2020 Webinar Series

The Grunin Center for Law and Social Entrepreneurship, the Bertha Centre for Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship and Bowmans partnered to bring back the popular webinar series: Building a Legal Practice for Impact Investing. This webinar series was designed to equip impact investing professionals, particularly lawyers, with the knowledge and skills to effectively serve high impact organizations wanting to raise capital.

The series provided participants practicing across Africa with an opportunity to learn from international and local legal experts in impact investing. Participants will be exposed to a broad range of impact investing vehicles and gain insights into the practical legal issues that come about when making and living with an impact investment.

For more information on the webinar series, please contact us at law.gruninsocent@nyu.edu


January 30, 2020 at 9:00-11:30am ET | 4:00-6:30pm SAST

February 20, 2020 at 9:00-11:00am ET | 4:00-6:00pm SAST

March 12, 2020 at 10:00am-12:00pm ET | 4:00-6:00pm SAST

April 16, 2020 at 8:30am-9:45am ET | 2:30-3:45pm SAST


Session I: Embedding SDGs and ESG into Deals and Enterprises (January 30, 2020)

In the first webinar of the series, participants learned what general and outside counsel for impact companies and investors should know about the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), ESG, and other impact criteria, as well as how these criteria are being embedded in deal structures and meaningful key deal terms.

9:00 – 9:30am NY / 4:00 – 4:30pm SAST. Introduction: State of the Field

To introduce the webinar series, this opening lecture addressed the state of the impact investing field and the role of the lawyer. The lecture also explored the interplay of ESG, SDGs and impact and the different legal approaches and current initiatives in ESG and SDG adoption.

9:30 – 10:30am NY / 4:30 – 5:30pm SAST. Adapting to Impact Criteria, SDGs, and ESG: The Role of Counsel at Investors and Companies and Within Law Firms

What should general and outside counsel for impact companies and investors know about UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), ESG, and other impact criteria? What best practices can lawyers use to enhance adaptation? What about law firms? How should impact companies, impact investors, and law firms incorporate ESG criteria, SDG principles, and other impact criteria in their businesses, and, as applicable, investment strategies, performance targets, day-to-day operations, and risk management processes? This panel addressed a range of topics, including whether parties should adopt ESG, SDG, and/or impact codes of conduct or policy; impact in supplier and vendor agreements; how law firms are being asked to adapt their internal policies and governance; and the role of lawyers in this area.

10:30 – 11:30am NY / 5:30 – 6:30pm SAST. Incentivizing Impact Through Deals

This panel addressed how impact, ESG and SDG criteria are being embedded in deal structures and meaningful key deal terms, across a range of sectors. The discussion covered debt and equity transactions and explore substantive impact terms, including affirmative incentives—performance-based adjustments to key deal economics, impact-based compensation and other terms designed to incentivize impact—and negative restrictions such as impact-specific covenants and events of default, as well as responsible exits.


Session II: Blending Capital for Scale (February 20, 2020)

In the second installment of the webinar series, participants learned how to address key legal issues that arise in blending and scaling capital, from raising catalytic capital and documenting and managing pooled capital structures across investors with different risk appetites, to negotiating with IFIs and DFIs and structuring transactions that involve blended finance.

9:00 – 10:00am NY | 4:00 – 5:00pm SAST. Challenges of Raising Catalytic Capital in Blended Financing Structures

Catalytic capital plays a critical role in attracting private sector capital in impact investing. This panel explored the legal issues that arise in blended finance deals, including the legal challenges and opportunities involved in raising catalytic capital, as well as in documenting, negotiating, and managing these blended finance transactions. The panel showcased the perspectives of different stakeholders engaged in the legal structuring of blended finance deals, who shared their experiences from specific transactions and how clients collaborate with their attorneys to address legal impediments to raising catalytic capital.

10:00 – 11:00am NY / 5:00 – 6:00pm SAST. Blended Capital: The DFI and IFI Experience

This panel considered the blended finance transactions of bilateral and multilateral development finance institutions in emerging markets, including a private sector perspective on working with these institutions. Panelists discussed specific transactions from their perspective as in-house lawyers, including structural and legal issues that are encountered in working with public and private capital sources in developing countries, legal limitations particular to their institutions, and how these institutions work with private funds to structure and prepare legal documentation for these transactions.


Session III: Fiduciary Duty and ESG Investing (March 12, 2020)

In this third webinar of the series, participants learned about the different ways in which pension funds across the US, Europe and Africa are incorporating ESG factions into their investment decisions and the challenges posed to fiduciary duties of pension fund governing bodies, asset managers and pension supervisors. The panel also explored how pension fiduciaries and their legal advisers may begin to reorient the conversation about ESG investing in the pension context.

10:00 – 11:00am NY / 4:00 – 5:00pm SAST. Fiduciary Duty and ESG Investing in the Pension Context – Part I: A Comparative Perspective

Retirement funds represent trillions of dollars in assets under management globally. Jurisdictions vary in how they regulate these systemically significant investors. Most adopt some obligation that plans and their managers safeguard and grow retirement funds for the ultimate use of beneficiaries. Yet attitudes toward incorporating ESG factors into pension plan investment decisions run the gamut. This panel brought together practitioners, advisors, and academics from the US and Europe to explore how the tremendous resources of the pension sector in these regions are being deployed to pursue environmental and social goals.

11:00 – 12:00pm NY / 4:00 – 5:00pm SAST. Fiduciary Duty and ESG Investing in the Pension Context – Part II: The African Perspective

This follow-on panel brought together practitioners and advisors of African pension funds to explore how different countries in the region regulate the pension sector and how pension funds are incorporating ESG factors into pension plan investment decisions.


Session IV: Launching the MicroBuild Fund (April 16, 2020)

8:30 – 9:45am EST / 2:30 – 3:45pm SAST. Launching the MicroBuild Fund

In this fourth webinar of the series, we focused on the deployment of housing microfinance loans and technical assistance by the MicroBuild Fund, a blended finance fund sponsored by Habitat for Humanity International to attract funding into housing microfinance on a global scale. With insight from Habitat, we delved deeper into the challenges and successes of housing microfinance products across Africa.




Check out our complete list of speakers here. Speakers include:

Lauren Boccardi, Deputy Assistant General Counsel, US Agency for International Development (USAID)
Anmay Dittman, Director, BlackRock
David Geral, Partner and Head of Banking and Financial Services Regulatory, Bowmans
Ginny Reyes Llamzon, Senior Legal Counsel, Global Innovation Fund
Lynn Roland, General Counsel, Acumen
Flavia Rosembuj, Global Lead for Blended Finance, Climate Business and Trust Funds, International Finance Corporation (IFC)
Maria Santos Valentin, General Counsel, The Rockefeller Foundation
And many more…