Forming a new business can be daunting, and social entrepreneurs often face additional challenges related to their unique mission. That’s why Jessica Manganello and Shannon Jamieson established New Leaf Legal, a dynamic law firm in Cambridge, Mass., committed to educating and empowering their social enterprise clients. The team helps determine the most appropriate legal structure for emerging businesses, enabling clients to effectively implement their social benefit missions.
Each attorney brings particular knowledge and expertise to the table. Jessica’s primary focus is business structuring, including internal organization, filing, maintenance and selling. She is considered one of the Boston area’s legal experts on the L3C (low-profit, limited liability company) structure, an increasingly popular option for social purpose organizations. Shannon focuses on intellectual property issues such as copyright and trademarks, including acquiring, selling and licensing. She also assists clients interested in setting up nonprofit organizations.
Both women are passionate about advancing the field of social purpose business and helping entrepreneurs to achieve their dreams. Part 1 of our discussion includes an overview of New Leaf’s philosophy and services, and Jessica sheds light on the L3C and B Corp structures. Watch for Part 2, covering nonprofits and intellectual property, in the weeks ahead.
The Social Enterprise Alliance was created in response to a conversation among conference attendees who believed that people working in the field needed a focused forum to connect and share their experiences. It has since grown to become a national resource and advocacy organization with 11 local chapters.
Anne Wunderli serves as board chair for the Massachusetts chapter of SEA. The chapter is building a rich “ecosystem” for professionals who are engaged in social enterprise, offering a variety of free events and activities across the state. In addition to promoting knowledge among practitioners, SEA-Mass works to educate policymakers about ways to advance the field, such as state adoption of the L3C business structure.
Public education is also on the long-term agenda — to help people better understand what social enterprise is and the value it provides. “It’s an exciting message to be able to share,” Anne says. “And I think it resonates very strongly when people hear it.” Anne says that consumers will prefer to have their dollars go to an organization with a social mission, but she understands that the mission alone isn’t enough to sell products or services. “We have to be true competitors in whatever market we’re operating in.” SEA-Mass is working to help socent businesses succeed in the marketplace and achieve their social impact goals.
Click the audio player below to listen to Anne’s interview and learn more about SEA-Mass.