Marc J. Lane

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Marc J. Lane
Born (1946-08-30)30 August 1946
Nationality American
Alma mater Northwestern University School of Law
University of Illinois
Occupation Attorney, Financial Advisor, Social Activist and Author
Known for Advocacy Investing, Entrepreneurship, Corporate Governance and L3C

Marc J. Lane (born 30 August 1946) is a business, trust, estate, and tax attorney, Master Registered Financial Planner, Registered Financial Counselor, and Certified Investment Specialist.[1] Lane is Chairman of the State of Illinois' Task Force on Social Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Enterprise, as appointed by Governor Pat Quinn.[2] He designed and teaches the Social Enterprise course as an adjunct Professor of Law at his alma mater, Northwestern University School of Law, and has also served as an adjunct Professor of Business in the MBA program at the University of Illinois-Chicago College of Business Administration's Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies.[3] Lane is the author of thirty-four books on corporate organization, management, taxation, investment, personal finance and social enterprise.[4] Out of his proprietary research, he developed a new socially responsible investing approach, Advocacy Investing,[5] which allows investors to positively express their values on corporate behavior issues such as social justice and the environment through stock selection—without sacrificing portfolio diversification or long-term performance.[6] Lane drafted the Illinois legislation to create an entity called the Low-Profit Limited Liability Company (L3C), a new hybrid structure intended for use by for-profit ventures that have a primary goal of achieving a socially beneficial purpose.[7] The law was signed by Gov. Pat Quinn on 4 August 2009, and took effect on 1 January 2010.[8][9] Marc Lane's 34th book, Social Enterprise: Empowering Mission-Driven Entrepreneurs, was published in 2011.[10][11]


Lane graduated from Northwestern University School of Law in 1971 and subsequently founded The Law Offices of Marc J. Lane, P.C.. In 1985, he established his own NASD-licensed (now the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA)-licensed) broker-dealer. By the year 2002, Marc J. Lane Wealth Group included The Law Offices of Marc J. Lane, P.C.; Marc J. Lane Investment Management, Inc., a SEC-registered investment advisory firm; Marc J. Lane & Company, a FINRA-registered, full-service general securities firm; and Marc J. Lane Risk Management, Inc., an insurance agency.[12][13]

Advocacy Investing[edit]

Upon a request by one of his wealth clients, Lane embarked on an eight-year research project to determine how investment choices can be utilized to communicate clients' values, along with their money, to heirs.[5] Lane’s study methodically examined the performance of stocks grouped by positive screening methods in two categories, social justice and respect for the environment.[14] Over the eight years ending 31 December 2003, Lane was able to generate a result that beat the Russell 3000 benchmark by an annual return of 2.53%.[5] In 2003, out of his proprietary research, Lane developed Advocacy Investing, a new approach to socially responsible investing ("SRI").[5] Unlike traditional approaches to SRI, Lane’s approach, also called “mission-based investing” is "positive" or "inclusionary" (identifying companies to invest in) rather than "negative" or "exclusionary" (identifying companies or entire industries to exclude from the portfolio).[15] Lane’s proprietary method involves the selection of investment securities based on a company’s financial and governance standards as well as criteria driven by the investor's unique social values.[16]

