Jason Bank featured in Turnaround Management Association Detroit, Fall '17 Newsletter
Before he was a restructuring lawyer, Jason Bank learned to perform in pressure situations while waiting tables at Pizza Hut in Ann Arbor. During one particular weekend, the Michigan High School Athletics Association was holding the state basketball championships at Crisler Arena just down the street from where Jason was waiting tables. The games ended right before supper time. Unfortunately for Jason, the rest of the wait staff scheduled to work that night called in sick or did not show up. As a result, Jason learned quickly to manage and juggle the expectations of a restaurant full of very hungry patrons.
Being able to quickly adapt, manage and juggle are skills that have served Jason well as an insolvency attorney. Today, Jason is the head of the bankruptcy and restructuring practice at Kerr Russell in Detroit where he advises and counsels troubled companies and business owners. Most recently, Jason represented Treetops Resort during their successful Chapter 11 reorganization.
Jason's path to Kerr Russell started shortly after the pizza-palooza in Ann Arbor. At that time, Jason was also working as a freelance journalist for a business publication in Ann Arbor. While Jason had a passion for writing, he didn't think the life of a freelancer (and part-time waiter) was for him. Jason thought about law school. Ever the pragmatist, Jason wanted to get some experience working at a law firm before making the commitment to law school. So he did what many of us did before the advent of the internet - he answered a want ad in the newspaper and landed a job as a runner at Schafer & Weiner.
Jason liked what he saw and started going to law school at night while continuing to work at Schafer & Weiner, first as a runner, then as a law clerk and then as an attorney. During that time, Jason worked closely with Arnie Schafer (along with Dan Weiner, Michael Baum and a host of other fine attorneys) and learned the ins and outs of representing troubled companies in bankruptcies and out-of-court restructurings. Jason said one of his most memorable cases was the Jerome Duncan Ford dealership chapter 11 case in 2005. This was Jason's largest chapter 11 case that he got to "first chair" at the time. He remembers going to bankruptcy court for a major hearing in front of Judge McIvor where he had to address Judge McIvor's questions while simultaneously listening to Arnie "shadow arguing" from the counsel table (Arnie rarely ever acted as second chair and felt compelled to "whisper in Jason's ear" and add his two cents).
In 2008, Jason left Schafer & Weiner and moved to Varnum where he worked with Bob Mollhagen. Thereafter, he moved to Kerr Russell in Detroit to lead its bankruptcy and restructuring practice. Luckily for TMA, Bob introduced Jason to the organization and encouraged him to get involved. And that is exactly what Jason did - he started by attending events, making connections and getting involved. When I asked Jason what he liked best about his time with TMA, Jason said that it was the diversity of professionals that were involved, and the opportunity to network and connect with attorneys, bankers, financial advisors, various types of consultants and business owners. These connections have been invaluable to Jason over the years. Jason has been on the TMA Board since 2012 and served as the President last year.
Jason resides in Canton with his wife of 17 years and two sons. When he is not lawyering, Jason loves to spend time with his family and has enjoyed coaching baseball, attending theater performances, being active in Boy Scouts, and rooting on the Michigan Wolverines (he played in the Michigan Marching Band).
At the next TMA event, make sure to say hello to Jason and ask him his secrets to great pizza or marching and playing music at the same time.