Attorneys

Monica K. Gilroy, a founding principal of The Gilroy Firm, is the firm managing partner and has over 20 years of experience practicing law. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Wisconsin and a J.D. from the University of South Carolina School of Law. In addition, Ms. Gilroy attended the Ealing College of Higher Education in a study abroad program. The focus of her national litigation practice includes all aspects of real estate litigation, including title insurance defense, lender liability defense, creditors’ rights litigation, property management issues, fair housing, foreclosure and title disputes, regulatory compliance, broker and agent liability defense, mortgage fraud-related litigation and civil and commercial contract disputes.  She also leads the Default Department providing national foreclosure, bankruptcy, and loss mitigation and eviction services.

Ms. Gilroy has served as the litigation liaison for leading lending institutions as well as managed their national bankruptcy litigation program. She continues to serve as counsel for many national and local banks, mortgage companies and real estate industry lenders and leaders. She regularly assists closing attorneys, real estate agents, property managers, title companies and brokers when title or other contract issues arise. She practiced for several years in the areas of estate and trust litigation and serves regularly as a Special Master in Fulton County.  Ms. Gilroy has extensive lead counsel trial experience and frequently appears in all of the state and federal courts of Georgia, including the state and federal appellate courts serving as lead Appellate Counsel.  She is also a member in good standing with the United States Supreme Court.

Ms. Gilroy is the immediate past Chair of the Real Property Law Section (“RPLS”) of the State Bar of Georgia.  She previously served as the Editor of the RPLS Newsletter for 4 years.  A long-standing member of the State Bar of Georgia, she was appointed by the last 4  Presidents of the State Bar to serve on the Programs Committee.

Since 2014, Ms. Gilroy has served on the American Land Title Association (ALTA) National Education Committee, one of only a dozen members who write the curriculum for ALTA members. Ms. Gilroy enjoys membership with the Lawyers Club of Atlanta, the Georgia Women’s Lawyers Association, Georgia Mortgage Bankers Association, the Atlanta Realtors Association and the Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation.  She speaks and teaches on a regular basis at the state and national level to attorneys, real estate professionals, property managers, and real estate brokers and agents on litigation and real estate related topics.  In addition to the numerous articles, papers and publications over her career, she is a contributing writer to “Foreclosure Law and Related Remedies: a State-by-State Digest” which is published by the American Bar Association.  She recently was published by Thompson Reuters in the book, “Inside the Minds:  Mortgage and Finance Fraud Litigation Strategies, 2015 ed.”

Ms. Gilroy holds an AV-peer preeminent review rating with Martindale Hubbell.  She is a peer nominated Georgia Super Lawyer since 2013 in the practice area of real estate.  In 2017, Ms. Gilroy was named one of the Top 50 Women Lawyers in Georgia.

Ms. Gilroy is a longtime volunteer for the Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta, serving as a group leader and teen mentor, as well as a volunteer coordinator for the Fulton County Public School System. She is also an active volunteer educator in her church in Johns Creek, Georgia.

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Carrie Anne Messina, Senior Counsel is originally from Kensington, Maryland, where she attended Stone Ridge Country Day School of the Sacred Heart in Bethesda from pre-K through High School graduation. Carrie Anne came into the industry naturally, as the daughter of a top-producing Realtor in the Washington, DC, area and as the granddaughter of three attorneys. Ms. Messina received her undergraduate degree from Loyola University-Maryland, earning a Bachelor of Business Administration with a concentration in Finance, and her Juris Doctor from the University of Baltimore School of Law. Shortly after graduating from law school, Ms. Messina began working for a title company in Maryland, doing closings and title curative work, and has been involved in the real estate industry in some capacity ever since. She lived in Los Angeles, CA, for 7 years, where she worked in finance and escrow. Moving back to the DC-area in 2010, Carrie Anne opened a new branch office for a large East Coast title company, which she managed until moving to Georgia in 2015. After passing the Georgia Bar Exam, she went to work for a closing firm in the Perimeter area and then joined The Gilroy Firm in February 2018. Ms. Messina is licensed to practice law in Maryland and in Georgia. She is a member of the Maryland, Atlanta, Georgia and National Bar Associations, as well as ALTA, National Association of Professional Mortgage Women, and Greater Atlanta Home Builders Associations. Ms. Messina enjoys living in Roswell, Georgia, with her husband and two sons. Her husband is a locations manager in television and film, which is what brought the family to Atlanta. She enjoys SCUBA diving, skiing, eating Maryland blue crabs, and relaxing at the beach with her family.

 

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Matthew F. Totten is an attorney with the firm, concentrating his practice in real property law. Mr. Totten represents lenders and title insurance companies in lawsuits regarding real property disputes, title defects, liens disputes, and foreclosure proceedings. He also represents several national property management clients throughout Georgia in landlord-tenant matters, including fair housing matters, adverse litigation, dispossessory appeals, and general eviction-related issues. Further, he has previous experience in representing financial institutions and mortgage servicer clients throughout the non-judicial foreclosure process, including associated dispossessory, bankruptcy, and litigation matters. Before practicing law, he worked for three years in the financial sector, forecasting, analyzing, and presenting interim and quarterly results to the senior management of large, publicly traded corporations. Mr. Totten attended the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business, graduating cum laude with a B.B.A. in Finance, and also attended the University of South Carolina School of Law, graduating with a J.D. He is a member of the State Bar of Georgia, the Real Estate & Bankruptcy sections, and the Young Lawyers Division of the State Bar. He is admitted to practice in all Georgia trial and appellate courts, as well as in the United States District & Bankruptcy Courts for the Northern, Middle, and Southern Districts of Georgia. In addition, Mr. Totten is an Eagle Scout, serves as a longtime volunteer leader with the Alpha Epsilon Chapter of Alpha Kappa Psi Business Fraternity, and is active alongside his wife in their church in downtown Atlanta.