In 2005, Lane published a book on the subject, entitled Profitable Socially Responsible Investing? An Institutional Investor’s Guide.[17][18] As a result, his approach was widely discussed with both affirmative and skeptical views by the mainstream media. The Wall Street Journal commented that Lane’s theories added a new variation to the socially responsible theme. “Lane made the case that the way to do right by your conscience and your portfolio is to drop the typical SRI strategy of ‘negative screening.’ Instead, Lane’s way is to match the specific values of an investor with companies that have similar operational values.” [17] Elizabeth Wine, reporter for On Wall Street magazine, noted that Advocacy Investing has become the new generation of socially responsible investing. She wrote, "Advocacy investing pushes the idea of sustainability, not just in the narrow environmental sense, but also in the sense of a company's long term potential to compete and succeed."[19] Stasia Swisler, President and CEO for the Giving Trust praised the approach by stating that “In the wake of ethics and governance scandals, this guide boldly takes socially responsible investing to a new level.” Acknowledging that Lane’s approach provides an invaluable tool for fiduciaries considering socially responsible investing and advances original research finding competitive financial performance for positive screening, book commentator, William Baue cautioned readers to take the findings with the same grain of salt that Lane sprinkles on others’ research as Lane excluded mutual funds from the purview of his study for practical reasons.[20] Marc J. Lane handles $50 million in SRI assets, and he is often cited as an expert on socially responsible investing as a result of his proprietary research and innovation of Advocacy Investing.[21][22]


Lane is the author of Advising Entrepreneurs: Dynamic Strategies for Financial Growth (John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2001) along with a number of other titles published since 1974.[23] His book provides a comprehensive approach to starting a business, locating sources of financing, lowering taxes, shielding assets, compensating the entrepreneur and employees, preparing for an IPO, growing wealth, and much more by promoting prudent risk taking.[24] Thomas Morsch, Director of the Small Business Opportunity Center at the Northwestern University School of Law, commented that “Marc J. Lane has done a wonderful job of addressing all of these in one very readable and sensible book.” [25]

Corporate governance[edit]

Lane's book on best corporate governance practices, Representing Corporate Officers and Directors, has been described as “the authoritative guide to corporate governance.”[26] First published in 1987, Lane's treatise on corporate governance was revised in 2004.[27][28] The new, expanded edition, Representing Corporate Officers, Directors, Managers, and Trustees, was published in 2010.[29] With the goal of promoting positive social change, Lane provides companies and their directors, officers, auditors, and shareholders with insights for the compliance of new legislation, rules and responsibilities in response to the avalanche of corporate accounting scandals.[26][30]

L3C legislation[edit]

Lane is seen as one of the chief authorities on the L3C movement.[31][32] Described by Forbes as a "leader in developing the L3C concept," he has been a force behind L3C legislation in several states.[33] He helped spearhead the establishment of the low-profit limited liability company (L3C) in Illinois, making Illinois the fifth state to authorize the creation of L3Cs.[9][34][35] Lane authored Illinois’ L3C bill, which passed unanimously in both houses of the General Assembly and was signed into law on 4 August 2009.[7][36] The law aims to make it easier for social enterprises to attract capital, said Sen. Heather Steans (D-7th District), who sponsored the bill.[9] L3Cs leverage foundations' program-related investments (PRIs) to access trillions of dollars of market-driven capital for ventures with modest financial prospects, but the possibility of major social impact.[37][38][39] The L3C "preserves the financial advantages and governance flexibility of the traditional limited liability company while placing social mission ahead of profits," Lane said in a press interview regarding the use of the L3C as the legal platform for former Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley's The Sustainability Exchange.[40]

An amendment to the L3C bill, also drafted by Lane, unanimously passed the Senate on April 17, 2013, and has been referred to the House Rules Committee.[41] The amendment would allow for a more expansive description of the purposes for which L3Cs can be created, consistent with the proposed examples of PRIs set forth by the IRS in 2012.[42] The expanded clause would make Illinois the first state to authorize L3Cs whose purposes may reflect the whole range of statutorily sanctioned PRIs.[36]

Lane also drafted a bill that establishes a new type of entity called the “benefit LLC,” a new class of LLCs whose purpose requires them to create benefit for society generally as well as members.[36] Through the benefit LLC, Illinois limited liability companies would have the same opportunities afforded to Illinois corporations under the state’s new Benefit Corporation Law (which took effect January 1, 2013).[43][42] Passage of the bill would make Illinois the first state to offer a social enterprise the opportunity to be a benefit L3C.[42] Sen. Heather A. Steans (D-7th District) filed the bill on February 15, 2013; it has received its first reading and been referred to the Senate Assignments Committee.[44]

