This past Friday, I attended a talk at the Business School entitled “Social Enterprise for Four Changes” by Matt Manos, the founder of verynice. Verynice is a design firm committed to social impact, as indicated by their steadfast commitment to giving away 50% of its work for free, as pro bono design work. Mr. Manos has also become something of a pro bono researcher and expert, and has compiled an overview of several dozen different models (aside from the 50% model) that social-impact conscious companies have successfully implemented.
I found this talk to be relevant to our class for two different reasons. First, as future entrepreneurs or legal counsel to entrepreneurs, we may be called upon to design a framework for social giving–be it in-kind, percentage of revenue, etc. Thus, it makes sense for us to study and look to best practices. (If you are interested in learning more about the give half model, click here, and for an excerpt from Mr. Manos’s talk about the other models, click here).
Second, even if we enter the traditional legal workforce and do not work directly with entrepreneurs, we have a professional obligation to render pro bono services. See ABA Model Rule 6.1. It is helpful to think about how non-legal businesses undergo pro bono work so that we can perhaps import some of these strategies into our future practices.