Deborah Burand

Impact Investment Lawyering: Educating a new kind of lawyer

As the world of impact investing expands, so too does the need for lawyers who are experienced in negotiating and structuring deals that have multiple bottom lines – financial and social. With these transactions come both new risks and new opportunities. Where are the lawyers who understand these risks and opportunities? One place where this new kind of “impact investment lawyer” is being educated is at the University of Michigan Law School.

In the fall of 2008, the Law School launched an International Transactions Clinic (ITC), a first of its kind in legal education in the United States. During the last five years, the ITC has provided this unique, experiential learning opportunity to nearly 80 students who, in turn, have advised real clients conducting more than 100 transaction matters around the globe.

The ITC’s clients range from for-profit to not-for-profit organizations, from start-up companies to well-established businesses, from impact investors to social enterprises. What all of the ITC clients hold in common, however, is an international focus and passion for improving the world with innovative business models, products, and services. ITC clients Together the ITC – its law students and its clients- are proving that it is possible to do good by doing deals globally.

On Thursday, Sept 12, alumni and clients of the ITC are convening in Ann Arbor, Michigan to reflect on the clinic’s first five years. The proceedings of this celebration will be streamed live from 1:30 – 6:15 pm (EDT) HERE.

ITC alumni will talk about how this experiential education opportunity has shaped the start of their careers in law and government.

Nearly a dozen of the ITC’s clients will talk about “The Art of Lawyering Deals that Generate Social and Financial Returns (at Home and Abroad)” and “How to Structure Equity Exits from Double Bottomline Enterprises.”

Clients coming to Ann Arbor to participate in this event include: Jonathan Ng, Ashoka; Miguel Granier, Invested Development; Gillian Henker, DIIME; Alycia Kellman, Grassroots Business Fund; Madison Ayer, Farm Shop Trust and Honey Care Africa; Aaron Lewis, Habitat for Humanity International; Caroline Kahn, IFC; and Lubna Elia, Root Capital.

Deborah Burand is a clinical assistant professor at the University of Michigan Law School. She is the founding director of the Law School’s International Transactions Clinic andleads a law seminar that focuses on “impact investment lawyering.”

business development, impact investing