Marc J. Lane

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Marc J. Lane
Marc J. Lane.jpg
Alma materNorthwestern University School of Law
University of Illinois
Occupationattorney, financial advisor, author

Marc J. Lane (born 1946) is an American attorney and businessman. He was involved in creation of the legislation to allow low-profit limited liability companies in Illinois.[1]


Lane graduated from Northwestern University School of Law in 1971 and subsequently founded The Law Offices of Marc J. Lane. 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, an investment advisory, a broker-dealer and a merchant banking affiliate.[2]

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 his clients' values, along with their money, to heirs.[3] In 2003, out of his proprietary research, Lane developed a new socially responsible investing approach, termed Advocacy Investing.[citation needed] Then, in 2005, he published a book on the subject entitled Profitable Socially Responsible Investing? An Institutional Investor’s Guide.[4] Lane’s new investment strategy generated a result that beat the Russell 3000 benchmark by an annual return of 2.53% over the eight years ending December 31, 2003.[3][5][6]

As a result, Lane’s 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. For example, a food bank with an endowment to invest would want to buy the stock of a company with a good human rights record, despite the fact that this company might also happen to produce beer."[4] 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."[7] 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." [8] Acknowledging that Lane’s approach provides an invaluable tool for fiduciaries considering SRI and advances original research finding competitive financial performance for positive screening, book commentator, William Baue cautioned the readers to take his findings with the same grain of salt as he sprinkles on others’ research as Lane excluded mutual funds outside the purview of his study in his book for practical reasons.


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 in the past 30 years.[9] 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;" while Harvard Business School Working Knowledge remarked that "the book maintains a useful middle ground between the superficial and the highly technical."[10]

Corporate governance[edit]

Lane's book on best corporate governance practices, Representing Corporate Officers and Directors, was first published in 1987.[11][12] He revisited his treatise on corporate governance in 2005.[13][14] The new, expanded edition, Representing Corporate Officers, Directors, Managers, and Trustees, was published in 2010.[15][16] 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.[17][18]

Social involvement and L3C legislation[edit]

Lane serves as the founding partner for Social Venture Partners Chicago. In addition, He is a Director for the Social Enterprise Alliance (SEA) and the founder and President of its Chicago Chapter, and he chairs SEA’s affiliate, the Center for Social Enterprise Accreditation. He also served as the Chairman of the Board for the Grant A Wish, Inc. and the Illinois Chapter of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys. He is one of the drafters of the Illinois legislation and promoted the establishment of low-profit limited liability companies (L3C). The law, which will take effect on January 1, 2010, aims to make it easier for social enterprises to attract capital, said Sen. Heather Steans (D-Chicago), who sponsored the bill.[19] L3Cs leverage foundations' program-related investments to access trillions of dollars of market-driven capital for ventures with modest financial prospects, but the possibility of major social impact.[20][21]

Contributions to L3C publications 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. Besides, he is often-requested expert source for publications such as the Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Money, Christian Science Monitor and Business Ethics.[22][23]

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 June 29, 2010.[24]


  1. ^ Meyer, Ann (August 10, 2009). "New corporate structure could give social entrepreneurs new funding stream". Chicago, IL: Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 10 August 2009.
  2. ^ Brunts, Julia (9 December 2002). "From seed of law, he grew a business". Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.
  3. ^ a b Lewis, Geoff. ""Advocacy Investing – Catnip for Wealthy Clients?"". Registered Rep. Retrieved 12 May 2005.
  4. ^ a b Colter, Gene (13 May 2005). "Sin, Revisited". New York: The Wall Street Journal.
  5. ^ Staff writer (1 September 2004). "SRI with an Active Twist". Research Reporter. Retrieved 12 May 2005.
  6. ^ Write, Staff. "SRI with an Active Twist". Research Reporter. Retrieved 12 May 2005.
  7. ^ Wine, Elizabeth. "SRI Plows the Path to Profitability". On Wall Street.
  8. ^ Staff writer (20 May 2005). ""Profitable Socially Responsible Investing?" Makes a Convincing and Provocative Case for Value-Based Investing".
  9. ^ Editors, Staff. "J.K. Lasser Pro Advising Entrepreneurs: Dynamic Strategies for Financial Growth". Retrieved 2 June 2009.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  10. ^ "Socially Responsible Investing". Jaya's Blog.
  11. ^ Staff Writer (2009). "Marc Jay Lane". Avvo. Retrieved 28 May 2009.
  12. ^ "Representing Corporate Officers and Directors (Business Practice Library) (Hardcover)". Jan 1987. ISBN 978-0471817888.
  14. ^ "Representing Corporate Officers & Directors (Ring-bound)". 13 October 2004. ISBN 978-0735550964.
  15. ^ Staff Writer (2005). "Representing corporate officers and directors". Retrieved 1 June 2009.
  16. ^ Staff Writer (2005). "Representing corporate officers and directors". WorldCat. Retrieved 1 June 2009.
  17. ^ "Mark J. Lane". The Harry Walker Agency, Inc. Retrieved 2 June 2009.
  18. ^ "Harry Walker Agency Adds Marc J. Lane to Its Roster of Renowned Business Speakers; Impassioned..." Business Wire. Retrieved 2 June 2005.
  19. ^ Meyer, Ann (August 10, 2009). "New corporate structure could give social entrepreneurs new funding stream". Chicago, IL: Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 10 August 2009.
  20. ^ "Steans advances new socially responsible for-profit organizations". Illinois state Senate Democrats.
  21. ^ Chan, Emily (10 March 2009). "SL3C Developments & Resources". Social Enterprise. Retrieved 12 May 2005.
  22. ^ Penn, Michael (2 June 2005). "Marc J. Lane Investment Management, Inc. Signs United Nations' Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI); Early Pioneer of Principled, Values-Based Investing - Or Advocacy Investing(SM) Supports UNPrinciples". CSR. Retrieved 12 May 2005.
  24. ^ Letter to Hon. Patrick J.Leahy and Hon. Jefferson B.Sessions, June 29, 2010