Social enterprise[edit]

By appointment of Governor Pat Quinn, Lane is Chairman of the State of Illinois' Task Force on Social Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Enterprise,[45] an initiative that seeks actionable recommendations on how to further social enterprise in the state and advises the General Assembly, the Governor, and agency heads on how to strengthen the capacity of Illinois to work cooperatively to create, scale, and sustain innovative social programs; build the capacity of nonprofit organizations and government to pursue entrepreneurial ventures; and attract funding to Illinois to support these ventures.[46][47] The Task Force provided its preliminary report in January 2013, which was prepared by Lane along with other members of the Task Force.[48] The Six Month Report was published in April 2013 and the third report was published in January 2014.[42] [49] A past Director for the Social Enterprise Alliance (SEA), the national association of enterprising nonprofits and social-purpose businesses, Lane founded the SEA's Chicago Chapter, which he serves as President and Director.[50] SEA's Chicago Chapter houses the Social Enterprise Survey and began collecting survey responses in April 2013 with the ultimate goal of creating an Illinois Social Enterprise Directory.[49] Lane additionally chairs SEA’s affiliate, the Center for Social Enterprise Accreditation.[51]

Social involvement[edit]

Lane serves as the founding partner for Social Venture Partners Chicago, a partnership and network of philanthropically minded investors, and of the Illinois Chapter of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys.[52][53] He also served as the Chairman of the Board for Grant A Wish, Inc. and the Illinois Chapter of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys.[54][55] Lane is an active member of several other organizations as well, including the National Association of Securities Dealers Inc., the American Association of Retired Persons Legal Services Network, the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, the International Trade Association of Greater Chicago and the Chicago Council of Lawyers, among many others.[55]

Lane is a frequent guest on national business and public affairs television and radio networks such as CNBC, ABC, PBS and Sirius Satellite Radio and online media such as and He is also a regular columnist for Crain’s Chicago Business. He is an often-requested expert source for publications such as the Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Money, Christian Science Monitor and Business Ethics.[16][56] Lane regularly gives lectures and seminars on business, taxation and personal finance,[55][57][58]and is frequently asked to sit on panels, conduct interviews and opine as to developments in corporate governance and social enterprise.[59][60][61][62][63]

Lane joined other law professors in supporting Elena Kagan’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court. The letter, signed by over 850 professors of law, was delivered to the Senate Judiciary Committee on 29 June 2010.[64]


  1. Contributor to Dan Pallotta, Charity Case: How the Nonprofit Community Can Stand Up for Itself and Really Change the World, Jossey-Bass, 2012
  2. Social Enterprise: Empowering Mission-Driven Entrepreneurs, American Bar Association, 2011
  3. Representing Corporate Officers, Directors, Managers, and Trustees, Aspen Publishers, 2010 [supplemented, 2011, 2012]
  4. Profitable Socially Responsible Investing? An Institutional Investor’s Guide, Euromoney Institutional Investor PLC, 2005
  5. Representing Corporate Officers and Directors, Aspen Publishers, 2005 [supplemented, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009]
  6. Advising Entrepreneurs: Dynamic Strategies for Financial Growth, John Wiley and Sons, 2001
  7. Elder Law: Meeting the New Challenges When Advising Elderly Clients, with others, Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education, 1997
  8. Business Advice & Financial Planning for Lawyers, with others, Illinois State Bar Association, 1995
  9. Purchase and Sale of Small Businesses: Forms, Second Edition, Wiley Law Publications, 1991
  10. Purchase and Sale of Small Businesses, Second Edition, Wiley Law Publications, 1991
  11. Legal Handbook for Small Business, Revised Edition, American Management Association, 1989
  12. Due Diligence: Process, Participants and Liability, with others, College for Financial Planning, 1988
  13. Representing Corporate Officers and Directors, Wiley Law Publications, 1987
  14. Impact of 1986 Tax Code on Closely Held Businesses, The Law Offices of Marc J. Lane, a Professional Corporation, 1986
  15. Purchase and Sale of Small Businesses: Tax and Legal Aspects, Wiley Law Publications, 1985
  16. Amortization of Intangibles, Bureau of National Affairs, 1983
  17. Taxation for Small Business, second edition, John Wiley and Sons, 1982
  18. Legal Handbook for Nonprofit Organizations, American Management Association, 1981
  19. Corporations: Pre-Organization Planning, Bureau of National Affairs, 1980
  20. Taxation for the Computer Industry, John Wiley and Sons, 1980
  21. Taxation for Small Business, first edition, John Wiley and Sons, 1980
  22. Taxation for Engineering and Technical Consultants, John Wiley and Sons, 1980
  23. Taxation for Small Manufacturers, John Wiley and Sons, 1980
  24. Twenty-Third Annual Federal Tax Course, with others, Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education, 1980
  25. The Professional Corporation, Medico-Legal Institute, Inc., 1979
  26. The Doctor’s Law Guide: Essentials of Practice Management, W.B. Saunders Company, 1979
  27. Legal Handbook for Small Business, American Management Association, 1978
  28. The Doctor’s Lawyer: A Legal Handbook for Doctors, Charles C. Thomas, 1974