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Matthew Fennell obtained his Bachelor’s degree from the University of West Georgia where he double majored in Finance and Business Management. Matthew was an active member in the Chi Phi Fraternity with leadership roles as both the Social Chairman as well as Chairman of the Judicial Committee. After graduation, Matthew spent a few years in the Accounting and Finance industry before obtaining a three-year academic scholarship to attend law school at the University of Mississippi in Oxford, MS. Matthew graduated from law school with a J.D. and a concentration in Business Law and obtained this certification with Honors. During law school, Matthew worked with the Internal Revenue Service – Office of Chief Counsel’s Large Business and International Division’s Special Trial Attorney team as well as the Felony division of the Paulding County District Attorney’s office. Additionally, Matthew worked in Washington DC with the Government Relations team at PMAA, representing the interest of small business owners in the industry. Matthew’s research article, Are NTSB Probable Cause Reports Admissible?, was published by the Georgia Bar Association’s Aviation Law Section Newsletter (Summer 2015 edition). The article addresses the admissibility of National Transportation Safety Board reports as evidence in the Georgia Court system. Matthew is a member of the Georgia Bar and admitted to practice in Georgia Superior Courts, The Georgia Court of Appeals as well as the Supreme Court of Georgia. Matthew lives in Atlanta with his yellow Labrador Retriever, Doc.

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Altom_Kent_WebKent E. Altom is Of Counsel with The Gilroy Firm. He is a native of North Carolina and has lived in six southeastern states.  Mr. Altom is a Martindale-Hubbell® AV Preeminent® Peer Review Rated Attorney. Mr. Altom received his Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration (Management) from Samford University and his law degree from Cumberland School of Law where he was a member of The Order of Barristers (Trial Advocacy), a Cordell Hull Teaching Fellow (Legal Research and Writing), and a recipient of the American Bankruptcy Institute’s Medal of Excellence. Following his law school graduation, Mr. Altom completed a two-year clerkship with the Honorable Thomas B. Bennett of the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Alabama. In addition to his undergraduate and law degrees, Mr. Altom earned two graduate degrees prior to enrolling in law school—one in theology and the second in ethics, magna cum laude, from Emory University. He is an active member of the State Bar of Georgia as a member of its Board of Governors as well as the Executive Committee of the Real Property Law Section. He is also a member of the Lawyers Club of Atlanta.  In addition to working at The Gilroy Firm, he teaches business law courses at the University of North Georgia’s Mike Cottrell College of Business.  His legal practice is 100% related to litigation with an emphasis upon residential and commercial real estate and bankruptcy. Mr. Altom is admitted to practice law in all federal and state trial and appellate courts in Georgia and Alabama. Mr. Altom loves practicing law, feels fortunate to work alongside bright and committed professionals, and strives to be the most prepared attorney when he steps into the courtroom to represent his clients.

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Antonia N. Okonkwo is Of Counsel with The Gilroy Firm. Antonia is a native of Nigeria. She was born in Bamenda, Cameroon. Antonia received her Bachelor of Laws degree (LL.B.) from the University of Nigeria, Nigeria where she graduated Magna Cum Laude. At the University of Nigeria, Antonia was the Chief Judge of the Law Student High Court (LAWSA). She earned a Bachelor of Laws degree (B.L.) from Nigerian Law School, Abuja, Nigeria where she graduated Magna Cum Laude. At the Nigerian Law School, she received the prestigious Justice Kayode’s Esho’s prize in Professional Ethics as the best Student in Professional Ethics. Subsequently, Antonia relocated to the United States and earned a Masters of Laws degree (LL.M.) in Tax Law from The University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa.

Antonia is admitted to practice law in Georgia, Tennessee, New York, and Nigeria. She practices residential and commercial real estate law in The Gilroy Firm’s Alpharetta office. Antonia is a member of the Real Property Law and Tax Law Section of the State Bar of Georgia. She is also a member of the Georgia Association of Black Women Attorneys.

In addition to residential and commercial real estate law practice, Antonia has experience in General Business Law, Tax Law, Immigration Law, and General Civil Litigation.

Antonia has a passion for practicing law and teaching. She is a frequent lecturer in the Atlanta immigrant community on emerging legal issues.

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Ike W. CobbIke W. Cobb is originally from Charlotte, N.C. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Presbyterian College and his J.D. from Walter F. George School of Law, Mercer University.  Mr. Cobb is an active member of the State Bar of Georgia and a founding partner of McCalla Raymer, LLC.  His practice areas include residential and commercial real estate as well as condominium law. Mr. Cobb is a member of the Atlanta and American Bar Associations, Lawyers Club of Atlanta, American Judicature Society, the Rotary Club and Phi Delta Phi. He is also a board member for the FCS Urban Ministries.

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