White & Case Award in Law and Social Entrepreneurship

The Grunin Center annually awards the White & Case Award in Law and Social Entrepreneurship to a graduating JD student and LLM student who exhibit academic excellence and demonstrate commitment to the field of law and social entrepreneurship.

The White & Case Award in Law and Social Entrepreneurship is made possible thanks to the generous support of the White & Case Social Entrepreneurship Fund.

2024 Award Recipients

Julia Spencer JD'24

Julia Spencer headshot


Julia Spencer is the JD recipient of the 2024 White & Case Award in Law and Social Entrepreneurship. Julia joined NYU Law with an interest in the power of law and social entrepreneurship in advancing sustainable development. She explored this passion in the International Transactions Clinic, where she served impact-driven clients that are addressing some of the world’s most pressing social and economic challenges. Inspired by her experience in the ITC, Julia got involved with the law and social entrepreneurship community at NYU Law by volunteering on the 2023 Program Committee for the Impact Investing Legal Working Group & the Grunin Center’s Annual Conference and engaging in legal scholarship in the field. Julia was also an International Law and Human Rights Fellow and White & Case/Orison Marden Fellow.

Prior to law school, Julia was a policy advisor to Professor Peter Piot, former Director of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and Special Advisor to the President of the European Commission on COVID-19. She served as a program manager during the 2018-20 Ebola epidemic to help establish an Ebola vaccine trial in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Julia also conducted global health research for Chatham House and the United Kingdom's All-Party Parliamentary Group on Global Health. 

Julia holds a BA in International Development from McGill University and an MSc in Health Inequalities and Public Policy from the University of Edinburgh. After graduation, Julia will join a law firm in New York City where she plans to pursue a career in cross-border transactions. She looks forward to staying involved in the law and social entrepreneurship community at NYU Law and globally.

Mansi Srivastava LLM'24

Mansi Srivastava

Mansi Srivastava is the LL.M. recipient of the White & Case Award in Law and Social Entrepreneurship. At NYU, as a Dean’s Graduate Scholar and a Transitional Justice Scholar, she specialized in International Legal Studies, focusing on making international law more representative for the Global South, especially at the intersection of financing, climate change, and conflict. She earned her dual degree of B.A., LL.B. (Hons.), from National Law University, Jodhpur, in 2019 with a Gold Medal for Excellence in Mooting. She represented India at several international moot courts like the Philip C. Jessup Moot Court Competition, 2019, winning accolades like the Octo-Finalists Award, Best Memorial and Best Speaker Awards. 

Mansi practiced as an attorney for 4 years, initially at Luthra & Luthra Law Offices’ Project Finance practice, an IFLR 1000: Top Tier firm, advising the Government of India, multilateral development banks like the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, and foreign investors on financing clean energy and infrastructure projects and on legislative amendments to India’s Electricity Act to align it with international renewable energy obligations. Subsequently, as a judicial clerk with Honourable Justice Prathiba Singh, she applied her international and comparative law perspective in drafting key judgments in civil, constitutional, commercial, and patent laws. She was also selected to assist a Retd. Supreme Court judge in drafting regulations for the India International Arbitration Centre, India’s first statutorily-established international arbitration centre.

Since 2023, Mansi has aided the mandate of the International Criminal Court’s Special Advisor on Knowledge Transfer, Dr. Morten Bergsmo, as a Fellow, by publishing and editing treatises and ensuring open-access to the ICC Legal Tools database.

 At NYU, as one of only 4 students selected to act as a Legal Advisor to the Permanent Mission of a small island developing state (SIDS), Palau, Mansi aided in treaty negotiations, research, and drafting of diplomatic statements, on issues of climate finance, plastics pollution, and private sector investment in SIDS. She was inspired by Professor Burand’s work in social impact investing, Professor Alston’s research project on human rights and privatization, and Professor Demel and Professor Alexander’s class on Project Finance. Her Transitional Justice paper proposed improving the Multidimensional Vulnerability Index to address concessional financing needs of both SIDS and conflict-affected countries.

