Attorney Mark Bush has competed in 225 road races, has won seven “Grand Masters” and two “Masters,” and has claimed 58 age group titles.

Med mal attorney stays a step ahead

By Sheila Pursglove
Legal News

Attorney Mark Bush has found himself in some epic jury trials over the years, including a seven-week-long medical malpractice wrongful death trial in Midland County. 

“There were so many parties that the trial was moved to the Homer Township Fire Hall where carpenters had rapidly constructed a temporary bench for Judge (Thomas) Ludington and a jury box,” Bush says.  “After a particularly grueling trial, the jury went out on a Tuesday and stayed out until Friday before returning a defense verdict for all defendants, including my internal medicine physician client.

“That case also took us to Madrid, Spain, for depositions which is a rare trip on the med mal circuit.”

That trial was just one of many challenging cases for Bush in his 33 years with Fraser Trebilcock, one of the oldest law firms in Lansing.

Bush’s legal specialties include representing professionals, especially physicians and other health care providers, and handling complex and often emotional cases such as wrongful death and catastrophic injury, as well as insurance coverage conundrums, and commercial disputes. 

For the past three years, the veteran litigator and trial specialist has worked primarily for one major firm client, coordinating its litigation and other legal needs for a large, statewide utility construction project.

Bush also shares his expertise by teaching on Tuesday evenings at Central Michigan University College of Business Administration, where he has taught courses in business law and the legal history of civil rights since 2008.

“I’ve taught law students before, but I find the undergrads much more fun,” says Bush, who previously taught as an adjunct professor at Cooley Law School. “I’ve got freshmen to seniors, all different majors, and one three-hour session each week to teach them ‘all’ of torts, contracts, or constitutional law. 

“That much weekly on your feet presentation and explanation time actually keeps you sharper for courtroom work – like with juries, you’ve got to throw a pitch that most of them can hit.”

Named in the ranks of Michigan Super Lawyers, and Leading Lawyers, and achieving an AV© peer review rating by Martindale-Hubbell, Bush joined Fraser Trebilcock in 1983, the firm’s 100th anniversary year, after earning his J.D. from the University of Notre Dame Law School.

“(Attorney) Pete Dunlap interviewed me at the law school and liked that I’d worked in ‘hard knocks’ construction and factory jobs during college summers,” he says. 

“Pete tells the story that when he later called to offer me a job, he instead got my mother on the phone who told him, without any hesitation, ‘Bush accepts.’”

It was certainly a more serendipitous start to his career than his foray into undergrad studies, when his acceptance letter to the University of Michigan was dated Nov.10, 1975 – the day the S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald sank in Lake Superior.

“I thought, this can’t be an omen,” says Bush, who went on to double major in economics and philosophy and graduate with honors.

Bush and Shelee, his wife of 32 years and a U-M graduate and graphic designer, have called Okemos home since 1988. The two met as students at U-M and were married in the First Congregational Church on State Street in Ann Arbor, across from Angell Hall.  Their younger son, a student in the U-M College of Engineering, will be the 10th Wolverine graduate in their two families. Their older son, a Hope College grad, works in Grand Rapids.   

In giving back to his community, Bush was one of the founding parishioners of St. Martha Parish in Okemos; has served as Chairman of the Board of Directors for Highfields, Inc., a residential camp for troubled boys in Ingham County; and has volunteered for the armed services program at the American Red Cross.

After taking up running while working as a summer associate at the law firm, Bush has since competed in 225 road races at distances between half marathon and 5K, and has recently been doing about 40 races a year, including some in what he terms “ridiculous” winter weather. He has won seven “Grand Masters” (fastest runner over the age of 50) and two “Masters,” (fastest runner over the age of 40) and has won his age group 58 times.

He has been keen on sports since his boyhood on Grosse Ile, the island straddling the southerly Detroit River between the American mainland and the Canadian shore.

“Unique place to be a kid,” he says. “My three older brothers and I would water ski right in front of the house jumping the freighter wakes. In the winter we'd play river hockey – at least until the Coast Guard cutters would come through and splinter the ice out from under us.”

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