The Editors' Post: A tribe of impact lawyers – and budget boost for UK CDFIs

On the new generation of lawyers forming a tight-knit tribe – and embracing experimentation, not obstruction; UK budget essentials; and news from UnLtd – this week's view from the editors at Pioneers Post.

On Wednesday we were filming at the first major conference of the Global Alliance of Impact Lawyers, in London. I had reported on a similar event a few years ago, where I had seen lawyers keen to shake off an image of traditionalists only interested in “billable hours”. Rather, speakers emphasised, this was a new generation of legal professionals, committed to using their skills for good; on standby for the “impact revolution”

That event was hosted by ESELA, a European network of lawyers committed to social impact. Since then, the network has expanded to become a global one, with this week’s gathering bringing some 200 legal brains, from several continents. As in 2019, on Wednesday I heard a desire to show the world that lawyers did not necessarily need to be the ones flagging up problems and obstructing new approaches – they could also be the ones proposing solutions. Several mentioned “innovation” and “experimentation”; one described his role as a sort of positive “contamination”, in the sense of promoting an impact lens within the more traditional aspects of law. But there’s still a way to go when it comes to contamination, it seems. As one lawyer put it, she had long felt like a “fish out of water” among colleagues and peers; that’s what made the GAIL community so valuable, she said: here she had found her “tribe”. 

Budget boost

While the impact law tribe was getting fired up by keynote speaker Kate Raworth – who commented, among others, on the “absurdity” of pursuing growth at all costs – across town the UK chancellor was unveiling a budget for… growth. Changes to pension rules and childcare support, in particular, made the headlines, but what lifelines has Jeremy Hunt thrown (or removed) for social economy organisations? Laura Joffre has a handy summary of three key announcements. 

Staff cuts at UnLtd 

UnLtd, founded in 2002, was one of the first UK organisations dedicated to supporting social entrepreneurs. This week it emerged that an “organisational restructure” has led to a 15% reduction of its workforce, with CEO Mark Norbury explaining that the organisation’s cost base had become “unsustainable”.

We’ll have more on this story soon – if you’d like to speak to us about this, get in touch at

Your 101 on catalytic capital

Finally, don’t miss our latest impact economy explainer – this time with all the questions you had, but were afraid to ask, about catalytic capital. Which buzzwords should we tackle next? We’re all ears.  


This week's top stories:

UK budget 2023: Three key changes for social ventures and their investors

Incofin’s new drinking water impact fund aims to prove sector is investment-ready

What is catalytic capital?


Photo credit: Global Alliance of Impact Lawyers

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