Fall 2018 | Business in Society

The role of inside counsel has shifted from technical advisers on the law to strategic advisers for the business. That shift is happening in part because corporate responsibility initiatives are becoming inherently legal in nature and increasingly important to core business strategy. This course will focus on the role of the lawyer as it relates to the strategic management of corporate responsibility or “business in society” issues.

We will address these issues through substantive presentations and analysis of the law, as well as discussions with General Counsel from leading companies such as Lyft, Patagonia, CLIFbar, and many others.

See full course description here.

Spring 2018 | Social Enterprise Law

Social enterprises are at the forefront of a paradigm shift, combining the goals of philanthropy with the power of business and legal systems to address social and environmental needs. This course introduces students to the legal, regulatory and business aspects of ‘social’ enterprises, which include both (i) for-profit business entities that undertake certain social and environmental objectives (alternately referred to as ESG, “triple bottom line” or “sustainability”) in addition to shareholder value in both the ordinary course of business and in change of control situations and (ii) non-profits that form “hybrids” with for-profit entities.

Students will study contrasting approaches to social entrepreneurship, learn about the different (new and existing) legal structures that regulate social enterprises, consider the types of financing models available social enterprises, evaluate the need for “exits” in the social enterprise space and consider the various means currently available to evaluate performance against the social and environmental objectives.

Spring 2018 | Business and Human Rights

Large corporations spend millions of dollars to protect human rights and the environment. This course will examine questions that lawyers in large law firms, corporations, NGOs, and government agencies regularly confront:

–What does it mean for a company to “do good”? Should it care?
–When does it serve a company’s interest to take costly action to address human rights, labor, and environmental concerns?
–What tactics have activists used to shift public opinion, media frames, and the law and thereby change companies’ incentives?

Students will learn skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in the expanding field of corporate social responsibility and human rights.