Following the LL.M., she will be joining the World Bank’s Business Ready Project, as NYU’s International Finance and Development Fellow, where she will work on international development and enhancing private sector financing in emerging economies. Ultimately, she hopes to continue marrying her passion for innovative financing, climate-change resilient projects, and development of conflict-affected areas. 

2023 Award Recipients

Eli Wallach JD'23

Eli Wallach

Eli is honored to be the JD recipient of the 2023 White & Case Award in Law and Social Entrepreneurship. Eli was exposed to social entrepreneurship through his experience as a BA/MA candidate at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), where he took classes on social entrepreneurship as well as impact investing. These classes inspired Eli to see social enterprise as a powerful framework for achieving sustainable impact and to pursue meaningful transactional work in his career.

At NYU Law, Eli was the co-president of the Social Enterprise and Start-up Law Group, where he led a team of passionate law students to organize programming to promote meaningful and mission-driven transactional legal practice. He also was the winner of the NYU Law Venture Fund Fall 2021 Business Plan Competition with a plan to create climate insurance products with variable rates based on building-owner preventative practices. During his 1L summer, Eli worked at Calvert Impact Capital as a White & Case Social Entrepreneurship intern. He spent the 2023 Spring semester at NYU’s Buenos Aires campus, where he studied corporate law issues specific to developing countries and how they intersect with development.

Prior to law school, Eli worked as a researcher for the State Bar of California, where he researched issues surrounding access to justice and innovation in legal practice. During this time, he advised his hometown of Berkeley’s chapter of Youth and Government and worked with local organizations such as Not in Our Town and the Aspen Institute.

Following law school, Eli joined Cleary Gottlieb Steen and Hamilton in their New York Office. Eli is now spending his first year as a Cleary Fellow, where he will work at the intersection of social entrepreneurship and the law in New York City. Eli holds a BA in Sociology and International Studies from Johns Hopkins University as well as a Master’s in China Studies and Economics from SAIS. He is fluent in Spanish and proficient in Mandarin.

Isabella Lordoy LLM '23 

Isabella Lordoy

Isabella is the LLM recipient of the 2023 White & Case Award. Prior to her LLM, Isabella worked at a prestigious Colombian boutique law firm focusing on international arbitration and cross-border disputes.

At NYU, Isabella sought to braid together her interests in business, litigation and impact investment. The international transactions clinic became the place where these interests could be harmonized. As a student advocate, Isabella advised impact investors, start-ups and well-established businesses in a variety of cases. Particularly, she focused her work on structuring and documenting investments in enterprises that primarily work in emerging markets.

Isabella is enthusiastic about continuing a career where she can do good by doing deals. That includes advising impact investors at every stage of the process, along with understanding how to resolve disputes that advance the social and environmental objectives as well as the financial objectives of contracting parties.

2022 Award Recipients

Madhu Narasimhan JD'22

Madhu Narasimhan

Madhu Narasimhan is the JD recipient of the 2022 White & Case Award in Law and Social Entrepreneurship. He has a core belief in the potency of grassroots social entrepreneurship in touching people's lives; delivering hope for communities; and furthering innovation, access, opportunity, and justice.

Madhu's interests in social entrepreneurship began taking shape in 2005. As a high school student in the San Francisco Bay Area, Madhu, along with his classmates, co-founded Rasam Kitchen, a nonprofit that established and ran a soup kitchen in his ancestral village in South India. Rasam Kitchen provided free meals, critical services during monsoon season, and jobs for community members. 

Later, while in college, Madhu co-founded the UCLA Global Citizens Fellowship, the university's international public service grant—a program that he continues to co-chair today.

Prior to law school, Madhu deepened his understanding of social entrepreneurship while co-founding and building a Bay Area-based venture at the nexus of education, ed-tech, and youth mentorship. 

As a student at NYU Law, Madhu was inspired by Professor Ana Demel's "Law and Business of Social Enterprise" course, which he took in Spring 2021. Madhu then sought to apply the lessons of the course during his 2L summer associateship at the Silicon Valley office of Gunderson Dettmer, a global law firm focused on supporting entrepreneurs, startups, and the innovation economy. Madhu is now a Co-Founder at JM Policy Labs.

