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Resources for Students

January 21, 2011

Recently I gave a talk at my alma mater, Washington University School of Law, and was pleasantly surprised by how many 1Ls (that’s first-year law students) both (1) were not aware of the concept of social enterprise, and (2) were very excited about learning more once they were introduced to the idea. I was approached by a number of students afterward who wanted to know where they should go to get up to speed on social enterprise and what could be done with it, particularly for law students. Unfortunately there is not much out there geared toward lawyers or budding lawyers – at least not yet. But here is my initial attempt, an annotated bibliography of sorts, to identify some of the resources that I think may be useful for law students, or really anyone looking to learn more about social enterprise.

Social Enterprise: A Lawyer’s Perspective. A helpful article by Allen Bromberger, discussing the legal structure options for social enterprises in the U.S. An impressive and user-friendly collection of jurisdiction-specific legal resources for social entrepreneurs in the United States. The website of the organization that created the L3C, a hybrid legal structure designed with social enterprise in mind that has been adopted in some states. The site contains useful information about the design of L3Cs and how they legally work. A meeting place for the minds of some prominent social entrepreneurs, with periodic blog entries and substantive articles on issues arising in the field. The Social Enterprise Alliance is a good organization to join if you want to stay involved in what is happening in social enterprise in the U.S. There are some local chapters, and more are being established every year.

Finally, I’d like to suggest that if you do nothing else, you read an article about an inspiring social enterprise. This is, I think, the best way to see what is possible with social enterprise, and it lays the groundwork for understanding the more technical finance and legal aspects that arise at the convergence of financial and social profit. A suggested article is one recently published in the New York Times, focusing on Husk Power Systems in India.

Obviously there is a lot more out there, so I would love to hear from anyone with suggested additions.

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