New legal clinics for social entrepreneurs were developed by two Lex Mundi member firms in conjunction with the Foundation in recent months. Lawyers from Womble Bond Dickinson LLP (USA, North Carolina) and Morrison & Foerster LLP (USA, California) co-hosted webinars with the Lex Mundi Pro Bono Foundation on topics of critical importance to our social entrepreneur clients.
The first webinar centered on intellectual property issues facing social enterprises. Womble Bond Dickinson lawyers, Dan Ovanezian and Laura Kees presented on copyright, trademark, and patent issues and answered detailed questions from the social entrepreneurs that participated. The attendees were also provided a guidance document on intellectual property written earlier this year for the Foundation by Womble Bond Dickinson lawyers Kees, Ovanezian, Christine Beaman Rankin and Chris Kokoska.
The second webinar focused on “hybrid” corporate entity structures – a topic of rapidly growing interest amongst social entrepreneurs. Jesse Finfrock, a corporate lawyer in Morrison & Foerster’s Social Enterprise + Impact Investing group and an expert on the topic, provided an in-depth summary of the intricacies involved in this complex structure and answered several questions from the social enterprise organizations in attendance. “Everything we do can be improved and corporate structures are no exception,” Finfrock said. “It is always inspiring when social entrepreneurs come together to question the status quo and build the infrastructure for a better world.”
Individuals from 26 unique social enterprises attended the two clinics and gave high reviews of the materials and information provided. One such review came from Kate Venezia, Director of Operations at digitalundivided, an organization that promotes economic empowerment for women of color through entrepreneurship, who said: “I very much enjoyed the webinar - it was incredibly helpful!”
We look forward to holding more clinics on these and other topics in the new year.