2020 Grunin Prize Finalists

Lawyers play a critical role in designing, implementing, and advancing models by which economic and social activity are conducted globally.  The Grunin Center administers the award of an annual Grunin Prize for Law and Social Entrepreneurship to recognize lawyers’ participation in the ways in which business is increasingly advancing the goals of sustainability and human development.

This year, the Grunin Prize attracted nominations from across the globe, which are representative of the extraordinary legal community of practice that is emerging in this field.  The Grunin Center is delighted to announce below the six finalists for the 2020 Grunin Prize!

The Judging Panel is composed of NYU Law representatives and industry experts – meet the judges here

Due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the 2020 Grunin Prize will be awarded at a special ceremony at New York University School of Law in the third quarter of 2020. More details about this event will be posted here once we finalize the date. 

Congratulations to the 2020 finalists!

Big Exchange

Herbert Smith Freehills Logo

Nominated legal team: Nick Pantlin, Partner; Clive Cunningham, Partner; Katherine Dillon, Of Counsel; Rebecca Perlman, Senior Associate; Hayley Brady, Head of Media and Digital; Casey Dalton, Senior Associate; Rich Woods (Senior Associate); Annabelle Smith, Associate, Katie McGrory, Associate Partner; Matteo Yoon, Associate.

The project: The Big Exchange is a ground-breaking digital social impact market place which aims to revolutionise access to financial services, including for 1.5 million unbanked citizens in the UK, and allow anyone with savings or pensions to invest in social impact opportunities that generate a financial return and positive social and environmental outcomes.

Buckhill Capital’s Carried Interest by Verified Impact Calculations (CIVIC)

Morrison Foerster Logo

Nominated legal team: Sean Byrne, Of Counsel; Suz Mac Cormac, Partner; and Jesse Finfrock, Associate.

The project: The innovation of Buckhill Capital and Morrison & Foerster is the Carried Interest by Verified Impact Calculations (CIVIC). The CIVIC is a set of provisions that can be imported into the relevant documents of most any venture capital or private equity fund so that this carried interest is paid out to a fund manager only to the extent that the fund achieves quantified, verifiable impact metrics agreed upon by the fund manager and the fund’s investors. This has the potential to create billions of dollars of incentives for institutional investment managers of all kinds to pursue impact goals alongside financial returns.

Columbia Pulp Project

Orrick Logo

Nominated legal team: Doug Goe, Partner and lead bond counsel; Scott Schickli, Tax Of Counsel, bond counsel team; Greg Blonde, Partner, bond counsel team; Les Krusen, Managing Associate, bond counsel team; Richard Chirls, Tax Partner, bond counsel team; Larry Sobel, Tax Partner, bond counsel team; Chas Cardall, Tax Partner, bond counsel team;  Zach Finley, Partner, Real Estate; Dustin Calkins, Partner, Real Estate; Nicholas Alexsovich, Senior Associate, Real Estate; and Ronny Clausner, Managing Associate, Real Estate.

The project: The project will be part of a sustainable economy used to turn what’s left over in wheat fields into packaging materials and other useful products. In addition, this pulp mill will save more trees and use less water than traditional pulp mills with the implementation of newly developed technology, as well as bring much needed economic development to an underdeveloped region of Washington State.

Cumberland Forest Project

Nature Conservancy Logo


Cleary Gottlieb Logo

Nominated legal team: The Nature Conservancy: Stephen Valdes-Robles, Senior Attorney; Daniel Guy, Senior Attorney; and George Barlow, Senior Attorney.

Cleary GottliebDaniel Reynolds, Partner; David Stewart Fisher, Senior Attorney; and Boris Rappoport, Associate.

The project: The 253,000-acre Cumberland Forest Project uses an innovative private equity-type structure to protect sweeping forest landscapes in a globally significant biodiversity hotspot.  With a blended capital structure, managed by a nonprofit, the project intends to demonstrate that forests can be responsibly managed to generate a return for investors while storing millions of tons of CO2 to mitigate climate change and benefiting water quality, wildlife habitats and local economic opportunity. 

Joint Ownership Entity (JOE)

Goldstein Hall Logo

Nominated legal team: David A. Goldstein, Managing Partner, Jason Labate, Senior Associate, Gabriel Gerbi, Special Counsel, and Ryan Thompson, Special Counsel.

The project: The joint ownership entity or “JOE” is a nonprofit membership organization that owns and asset manages a portfolio of affordable multifamily properties. The JOE is a new model for preserving long-term affordability of housing and allowing mission-driven community development corporations (CDCs) to achieve scale through increased financial stability, improved operational efficiencies, and reduced expenses.

Social bonds to support women-led SMEs

Allen and Overy Logo

Nominated legal team: Doungporn Prasertsomsuk, Counsel; Panuwat Chaistaporn, Associate; Natthicha Wiriyatornphan, Associate; and Ming Wei Loo, Senior Associate.

The project: Bank of Ayudhya PLC has launched the first private-sector “gender” bonds aimed at supporting women-led small and medium-sized enterprises (WSMEs) in Thailand. This inaugural social bond issuance will help to expand credit lines to WSMEs and promote transparency and integrity in Asia’s growing social bond market.