Madhu holds a BA in political science from UCLA, summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, and a JD from NYU Law. He also studied abroad at the London School of Economics and was a U.S. Fulbright Fellow in Malaysia.

Jaime Begara Bretón LLM '22

Jaime Begara

Jaime is very honored to be the LLM recipient of the 2022 White and Case Award in Law and Social Entrepreneurship.

Before coming to NYU Law to pursue his LLM, Jaime worked as a corporate attorney at international law firm Allen & Overy, in Madrid (Spain), where he advised clients on equity capital markets transactions, public and private mergers and acquisitions and restructurings.

During his time at Allen & Overy, Jaime devoted significant efforts to pro bono work in the human rights and asylum law fields. It was through his different pro bono experiences that Jaime became aware of the great social impact that attorneys, including transactional attorneys, can help create, and he started to become very interested in exploring ways to put his skills as a corporate attorney to work to contribute to solving social problems.  

Jaime then decided to come to NYU Law to explore social finance and social enterprise law and, at the same time, deepen his knowledge in corporate and securities law. At NYU Law, Jaime has been particularly interested in social finance, and he took the Financing Development seminar and the Law & Business of Social Enterprise class, both with Professor Ana Demel. Jaime’s participation in these two courses was very enriching and he gained substantive knowledge about the legal aspects of social impact investments, as well as explored social enterprise law. In particular, he participated in two deal simulations with students from his classes and students taking the Social Impact Investment course at the NYU Wagner School of Public Service, to negotiate respective equity and debt impact investments, and he engaged in a team project to create a business and legal plan for a social enterprise.

Also at NYU Law, Jaime was the President of the European Legal Society, and he collaborated with the International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) chapter at NYU Law.

Jaime graduated from Universidad Pontificia Comillas (ICADE) (Madrid, Spain) in 2016, where he studied a double bachelor’s degree in Law and Business Administration and Management, and he holds a master’s degree in business law from Universidad de Navarra (Madrid, Spain).

Following graduation, Jaime joined Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP in the capital markets department in New York. Jaime hopes to continue exploring social finance in his legal practice in the future and looks forward to helping clients carry out social impact investing transactions.

2021 Award Recipient

Hannah Yang JD'21

Hannah Yang Headshot

Hannah is honored to be the JD recipient of the 2021 White & Case Award in Law and Social Entrepreneurship. As an undergraduate, she developed an interest in sustainability and environmental science. After graduating from Princeton University in 2017, she worked as a paralegal at Simpson Thacher. There, she became intrigued by the interconnections between business and law.

She continued to explore this interest throughout her time at NYU. Each year, Hannah has enjoyed working closely with local small-business owners, providing legal support to grow their businesses through a collaboration with Rising Tide Capital, the Social Enterprise & Startup Law Group, and Lowenstein Sandler. As a Tepper Fellow in the Grunin Center, she co-authored the annual reports on the State of Social Enterprise and the Law in her 2L and 3L years. This research ignited her passion in the exciting field of social entrepreneurship, which combined her interests in business, innovation, and sustainability. In her final year, she published a post proposing a voluntary system of extended producer responsibility to address ocean plastics through the Environmental Law Review Syndicate.

Upon graduation, Hannah returned to Morrison & Foerster in their corporate practice group.

2020 Award Recipients

Elizabeth Damaskos JD'20

Portrait of Elizabeth Damaskos

Elizabeth is thrilled to be the JD recipient of the 2020 White and Case Award in Law and Social Entrepreneurship. Following her graduation from Wesleyan University in 2012, she worked as a corporate paralegal at Paul Weiss. It was during that time that she developed an interest in impact investing and social entrepreneurship, areas where she believes an exciting fusion of needs, skills and creativity can be harnessed to unlock potential and increase equity. This passion was further ignited during roundtable discussions around sustainability, socially responsible investing, and corporate governance led by NYU alumna Keren Raz ’10. Ever since, Elizabeth has endeavored to work at the nexus between law and business to create positive social and environmental change.