  1. ^ Wine, Elizabeth (1 November 2012). "10 Biggest Estate Planning Mistakes". On Wall Street. Retrieved 29 November 2012. 
  2. ^ "State of Illinois Appointment". Retrieved 8 August 2012. 
  3. ^ "About Us". Social Enterprise Alliance/Chicago. Retrieved 8 August 2012. 
  4. ^ "Nonprofit, For-Profit, L3C, B Corp...How to Choose?". Grant Space. 4 August 2011. 
  5. ^ a b c d Lewis, Geoff. "Advocacy Investing – Catnip for Wealthy Clients?.". Registered Rep. Retrieved 12 May 2005. 
  6. ^ Wells, Angela (15 July 2004). "New Financial Study Shows Stocks Can Reflect Investor Values without Sacrificing Performance". Sunnyvale: Yahoo Finance. Retrieved 12 May 2005. 
  7. ^ a b Stankorb, Sarah (8 March 2012). "Where Did Social Enterprise Come From, Anyway?". GOOD Worldwide. Retrieved 8 August 2012. 
  8. ^ Meyer, Ann (28 December 2009). "Nonprofits benefit from for-profit practices". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 8 August 2012. 
  9. ^ a b c Meyer, Ann (10 August 2009). "New corporate category could aid fundraising for low-profit companies". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 24 August 2012. 
  10. ^ Larson, Rolfe (17 April 2012). "SE: Empowering Mission-Driven Entrepreneurs (Marc Lane)". Free Management Library. Retrieved 8 August 2012. 
  11. ^ Lane, Marc. "Social Enterprise: Empowering Mission-Driven Entrepreneurs (Marc Lane)". American Bar Association. Retrieved 26 August 2014. 
  12. ^ Brunts, Julia (9 December 2002). "From seed of law, he grew a business". Chicago Daily Law Bulletin. 
  13. ^ Green, Mitchell (31 October 2013). "Summer Spotlight: Marc J. Lane Wealth Management". NBR. Retrieved 26 August 2014. 
  14. ^ Lagasse, Paul (September–October 2008). "Double Duty: How Mission-related investing not only furthers your mission, but also provides desirable financial returns". Advancing Philanthropy: 24. 
  15. ^ Feigenbaum, Cliff; Ketcham, Ted, eds. (Fall 2004). "New Financial Study Shows Stocks Can Reflect Investor Values Without Sacrificing Performance; Study Measures Effect of Positive Corporate Behavior". Green Money Journal. 
  16. ^ a b Penn, Michael (19 July 2006). "The Law Offices of Marc J. Lane and Its Financial-Services Affiliates Join United Nations' Global Compact; Sole U.S. Law Firm Joins International Initiative to Support Globalization and Social Change". Business Wire. Retrieved 24 August 2012. 
  17. ^ a b Colter, Gene (13 May 2005). "Sin, Revisited". New York: The Wall Street Journal. 
  18. ^ Staff Writer. "Profitable Socially Responsible Investing? An Institutional Investor’s Guide". Euromoney Institutional Investor PLC. Retrieved 14 June 2012. 
  19. ^ Wine, Elizabeth. "SRI Plows the Path to Profitability". On Wall Street. 
  20. ^ Baue, William (4 August 2005). "Book Review--Profitable Socially Responsible Investing?: An Institutional Investor's Guide". Retrieved 8 August 2012. 
