Conference Plenaries

2023 IILWG/Grunin Center Conference

Morning Plenary Day One - A New Approach to Contracting: Building on Shared Values

This opening plenary combines contract theory with practice as the speakers draw on their expertise in economics, business, and law to explore a new approach to contracting where the goal is to create and maintain resilient, long-term, strategic collaborations. 

What might lawyers contracting for impact learn from the formal relational contracting being adopted by companies like McDonald’s? The answers may surprise you. 

While formal relational contracting is not for every type of contract, hear stories of how this new approach to contracting can be particularly effective for shaping highly complex relationships that are operating in an uncertain world.


  • David Frydlinger, Managing Partner, Cirio Law Firm
  • Oliver Hart, Lewis P. and Linda L. Geyser University Professor, Harvard University; Winner of the 2016 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences
  • Kate Vitasek, Faculty, Graduate & Executive Education, University of Tennessee

Moderator: Deborah Burand, Professor of Clinical Law, NYU Law


Afternoon Plenary Day One - Remarkable Achievements of Our Legal Community

This plenary celebrates the six finalists for the 2023 Grunin Prize and explores the work they have done in contributing to the fields of social entrepreneurship and impact investing.

Lawyers play a critical role in designing, implementing, and advancing models by which economic and social activity are conducted globally. The Grunin Prize recognizes lawyers, legal educators, policymakers, in-house counsel, or legal teams that develop innovative, scalable, and social entrepreneurial solutions using existing law, legal education, or the development of new legal structures or metrics.

Grunin Prize Finalists Represented By:

  • Aaron Bourke, Senior Counsel, RPCK Rastegar Panchal LLP
  • Greg Curtis, Executive Director, Holdfast Collective
  • Simon Duffield, Lead, Legal - COVAX, representing Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance
  • Melissa Obegi, President, Conduit Capital
  • Shirmila Ramasamy, Senior Counsel, World Bank
  • Tom Scriven, Senior Counsel, RPCK Rastegar Panchal LLP
  • Carolina Serra, Partner, Beccar Varela

Moderator: Anne Field, Contributor, Forbes Magazine


Morning Plenary Day Two - Fireside Chat with Christopher Stephens, World Bank Group

This Day 2 opening plenary features a conversation with the senior vice president and general counsel, World Bank Group. The Fireside Chat will focus on the role of the legal function and the general counsel in the World Bank Group; the evolution of the World Bank in the face of the global polycrisis; and the World Bank’s role in the impact investing sector and in catalyzing private capital. 


  • Christopher Stephens, Senior Vice President and General Counsel, World Bank Group

Moderator: Amélie Baudot, Conference Co-Chair and Chief Operating Officer, The International Fund for Public Interest Media


Lunch Plenary Day Two- Book Talk and Signing: For-Profit Philanthropy

Professor Linda Sugin led a discussion of the new book, For-Profit Philanthropy, with author Dana Brakman Reiser. For-Profit Philanthropy argues that three recent shifts in elite philanthropy share the same DNA. High-net-worth individuals are using LLCs as hubs for their philanthropy. Corporate donors are enmeshing their giving more and more with their business operations, in extreme cases by closing corporate foundations entirely. Even elite giving outside the foundation context increasingly leverages donor-advised funds rather than directly granting to operating charities. Each of these shifts adapts business practices and players to philanthropic ends. Collectively, they represent a de facto deregulation of philanthropy, undercutting decades-old rules designed to bolster public trust that elite philanthropists will serve public ends as they mold the social agenda. Not content to merely expose these issues, the book also proposes solutions, asserting that regulators and philanthropists alike can take steps to inject greater public voice and transparency into the philanthropy of the future.

Featured Author: Dana Brakman Reiser, Centennial Professor of Law, Brooklyn Law School

Moderator: Linda Sugin, Professor of Law and Faculty Director, Office of Professionalism, Fordham Law School


Closing Plenary Day 2 


  • Emmeline Liu, General Counsel, Calvert Impact
  • Fran Seegull, President, US Impact Investing Alliance 


  • Ginny Reyes Llamzon, General Counsel and Chief Operations Officer, MCE Social Capital
  • Kevin Saunders, Vice President, Legal, Fidelity Foundations