Orrick is the first global law firm to establish an Impact Finance practice, and today we are leaders in the field.

Focused on social change, impact finance aligns social, environmental and financial considerations with investment and business strategy. Our clients include financial institutions, family offices and high-net-worth individuals, municipalities and other government entities, entrepreneurs and innovative nonprofits – all who share this goal.  

Our work is wide ranging. We have created innovative structures to provide microfinance institutions (“MFIs”) with funds. We work with organizations such as Echoing Green to support social enterprises engaged in systems-changing work. We advise on the formation of impact investment funds and the financing of essential services for pioneers such as Calvert Foundation and MicroVest. We represent clients in public-private partnerships in innovative Pay-For-Success (PFS) transactions. And, as the impact finance sector develops, we increasingly engage with foundations and institutional clients, such as JPMorganChase, who seek to integrate impact finance into existing business strategies.

Our Team

Our work is coordinated by a dedicated Impact Finance fellow – the only fellowship of its kind – who draws from all of Orrick’s resources to field the best team based on each client’s goals. This includes lawyers from our Finance, Energy & Infrastructure and Tech Company practices, among others, who are able to advise on investment transactions, startup needs and compliance issues. As needed, we call on a network of local counsel in countries around the world to execute each matter.

Pioneering Transactions

Our Impact Finance work is aligned with the three sectors our firm focuses on globally: Finance, Technology, and Energy & Infrastructure.

 

  • Finance

    We closed a groundbreaking $10 million credit facility for Pledge Guarantee for Health and Calvert Foundation to accelerate delivery of life-saving health supplies in the developing world. Pledge Guarantee for Health is an innovative financing partnership designed to increase the availability and predictability of funding from international donors for health commodities.

    We serve as outside deal counsel to MicroVest, a pioneering asset management firm that invests in financial institutions in under-banked markets around the world, which in turn extend capital to small and medium sized businesses in their communities.

    We represented a global nonprofit MFI in pioneering investment vehicles to support innovative financial inclusion companies, which operate in India and East Africa. We also assisted a U.S. government agency with the first international structured microfinance product – notes collateralized by $87 million in MFI debt obligations – that will finance 14 MFIs in nine emerging countries.

    For our clients the Richmond Community Foundation and the City of Richmond, California, we successfully closed a social impact bond issue – the first such bond to be issued in the U.S. – to fund the acquisition and rehabilitation of dilapidated and vacant housing in the city for sale to first-time homebuyers. Our work will help a low-income area in our own community, the Bay Area, and is a promising model for other communities.

    Technology

    We helped an impact investment fund finance a UK-based FinTech startup that allows users to send money to 190 countries from any Internet-connected or mobile device. We helped another client establish a Delaware public benefit corporation (PBC) focused on using technology to help caregivers for the ill and aging.

    Energy & Infrastructure

    We formed another Delaware PBC to build an online platform connecting climate-conscious investors with solar and energy efficiency projects in low-income areas along the U.S. East Coast. We also helped launch a solar finance business focused on emerging market off-grid and grid-deficiency solar projects.

    Promoting the Growth of Impact Finance

    We’re partnering with leading organizations to promote the growth of Impact Finance globally, and have written extensively on the subject. We assisted the G8 Social Impact Investment Task Force in publishing its landmark report, Impact Investing: The Invisible Heart of Markets. We’re the first global law firm to become a member of the Global Impact Investing Network – a platform for like-minded investors – and the founding member of the GIIN Legal Practitioner’s
    Working Group.

    A global team of our lawyers assisted London-based social entrepreneurship incubator UnLtd in analyzing the current legal and regulatory systems of the G8 countries with respect to businesses that seek to distribute profits while pursuing social impact – known as “profit-with-purpose businesses” (PPBs). Our report, Balancing Purpose and Profit, is the most comprehensive survey of the legal landscape for social enterprise in all G8 countries. For our work with UnLtd, we won TrustLaw’s 2015 Impact Award for a project that “demonstrates significant, wide-ranging impact on the pro bono client, their community, and beyond.”

    We also partnered with Third Sector Capital Partners to co-author the first analysis of the legislative landscape of U.S. pay for success activities. We’ve hosted and sponsored events that bring together the impact finance community and are regularly invited to speak about impact finance around the world.

    Case Study: Calvert Foundation

    Chicago is a city that is under financial stress and facing significant social problems. We helped our client, the non-profit Calvert Foundation, to create Benefit Chicago, a collaboration that will mobilize $100 million in impact investments for nonprofits and social enterprises in the city. The capital will provide low-interest loans and other investments to accelerate the efforts of local social sector organizations working to address key priorities throughout the Chicago area, such as education and child care, access to healthy food, quality affordable housing, energy conservation, job creation and training and more. This transaction, which is expected to close in June 2016, was described as “building a better Windy City” by U.S. News & World Report and as “putting cash into groups and programs that yield a return on investment measured not just in dollars, but in improved lives across the city and area,” by Chicago Tribune.

Client Results

Insights

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