  21. ^ Young, Angelo (16 June 2012). "If You're Anti-Guns Or Against Abortion And Pornography Or Don't Like Testing On Animals There's Always Socially Responsible Investing". International Business Times. Retrieved 18 June 2012. 
  22. ^ Brill, Betsy; Winer, Susan (August–September 2003). "The Best of Both Worlds: Responsible Social and Financial Investment". Journal of Estate Planning: 47. 
  23. ^ "Advising Entrepreneurs: Dynamic Strategies for Financial Growth (J.K. Lasser Pro) (Kindle Edition)". 
  24. ^ "J.K.Lasser Pro Advising Entrepreneurs: Dynamic Strategies for Financial Growth (J. K. Lasser Pro)" (Book Review). Powell’s Books. 
  25. ^ Morsch, Thomas (4 September 2001). "Advising Entrepreneurs: Dynamic Strategies for Financial Growth" (Book Review). 
  26. ^ a b "Mark J. Lane". The Harry Walker Agency, Inc. Retrieved 8 August 2012. 
  27. ^ "Representing Corporate Officers and Directors (Business Practice Library) (Hardcover)". Retrieved 28 May 2009. 
  28. ^ "Representing Corporate Officers & Directors (Ring-bound)". Retrieved 28 May 2009. 
  29. ^ "Representing Corporate Officers and Directors". Aspen Publishers: Wolters Kluwer Law & Business. Retrieved 8 August 2012. 
  30. ^ The Harry Walker Agency, Inc. (22 May 2006). "Harry Walker Agency Adds Marc J. Lane to Its Roster of Renowned Business Speakers; Impassioned Speaker Available to Address Socially Responsible Investing, Corporate Governance and Entrepreneurship". Business Wire. Retrieved 8 August 2012. 
  31. ^ Zwetsch, Rick (3 June 2010). "The L3C is so revolutionary and potentially so threatening...". InterSector Partners, L3C. Retrieved 17 September 2012. 
  32. ^ Capriccioso, Caryn; Zwetsch, Rick; Shaver, Erin (May 2010). "Who is the L3C Entrepreneur?" (white paper). InterSector Partners, L3C. 
  33. ^ Field, Anne (4 May 2012). "IRS Rule Could Help the Fledgling L3C Corporate Form". Forbes. Retrieved 17 September 2012. 
  34. ^ Lane, Marc J. "The Low-profit Limited Liability Company (L3C)". InterSector Partners, L3C. Retrieved 17 September 2012. 
  35. ^ Segal, Jeff (12 October 2012). "How Social Entrepreneurship is Changing Chicago (and the World)". Technori. Retrieved 31 October 2012. 
  36. ^ a b c Lane, Marc; Bodor, Brandon; Agha, Mavara (January, 2013). Preliminary Report (Report). Governor’s Task Force on Social Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Enterprise.
  37. ^ Staff Writer. "Steans advances new socially responsible for-profit organizations". Illinois State Senate Democrats. 
  38. ^ Chan, Emily (10 March 2009). "L3C-Developments & Resources". Social Enterprise. Retrieved 12 May 2005. 
  39. ^ "L3Cs hold key to solving state's social woes". Crain’s Chicago Business. 11 August 2008. Retrieved 24 August 2012. 
  40. ^ Wayland, Ashleigh (24 June 2013). "Mayors Across the Country Announce Support for New Sustainability Initiative - The Sustainability Exchange". Retrieved 26 August 2014. 
  41. ^ S.B. 2359, 98th Gen. Assem. (Ill. 2013).
