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Vermont Law Review to Host Symposium on Social Entrepreneurship

January 29, 2010

Vermont Law Review to Host Symposium on Social Entrepreneurship

CONTACT: John Cramer, Associate Director of Media Relations
 802-831-1106 ,

SOUTH ROYALTON, VT -- Social entrepreneurs, scholars, lawyers, students and others will gather Feb. 18-19 at Vermont Law School to explore hybrid organizations that use for-profit business practices to achieve nonprofit goals. The event, which is free and open to the public, starts at 2:45 p.m. on Feb. 18.

The Vermont Law Review's 10th Annual Symposium, "Corporate Creativity: The Vermont L3C and Other Developments in Social Entrepreneurship," will discuss legal structures and methods for achieving nonprofit goals with for-profit mechanisms, both domestically and abroad. The event also will examine low-profit limited liability companies (L3Cs), an organizational form that Vermont was the first in the nation to adopt.

With a dual focus on theory and practice, the symposium is designed to further legal scholarship in the field of social enterprise, while equipping legal, business and nonprofit professionals with the tools needed to accomplish their social ventures.

"The symposium brings together most of the major players in this field," said Betsy Schmidt, a professor at Vermont Law School. "It features several law professors who produce leading-edge scholarship about social enterprise, foundation executives who lead that field in the area of social investment and several lawyers and accountants who represent social entrepreneurs. Bringing all these minds together to share ideas should result in a most interesting and productive two days."

Keynote speakers will be Arthur Wood, vice president of social financial services at Ashoka, the nonprofit organization that pioneered social entrepreneurship; Robert Lang, creator of the L3C; Dana Brakman Reiser, a professor at Brooklyn Law School; and Stephen Lloyd, a charity and social enterprise attorney in the United Kingdom.

In 2008, Vermont became the first state in the country to enact low-profit limited liability companies, a cross between a nonprofit organization and a for-profit corporation. L3Cs are designated by the Vermont Secretary of State as low-profit with charitable or education goals. Half a dozen states have followed Vermont's lead in allowing L3Cs.

The Vermont Law Review selected hybrid organizations for its symposium topic because of the growing number of nonprofits and companies that consider their social impact, said symposium editors Jake Durell and Jaclyn Laferriere.

"We hope to become part of the worldwide discussion and debate on the movement towards hybridization in the business organizational forms most conducive to social enterprise," said Laferriere. "We plan to hear from all sides - both the promoters and the critics - of the movement." Durell added: "I think some important social ventures are getting left behind in the economic crisis, and maybe this event can offer some solutions."

The Vermont Law Review, a legal journal edited and managed by students, has an international circulation. The review publishes articles contributed by prominent legal scholars as well as student-written notes and comments.

More information is available at

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