Mara Kent (she/her/hers) is a life-long resident of Ann Arbor, and her practice areas include estate planning, probate and trust administration, elder law and long-term care planning, special needs planning, estate planning for surrogacy and assisted reproduction technology, same-sex adoptions and step-parent adoptions, and prenuptial agreements. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan in 1993 and is a 1996 summa cum laude graduate of the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law, where she graduated second in her law school class and was on the Law Review and Moot Court Board of Directors. While in law school, she worked in the Office of General Counsel for Ford Motor Company and went on to distinction as a law clerk for former Michigan Supreme Court Justice Michael F. Cavanagh from 1996-1998. From 2000–2014, Mara was a tenured professor at the Thomas M. Cooley Law School where she taught contract law, commercial sales, negotiable instruments, and legal research & writing, and she remains a Senior Professor Emerita.
Mara loves making personal connections with her clients, doing what she generally considers to be “happy law.” Mara counsels her clients on how to plan for major life events by anticipating common (and not-so-common) problems before they arise, so her clients can strategize about how to minimize court involvement, family conflict, added expense, and stress. She helps clients plan for their future care and the care of loved ones, as well as assists clients in establishing a plan for the distribution of their estate after they die.
In addition to her practice, Mara is committed to her community, doing pro bono legal service and volunteering as a board member for several community organizations. She provides legal services to Habitat for Humanity clients with estate planning and probate needs, pro bono probate counseling for the Washtenaw County Probate Court, and the Homes for Generations partnership with the Washtenaw County Bar Association.
She, her spouse, and their daughters are proud University of Michigan alumni. When she is not working or volunteering, Mara enjoys creating art, doing home improvement projects, running or walking, gardening, and being outdoors with their dog Scout. Mara is an ally of the LGBTQ+ community and a proud supporter of her friends and clients who are of diverse racial, ethnic, socioeconomic, and religious backgrounds.
Mara Kent, Estate Planning Challenges During the Covid-19 Pandemic, Res Ipsa Loquitur, Vol. 49, No.3, May-June 2020.
Mara Kent, Editor, Custom Casebook Revision, Problems and Materials on Commercial Law, Douglas Whaley and Stephen McJohn, Wolters Kluwer, paperback (2013).
Substantial Revision, Michigan Law and Practice 2d. Encyclopedia on Contracts, Volume 8, Chapter 2, Contracts, revised 2013, M.L.P.2d Contracts, approximately 300 pages.
Mara Kent, Wood v. Boynton and the Incredible Journey of the Eagle Diamond, Wisc. Mag. Hist. (Winter 2013-14).
Mara Kent, A Contracts Love Story Gone Wrong: The Story Behind Bright v. Ganas, 32 Adelaide L. Rev. 333 (2011).
Mara Kent, The Common-Law History of Non-Economic Damages in Breach of Contract Actions v. Willful Breach of Contract Actions, 11 TX. WES. L. Rev. 225 (2005).
Substantial Revision, Michigan Law and Practice 2d. Encyclopedia on Contracts, Volume 8, Chapter 2, Contracts, revised 2005, M.L.P.2d Contracts, 290 pages.
Mara Kent, “Forced” v. Compulsory Arbitration of Civil Rights Claims, 23 J. LAW AND INEQ. 95 (2005).
Mara Kent, Going the Distance, Distance Education at the Thomas M. Cooley Law School, 81 MICH. B. J. 48 (2002).
Mara Kent & Thomas Kent, Michigan Civil Rights Claimants: Should They Be Required to Give Up Their Physician-Patient Privilege When Alleging Garden-Variety Emotional Distress?, 77 U. DET. MERCY L. REV. 479 (2000).
Matuszak, Limiting Michigan’s Guilty and Nolo Contendere Plea Appeals, 73 U. DET. MERCY L. REV. 431 (1996).
Professional Associations and Memberships
- National Association of Estate Planners & Councils
- National Association of Charitable Gift Planners
- State Bar of Michigan, member
- Probate and Estate Planning Section of the State Bar of Michigan
- Elder Law and Disability Rights Section of the State Bar of Michigan
- Taxation Section of the State Bar of Michigan
- Michigan Attorney Discipline Board Hearing Panel Member
- Washtenaw County Bar Association
- Board Member, Washtenaw County Bar Association Board of Directors (2019- present)
- Chair, Probate and Estate Planning Section, WCBA (2018-2020)
- Member, Probate and Estate Planning Section, WCBA (2014-present)
- Washtenaw County Estate Planning Council (2014-present)
- Women’s Lawyers Association of Washtenaw County
- Planned Giving Roundtable of Southeast Michigan
- Navigating Estate and Charitable Planning in a Changing Landscape, University of Michigan, 2022
- The Intersection of Estate Planning and Family Law, Washtenaw County Bar Association, 2022
- Estate Planning for Young Lawyers, State Bar of Michigan Young Lawyers Section, 2022
- University of Michigan Leaders and Best Estate Planning, 2021
- EmpowerHER, Estate Planning 101, 2021, Estate Planning Basics
- EmpowerHER, Estate Planning 201, Estate Planning Through the Stages of Life and Probate Pitfalls, 2021
- Tax Law Series: Federal Tax Insights on Estate Planning, Institute of Continuing Legal Education, 2021
- Women’s Lawyer’s Association of Michigan, Covid-19 & Women, 2020
- Ann Arbor Cable TV "Leave A Legacy" Campaign, 2019
- End of Life Care and Treatment, Institute of Continuing Legal Education, 2019
- The Common Law of Contracts, Gloucester, England, June 2004
Awards, Honors & Certificates
- Pro Bono and Public Service Award for Participation in the Homes for Generations program (group award), Washtenaw County Bar Association 2022
- Probate and Estate Planning Certificate, Institute of Continuing Legal Education
- Elder Law Certificate, Institute of Continuing Legal Education
- AVVO 10.0 rating
- Martindale Hubble Client Reviewed 100%
- Texas Bar Foundation Award for Law Review of the Year, one article in anthology
- Legal Authors Society, Award for Best Faculty Scholarship, 2006
- Student Bar Association “Most Accessible Female Professor” 2d., 2006, Faculty, Thomas M. Cooley Law School
- Black Law Students Association Certificates of Merit and Dedication, Faculty Thomas M. Cooley Law School, 2004
- Board Member, Shelter Association of Washtenaw County
- Board Member, Ann Arbor Active Against ALS (2019-2021)
- Homes for Generations, Washtenaw County Bar Association (2019-present)
- Habitat for Humanity – pro bono legal work (2020-present)
- Washtenaw County Probate Counseling (2015-present)
- Past President, PTO Thurston Elementary (2008-2009)
- Trust and Estate Planning
- Probate and Trust Administration
- Special Needs Planning
- Elder Law and Long-Term Care Planning
- Estate planning for surrogacy
- Same Sex Adoptions and Step-Parent Adoptions
- Prenuptial Agreements
- Business and Contract law
- Adult Adoptions
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 1993, Industrial Design
- Vice President of Industrial Design Society of America, Michigan Student Chapter
University of Detroit Mercy School of Law 1996
- Summa Cum Laude, 2nd in law school class
- Law Review, Associate Editor (1994-1996)
- Moot Court Board of Directors (1994-1995)
- Association of Corporate Counsel of America Scholarship (1996)
- Dean’s Scholarship for Academic Excellence (1994-95, 1995-96)
- Irish American Lawyers Association Scholarship (1996)
- Frank Murphy Honor Society (1996)
- American Inns of Court
- Award for Outstanding Achievement in Labor Law (1996)
- G. Mennen Williams Moot Court Competition Best Oralist (1994)