and Future of 'Paperless Transactions' in Commercial Mortgage Lending" (written as part of the MISMO Commercial eMortgage Work Group, and offered to the Mortgage Bankers' Association of America's Board of Governors for adoption as a Position Paper of the MBA)
  • Author, "Document Automation Brings Many Benefits to Commercial Mortgage Closing," Commercial Mortgage Insight, April 2003
  • Author, "Lenders Can Untangle the Web of Commercial Real Estate Deals," Commercial Mortgage Insight, February 2002
  • Moderator, Small Loans Panel Discussions, Mortgage Bankers Association Commercial Real Estate Finance Conference, May 2004-2009
  • Panelist, Legal Issues in Mortgage Technology, Mortgage Bankers Association Asset Administration and Technology Conference, May 2004 and May 2008
  • Panelist, Michigan Business Women's Tenth and Eleventh Annual Women in Leadership Conferences, February 2002 and 2003
  • Panelist, "Technology and the Real Estate Practice: Is There Substance Behind the Glitz?" American Bar Association Real Property Symposium, April 2002
  • Panelist, "Document Automation in Commercial Finance," Mortgage Bankers' Association National Mortgage Technology Conference, Spring 2001
  • Participant, National Association of College and University Attorneys Speaker on various topics, Ann Arbor IT Zone, Metropolitan Center for High-Technology, Michigan Technology Council, Association of University Technology Managers
  • Speaker, Springboard Mid-West Entrepreneur's Bootcamp, November 2001
  • Speaker, Springboard Mid-West Venture Capital Tune-up, November 2002
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