Hunton Law

Legal Counsel for Nonprofit & Tax-Exempt Organizations

Legal Counsel for Nonprofits, Foundations & Social Enterprises

The Launch of Impact Law Forum

Impact Law Forum, an attorney practice group that I am cohosting with Natalia Thurston of Social Venture Law, held its launch meeting last Thursday in San Francisco.  The forum is designed to support the nascent community of attorneys advising social enterprises, nonprofits, and sustainable businesses in the Bay Area.  Attendees at Thursday’s meeting demonstrated multidisciplinary and tri-sector backgrounds, as varied as the social sector itself – from policy advocacy to transactional corporate law to legal aid to entrepreneurship.

Natalia and I had several reasons for convening this group.  The social enterprise sector is expanding and evolving rapidly, yet the development of resources and networks to support social enterprise attorneys lags behind the pace of the sector.  Several other groups and initiatives similar to Impact Law Forum exist, but they tend to be short-term, sporadic, or informal.  No law firms or formal legal associations exist for social enterprise.  Many social enterprise attorneys (by choice and/or necessity) practice solo or in small law offices. 

The forum provides an opportunity for attorneys practicing in the social impact sector to connect, share resources and networks, offer guidance, ask questions, and discuss relevant legal issues, legislation, public policy, and case law.  The forum will align its values with those evolving in the social enterprise sector, with content driven by the goals and interests of its participants practicing in this dynamic legal climate.  Meeting topics, format, frequency, and other specifics will be determined by forum members.

Our first meeting was a success, despite occurring at the same time as the Giants were playing in the World Series (couldn’t have planned that better).  Kate Ettinger, a health ethics entrepreneur and advisor to social enterprises, kicked off our meeting with a set of thought-provoking questions.  Natalia then presented a background of social enterprise, which led naturally into group discussion and comments.  I shared a client story and raised additional questions to the group, and discussion continued until the close of the meeting. 

If you are an attorney, legal professional, or law student interested in joining the forum and receiving invitations to upcoming meetings, please email me.