OPENING GENERAL SESSION: From Federal Prison to Winning Supreme Court Cases
Join us to hear the inspirational and fascinating story of a young bank robber who overcame his past and became the greatest jailhouse lawyer in American history, earned a law degree and became an appellate lawyer. Shon Hopwood is a self-taught legal phenomenon who learned the law and helped fellow prisoners win sentence reductions, including two petitions that were granted review by the Supreme Court – all while behind bars. He is an accomplished author, Professor of Law at Georgetown University, and leading expert on federal courts and criminal procedure. Shon is living proof that a difficult past does not define the future, and success can still arise out of the most challenging times. His story of redemption and second chances has been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The New Yorker, NPR and 60 Minutes
Joe Iafigliola Chief Financial Officer [email protected] Joe Iafigliola is the Chief Financial Officer for Safeguard Properties. Joe is responsible for the Control, Quality Assurance, Business Development, Marketing, Accounting, and Information Security departments. At the core of his responsibilities is the drive to ensure that Safeguard’s focus remains rooted in Customer Service = Resolution. Through his executive leadership role, he actively supports SGPNOW.com, an on-demand service geared towards real estate and property management professionals as well as individual home owners in need of inspection and property preservation services. Joe is also an integral force behind Compliance Connections, a branch of Safeguard Properties that allows code enforcement professionals to report violations at properties that can then be addressed by the Safeguard vendor network. Compliance Connections also researches and shares vacant property ordinance information with Safeguard clients. Joe has an MBA from The Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University, is a Certified Management Accountant (CMA), and holds a bachelor's degree from The Ohio State University's Honors Accounting program.
Mark Jones co-founded Amerifirst Home Mortgage with Dave Gahm in 1983, and the company has grown from an individual location in Kalamazoo, Michigan, to over 80 full-service locations and 900 personnel nationwide. Jones is an advocate for affordable homeownership with a mission to make a meaningful difference in the lives of others. Amerifirst is the No. 1 USDA lender and the No. 3 FHA lender in Michigan, and the No. 13 FHA lender in Florida. Amerifirst is a Ginnie Mae issuer and manages a $6B servicing portfolio. In August 2020, Amerifirst established a new bilingual mortgage services division to meet the growing homeownership needs of the Hispanic community. Jones’ leadership has helped Amerifirst earn recognition as one of the “Fastest Growing Private Companies in America” by Inc. 5000 for six consecutive years. Committed to operating by a strong set of core values, it has ranked as a Best & Brightest Company to Work for in the Nation for the past five years (2016-2020) and was named one of the top 50 Best Mortgage Companies to Work For in 2021. In 2016 Jones received the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award for Michigan and Northwest Ohio. Mark serves on the Board of Directors of the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) and currently serves as Chairman of MBA’s DEI Advisory Committee. He previously served as co-chair of MBA’s Independent Mortgage Bankers Executive Council. Jones also serves on the board as Public Policy Committee Chair at Southwest Michigan First and serves as Chair of Southwest Michigan First PAC. Mark holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Management from Virginia Commonwealth University, where he competed on the Varsity Swimming & Diving team. In 1979, Jones won the 1979 Virginia Intercollegiate State Championship in 1 meter springboard diving and was a two-time NCAA Regional Qualifier. Jones lives in greater Kalamazoo with his wife, close to three adult children and one grandchild.
Shon Hopwood is an accomplished author and an Associate Professor of Law at Georgetown University Law Center, where he is an expert on federal courts, criminal procedure (including federal sentencing), and prisoners’ rights. Shon’s unusual legal journey began not at law school, but federal prison, where he learned to write briefs for other prisoners while working in the law library. Hopwood was serving a 11-year sentence stemming from bank robberies in Nebraska. Two petitions for certiorari that he prepared were later granted review by the United States Supreme Court, a very unusual feat. Hopwood continued his work and went on to win cases for other prisoners in federal courts across the country, helping inmates from Indiana, Michigan, and Nebraska receive sentence reductions from lower courts. After his release in 2009, he attended the University of Washington School of Law, and received his J.D. as a Gates Public Service Law Scholar in 2014. He clerked for Judge Janice Rogers Brown at the prestigious United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The Supreme Court of Washington allowed Hopwood to take the state bar examination and, in 2015, he became a licensed lawyer in the state of Washington, 17 years after his sentencing.