After over 45 years of practice, representing and counseling businesses ranging from entrepreneurial start-up companies to more established clients in the manufacturing, museum, service, tourism, and nonprofit sectors, Mark has pretty much retired and became Of Counsel to the firm in 2022. He has worked with and represented banks and venture capital providers and companies being financed. He assisted clients with their strategic planning, as well as change management and urgent problem-solving for organizations in crisis.
In counseling his clients, Mark seeks to gather and analyze all of the relevant information and develop a clear understanding of what the client wishes to accomplish. The client is presented with a series of options and the pros and cons of each — and a recommendation supported by rationale. Mark helps his clients select the option best for them and then implements it as efficiently and economically as possible. Often this will include negotiations with other parties, and these are done in the context of achieving the goal while preserving or improving the relationship if possible.
As Mark careens toward complete retirement, he is trying to limit his practice to:
- Nonprofit law, including assistance in organization, strategic planning, financing, governance, mergers and acquisitions, and dissolution; and
- Museum law, most notably the complex issues relating to deaccessioning and the use of proceeds, including representation of the Berkshire Museum in connection with its deaccessioning and sale in 2017-2018 and the Everson Museum in connection with its 2020 deaccessioning and sale of a Pollock to create a fund for the acquisition of works by under-represented artists and a fund to support direct care of the collection.
Mark divides his time between the firm, his work as co-founder and President of Second Street Second Chances, Inc., a start-up nonprofit to provide wraparound services from a central site to support the re-entry of formerly incarcerated individuals into their Berkshire County communities, travel, his efforts to lose his pandemic weight gain, and his dogs Lucy and Ziva. And his grandchildren, of course.
Over the course of his career, Mark has served on numerous nonprofit boards. In 1988, he co-founded Louison House, Inc. (formerly Family Life Support Center, Inc.), an innovative program to provide temporary shelter and services to homeless and at-risk individuals and families and served as its first president. He has served as a member and chairman of the Mount Greylock Regional School Committee and as a member and chairman of the Board of Directors of Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation, Inc. He served as Moderator for the Town of Williamstown, Massachusetts, where he lives, from 2010 to 2013. He served on New England Museum Association’s Board of Directors from 2011 to 2018 and as its treasurer from 2015 to 2018.
He is a frequent presenter and panelist at national and regional museum conferences. In 2021, he helped organize the watershed symposium Deaccessioning After 2020, hosted by Syracuse University Graduate Program in Museum Studies and the College of Law.
Mark presently serves on the Board of Directors of Community Legal Aid, Inc., providing legal services to the low-income population in central and western Massachusetts, and President of the Board of Second Street Second Chances, Inc. He also serves as a volunteer Hearing Officer for the Massachusetts Board of Bar Overseers.
Mark’s long history of community service earned him the Massachusetts Bar Association’s Community Service Award in 1992.
Author or Co-Author
- “Amid Financial Adversity, Can a US Museum Association Emerge as an Innovative Leader on Deaccessioning?” in The Art Newspaper, August 2, 2021.
- “Collateralization: Financial Stability without Deaccessioning” in Collections and Deaccessioning: Towards a New Reality, MuseumsEtc, 2021.
- “When Deaccessioning Isn’t Enough: Closing the Museum” in Collections and Deaccessioning: Towards a New Reality, MuseumsEtc, 2021.
- “Prioritizing the Public Domain in Deaccessioning” in Collections and Deaccessioning: Towards a New Reality, MuseumsEtc, 2021.
- “Why the Association of Art Museum Directors’s move on deaccessioning matters so much” in The Art Newspaper, May 18, 2020.
- “Making Salaries a Priority for Museum Boards” in For Love or Money: Confronting the State of Museum Salaries, MuseumsEtc, 2019.
- “Investing in Museums: A New Paradigm for Professional Compensation” in The State of Museums: Voices from the Field, MuseumsEtc, 2018.
- “Monetizing the Collection: The Intersection of Law, Ethics, and Trustee Prerogative” in The Legal Guide for Museum Professionals, Courtney, Ed., Rowman & Littlefield, 2015, and an updated version published in Is it Okay to Sell the Monet?, Courtney, Ed., Rowman & Littlefield, 2018.
- “Keeping Deaccessioned Objects in the Public Domain: Legal and Practical Issues” in The Legal Guide for Museum Professionals, Courtney, Ed., Rowman & Littlefield, 2015, and an updated version published in Is it Okay to Sell the Monet?, Courtney, Ed., Rowman & Littlefield, 2018.
- “AAM’s Direct Care of Collections Whitepaper: Providing Much Needed Clarity in a Thoughtful Way” in New England Museums Now, July 2016.
- “Endowments: Lockbox or Cookie Jar?” in NEMA News, July 2013.
- “What Happens When a Museum Closes” in Museum, May 2013.
- “The Parent Trap” in Museum, November 2012.
- “Trustees of Parent Organizations: Just Doing Their Jobs” in in A Handbook for Academic Museums: Beyond Exhibitions and Education, Jandl & Gold, Eds. MuseumsEtc. 2012.
- “The Deaccessioning Debate: What Appraisers Need to Know” in Journal of Advanced Appraisal Studies, 2010.
- “Nothing Ethical About It” in Museum News, September 2009.
- “Death by Ethics” in Museum News, November 2005.
Editor or Co-Editor
- Collections and Deaccessioning in a Post-Pandemic World: Conversations with Museum Leaders, MuseumsEtc, 2021.
- Collections and Deaccessioning in a Post-Pandemic World: Towards a New Reality, MuseumsEtc, 2021.
- Collections and Deaccessioning in a Post-Pandemic World: Case Studies, MuseumsEtc, 2021.
- For Love or Money: Confronting the State of Museum Salaries, MuseumsEtc, 2019.
- The State of Museums: Voices from the Field, MuseumsEtc, 2018.
- A Handbook for Academic Museums: Advancing Engagement, MuseumsEtc. 2014.
- A Handbook for Academic Museums: Exhibitions and Education, MuseumsEtc, 2012.
- A Handbook for Academic Museums: Beyond Exhibitions and Education, MuseumsEtc. 2012.