Tributes come from far and wide for “inspirational” lawyer Stephen Lloyd

Tributes and messages have been pouring in for Stephen Lloyd, much loved and respected former Senior Partner at Bates Wells Braithwaite, who has died following a boating accident on holiday in Wales this week.

Friends, colleagues, clients and those who simply admired his work, benefited from his advice or perhaps heard him speak at one of his many public engagements have been praising Stephen’s expertise, dynamism, creative intellect, wisdom, leadership, sense of fun and commitment to good causes.

Stephen headed BWB’s charity and social enterprise department for many years before becoming Senior Partner. He was ranked by the legal directories Chambers UK and the Legal 500 as a leader in the field of charity law, was recognised as a Leading Lawyer for charity in the Citywealth Leaders List 2013 and selected by peers for inclusion in the Third Edition of Best Lawyers in the United Kingdom in the practice area of charity law. He was also listed in Who's Who 2014.

Sir Stuart Etherington, chief executive of the NCVO – the national body for charities – said Stephen had made “a truly outstanding contribution”.

Sir Stuart said: “Stephen’s unparalleled expertise combined with his innovative thinking and sheer passion for the work of charities and social enterprises made him rightly one of the most respected figures in the voluntary sector.”

He said: “Our sector is so much the stronger for his lifetime of work. I will greatly miss his friendship and his wisdom. Stephen worked closely with many of us at NCVO, and our thoughts are with his family.”

Arthur Wood, founding partner of global investment practice Total Impact Advisors, said: “Very few people are both visionary and practical combined with being genuinely ethical, generous and great company – what a loss to the sector, his family and to life.”

In a moving blog post, Rod Schwartz, founder and CEO of ClearlySo, which helps social entrepreneurs raise capital, paid tribute to his friend as “a great human being” and “indisputably the social impact investment sector's leading legal light”.

Schwartz wrote: “There were few organisations, structures, laws and regulations which pertained to this crazy field of ours in which he did not have some role. His energy was boundless, his dedication total and his insight – razor sharp.

“He took on all sorts of causes, cases and clients – sometimes for no fee, often at low fees, just to be helpful to some socially-oriented enterprise trying to get onto the first rung of the difficult and slippery ladder we call success.”

Describing him as “the godfather of many enterprises which populate the social sector”, Schwartz said Stephen was “indefatigable” and “endlessly connecting people… But despite all of that he was incredibly humble”.

He added: “If you ever needed him, he was there in a flash. I can remember an urgent call I made to him one evening… he appeared moments later, drenched in rain, having cycled over to meet me. Amazing!!”

Among the remarkable list of achievements in Stephen’s career, which spanned almost 40 years of service as a lawyer, he is credited with the creation of the Community Interest Company (or the ‘CIC’), a dedicated legal form for social enterprises, of which there are now more than 10,000 registered in less than a decade.

He persuaded the Charity Commission to accept that the promotion of sustainable development was a charitable purpose.

He created the idea behind CaSE – Charity and Social Enterprise Insurance Management LLP – which now provides insurance cover for at least 2,000 Civil Society organisations at much reduced cost.

A trustee of more than 20 charities, he was chairman of the Centre for Innovation and Voluntary Action, chairman of the sustainable energy organisation Ashden, and on the board of the Social Stock Exchange.

He was a director of Buzzbnk, the UK’s first crowdfunding site to raise loans for social enterprises and allow tax-efficient charitable donations.

He was also appointed by the Cabinet Office as Lord Hodgson’s adviser on the review of the Charities Act 2006.

Stephen was also a well-known public speaker in the Civil Society sector (including keynote speeches at NCVO Annual Conference three years running), an accomplished columnist, and author of a number of respected publications on charity law.

Many tributes came from those who joined Stephen just last month at his “next steps” party at Shakespeare’s Globe, at which he reflected both on the achievements of the firm and on his ambitious plans to champion the work of BWB Ventures, a new division taking forward innovative work such as the fast-paced global arena of impact investing.

Stephen was also a Quaker and a member of the Blackheath Meeting. He had lived in Greenwich, south London, since 1974 and been on the board of a number of local charities. Concerned about environmental issues since the Stockholm Conference in 1972, he took up cycling “to reduce my carbon footprint!”. Indeed, he often cycled to meet clients, come rain or shine – and listed his personal interests as “walking, cycling, classical music, reading and enjoying the company of my family and friends”.

Martin Bunch, Managing Partner at BWB, said: “We are all shocked and deeply saddened by this tragic news, as so many others will be who know what Stephen gave to the sector. Our thoughts are with Lorna and their four sons and their families.”

People wishing to offer their thoughts and condolences are welcome to send them (care of Martin Bunch) to 2-6 Cannon Street, London EC4M 6YH or to


Photo credit: Bates Wells Braithwaite