  42. ^ a b c d Six Month Report (Report). Governor’s Task Force on Social Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Enterprise. April, 2013.
  43. ^ 805 ILCS 40/1 to 40/5.01.
  44. ^ S.B. 2358, 98th Gen. Assem. (Ill. 2013).
  45. ^ Staff Writer (17 September 2012). "Illinois Task Force on Social Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Enterprise". Social Enterprise Alliance. p. Member News. Retrieved 21 September 2012. 
  46. ^ Capriccioso, Caryn; Zwetsch, Rick; Shaver, Erin (Fall 2012). "Who is the L3C Entrepreneur?" (white paper). interSector Partners, L3C. 
  47. ^ Lane, Marc (19 December 2012). Graham, Madeline, ed. Spotlight on Chicago Chapter. (Interview). Social Enterprise Alliance. Retrieved 17 January 2013. 
  48. ^ "Governor's Task Force on Social Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Enterprise Preliminary Report: January 2013". 16 January 2013. 
  49. ^ a b Report 3 (Report). Governor’s Task Force on Social Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Enterprise. January, 2014.
  50. ^ "Interview with Marc J. Lane" (Blog). Left Brain/Right Brain Productions: People. Planet. Profit. March 2012. 
  51. ^ "Nonprofit, For-Profit, L3C, B Corp...How to Choose?". Grant Space. 24 August 2011. Retrieved 24 August 2012. 
  52. ^ "About SVP Chicago". Social Ventures Partners Chicago. Retrieved 14 June 2012. 
  53. ^ Gould, Julie (5 December 1993). "Group to focus on serving state’s senior citizens". Chicago Daily Law Bulletin. 
  54. ^ "Contact Info". Chicago, IL: Grant A Wish Inc. Retrieved 24 August 2012. 
  55. ^ a b c "Superlawyers". Thomson Reuters. 2012. Retrieved 8 August 2012. 
  56. ^ Lane, Marc J. (2012). "12: Commit More Federal Funds for a Pay-for-Success Bond Program". In Pallotta, Dan. Charity Case. Jossey-Bass. pp. 165–167. ISBN 9781118117521. 
  57. ^ Bailey Williams (2 May 2014). "Arts task force looks to find model for downtown arts center". The Daily Northwestern. 
  58. ^ Staff Writer (2014). "Community Enterprise Development Project". CEDP. 
  59. ^ Staff Writer (6 May 2011). "Chicago Microfinance Conference – A Closing "Fireside" Chat with Premal Shah of Kiva". Interview of Premal Shah by Marc. J. Lane. Opportunity International. 
  60. ^ Capriccioso, Caryn (6 April 2010). "Caryn's Take-Aways from Social Venture Capital/Social Enterprise 2010". InterSector Partners, L3C. Retrieved 17 September 2012. 
  61. ^ Staff Writer (22 October 2010). "Investors, not Donors, Key to Charity Growth". Philanthropy Today (The Chronicle of Philanthropy). 
  62. ^ Nichols, Michelle. "Experts: Some US Charities Need Profits to Survive". New York, NY. Thomson Reuters Foundation. 
  63. ^ Taylor, Andrew (2 October 2012). "Exploring the L3C for the arts". The Artful Manager. ArtsJournal. 
  64. ^ "Letter to Hon. Patrick J. Leahy and Hon. Jefferson B. Sessions" (pdf). Harvard Law School. 29 June 2012. Retrieved 24 August 2012.