The legal network for social impact

About esela

Who we are

esela – The legal network for social impact is a global community

We are an international network of people who are reshaping legal systems and practice for good.

esela is an alliance of lawyers, advisors, academics and entrepreneurs. We are particularly interested in the role of the law and lawyers in creating a sustainable and inclusive economy that promotes positive social impact.

In practice, this includes impact investing, social entrepreneurship, business and human rights, the response of business to the climate emergency, ‘profit with purpose’ and related disciplines.

As a non-profit, our aim is to promote a better understanding of the law in these practice areas, and so to support the development and growth of a more sustainable and inclusive economy.

Our members range from law firms and academic institutions to specialist individuals.

Our history

In April 2013, the European Commission asked the consultants ICF and the UK law firm Bates Wells to undertake a study to map the shape and nature of social enterprise activity in 29 European countries as part of its flagship ‘Social Business Initiative’.

The idea of Legal Network for Social Impact developed naturally from the mapping study, as it became clear that no such network of experts existed. At a roundtable event hosted by the European Economic and Social Committee in Brussels in January 2015, esela was formed.

esela -The legal network for social impact re-branded in 2018. For details, click here.

What we do

esela provides a forum for thought leadership, collaboration, networking and knowledge-sharing.

esela hosts and organises conferences and other events, and works with partners on specific projects related to law and social impact.

esela produces and exchanges resources, and undertakes research and analysis on legal issues affecting the impact economy. The input of specialists in our network informs policy and legal development with respect to building a sustainable economy on national and international levels.

We hope to play a key role in the development of the impact economy globally

esela has the potential to be an important source of knowledge and expertise that can highlight and share good practice across jurisdictions, helping learn from each other and making recommendations about the effect of  laws and policies on the impact economy.

If you’d like to know more about esela and its work, we’d be delighted to hear from you, particularly if your organisation is interested in creating partnerships and collaborating with us.

Please contact us at

Our purpose


A sustainable economy built on legal foundations that promote positive social impact


To catalyse a vibrant community of engaged professionals who are reshaping legal systems and practice for good

Guide to using our name

Company name: esela – The legal network for social impact

When using the company name, only the word “The” should be capitalised to read “esela – The legal network for social impact”.

Pronunciation guide

How do I pronounce esela?

  • ess – el – ah. The stress is on the middle syllable, ‘el’


For further information, read our Name and Pronunciation Guide

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