Presidential: Butzel Long attorney spearheads the WCBA


By Sheila Pursglove
Legal News
When Mark Jane returned to Ann Arbor after law school in Chicago, he found membership in the Washtenaw County Bar Association to be invaluable.

“I find the WCBA rewarding because of the connections I’ve been able to make in the legal community,” he says. “When I came back to Michigan to start my career, I had a very limited network. After I joined, I quickly came to realize the WCBA offers a terrific outlet for members to lean on others as a source of additional knowledge and commiseration.”

Jane has previously served as WCBA president-elect, secretary, co-chair of the Judiciary Committee, a co-chair of the Community Liaison Committee, a Director-at-Large, and as co-chair of the New Lawyers Section—for which he was honored with the 2010 Outstanding Young Lawyer Award in recognition for his service.

He succeeded Elizabeth Jolliffe as WCBA president on July 1, and is eager to put his goals into action.

“Critically, I’d like to boost attendance by current membership—whether that’s creating new events based on member feedback, such as a ‘night at the movies,’ reviving old events or enhancing current events to optimize member experiences. I want all members to feel they’re receiving value in exchange for their dues,” he says.

“Elizabeth had a great idea during her presidency of bringing back the annual tennis competition, and she’s been working hard on organizing it. And while the summer tends to be a quiet time for the membership, there are still several events planned through September. For example, we have  the WCBA/WLAM Tailgate Party on September 17 prior to the Michigan-Army football game, the Master Lawyers Luncheon at the Ann Arbor City Club on September 24 and the Annual Probate Court Training Update on September 25.”

Jane says he values the friendships and camaraderie of the WCBA—and the fact he met his wife, immigration attorney Heather Garvock, at a 2009 WCBA event was a happy bonus. The couple has two children, Genevieve and Oliver.

A senior attorney in Butzel Long's Ann Arbor office, with a practice focusing on employee benefits and executive compensation, with a focus on complex issues arising from the sponsorship of group health and welfare plans, Jane followed his older brother Matt into the law – with a little inspiration from Gregory Peck’s portrayal of Atticus Finch in the movie version of “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

Jane earned his undergrad degree in history from the University of Michigan, developing the analytical thinking that would later stand him in good stead as a lawyer. He earned his J.D., cum laude, from Loyola University Chicago School of Law, and was drawn to the ever-changing field of benefits law.

He notes that companies, attorneys, insurers, and administrators all seek the common goal of ensuring participants and beneficiaries are protected and that plan assets and benefits are not unnecessarily taxed or improperly used

While clerking at a small Chicago law firm, he drafted a memorandum surveying the state of ERISA preemption with respect to subrogation in all the federal circuits in the aftermath of the 2002 Supreme Court decision Great West Life & Annuity Ins. Co. v. Knudson. Very proud of that memorandum, he had little idea at the time as to how vast and far-reaching ERISA could be.

Jane has been named an “Associate to Watch” by Chambers USA from 2016-2018, as one of the DBusiness Top Lawyers in Michigan for 2019, and as a “Rising Star” by Michigan Super Lawyers for the years 2009-2013 and 2015-2018.

He was a long-time member of the State Bar of Michigan Young Lawyers Section Council, including serving as chair during the 2015-2016 bar year; and also served a three-year term on the State Bar of Michigan Board of Commissioners from 2014-2017.

He currently serves on the SBM Social Media and Website Committee and as a representative of Washtenaw County (22nd Circuit) on the SBM Representative Assembly.

In his leisure time Jane enjoys all U-M sports; golfing, travel, camping, and family activities.