Once at NYU, she aided low-income entrepreneurs to bring their businesses to fruition through a partnership between Rising Tide Capital, the Social Entrepreneurship and Start-up Law Group (SE-SL), and Lowenstein Sandler. During her 1L and 2L years, Elizabeth collaborated with a committee of NYU Stern Business School and Wagner School of Public Service students to produce the Social Innovation Symposium in order to further harness the drive of the NYU community to promote social innovation. As an active member of SE-SL and executive board member in her 2L and 3L years, she fostered growth and community at NYU through moderating panels, developing communications tools for the group and encouraging inter-scholastic exchange. During her 3L year, Elizabeth was delighted to be a clinician of the International Transactions Clinic, which she was able to use as a capstone experience to learn and practice legal skills in service of international mission-based organizations.

Elizabeth was an SEO Fellow at Simpson Thatcher in the summer prior to her start at NYU. She spent her 1L Summer at Orrick in New York, where she assisted in several projects with the Impact Finance and Investment practice, including a presentation in conjunction with the New York Lawyers for the Public Interest on Social Enterprise Formation, and she spent her 2L summer at Debevoise and Plimpton. Elizabeth is now an associate at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe where she is focused on impact-oriented matters.

Julia Kaplan LLM '20

Portrait of Julia Kaplan

Julia Kaplan is the LLM recipient of the 2020 White & Case Award. Prior to her LLM, Julia worked as a corporate attorney at one of the most prominent business law firms in South Africa. There she gained experience in mergers and acquisitions (both local and cross border), capital markets and debt and equity funding transactions. A highlight of her career thus far was advising South Africa's leading cellular network provider in a listing on the Black Economic Empowerment Segment of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. The Black Economic Empowerment Segment caters for companies that have implemented empowerment share schemes, giving previously disadvantaged South Africans the opportunity to own a stake in a company and participate in its growth.

Julia has a strong interest in exploring the positive impact that business activities and transactions can potentially have on the broader community. The International Transactions Clinic at NYU gave Julia the opportunity to further develop and channel her legal skills in this direction. Through the clinic, she was able to assist clients operating in emerging markets – clients with a common intent of addressing pressing societal issues and challenges through innovative business models, products and services. Julia would ultimately like to have a career within this framework, representing clients that understand broad societal need and appreciate that their relationship with all of their stakeholders is a key determinant of corporate value.

Julia is now managing legal counsel at Klarna.

2019 Award Recipients

Eliza Chute JD/MBA '19

Portrait photo of Eliza Chute

After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania in 2010, Eliza moved to Prey Veng, Cambodia where she conducted a research project on rural women’s health and sanitation.  She then moved to Thailand to work for the EarthRights School Myanmar.  It was this experience that first sparked her interest in business as a tool for social change.  She built upon that interest by training social entrepreneurs in Cambodia. She received her JD/MBA from NYU. During school she was involved in the Social Enterprise and Start-up Law Group, the Sustainability and Social Impact Association and wrote her substantial writing paper on economic incentives for impact as a form of mission lock in private equity deals. She spent her 1L summer at Comar law, creating model investment terms for impact investments. She spent her 1L summer at Comar law, creating model investment terms for impact investments. She spent both her 2L and 3L summers at Goodwin Procter in San Francisco.


Theodore Manggala Amarendra LLM '19

Portrait photo of Theodore Amarendra

Theodore Amarendra (Theo) is the LLM recipient of the White & Case Award. At NYU, he was significantly exposed to the world of impact investment and social entrepreneurship by his participation in the International Transactions Clinic. Through the clinic, Theo was able to further develop and channel his legal skills to assist a wide-range of clients operating in emerging markets of the world that share the common intent of addressing pressing societal issues through innovative business models.

Prior to his LLM, Theo worked as an Indonesian attorney in several prominent firms, representing various high-profiled clients, from multinational corporations to State-owned enterprises, in dispute resolution, corporate and M&A matters. In his spare time, he helped the founding of a non-profit that aims to create legal awareness and provide legal aid to Indonesian micro-small enterprises engaging in the creative economy field.

Theo worked at the Office of General Counsel of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) as part of the International Finance & Development Post-Graduate Fellowship Program from NYU Law. Theo is now a legal manager (Financial Services) at Traveloka in Indonesia.