Meet the Team

Roberto Randazzo, President

Roberto is the President of esela – The legal network for social impact and a lawyer at R&P Legal. Roberto moved his first steps as a lawyer operating in corporate and business law gaining high experiences in international contracts. Over the past 20 years he then consolidated his expertise in the charity and social business sector deepening new areas of legal advice in innovation field both entrepreneurial and social. He gained solid experience in innovative startups and not-for-profit entities advice with particular attention to impact investing, social finance and social business matters. Roberto now advises several major entities from the social business sector on their development and management, as well as on fundraising, extraordinary transactions, tax and accounting matters both in Europe and in emerging countries. As part of his wider involvement in this sector, he has developed and driven through new legal forms taking a leading position as adviser on charity law and social enterprises on both the national and international stage. After over ten years as lecturer at Bocconi University and SDA Bocconi Master in Social Enterprises, Non profit Organizations & Cooperatives Management, he’s now Social Innovation lecturer Polytechnic of Milan. Author of many publications and papers in no-profit law and impact investing. Since 2012 he is Honorary Consul for the Republic of Uganda in Milan.

Julie Wynne, Vice President

Julie is the Vice President of esela – The legal network for social impact, and a Partner of Froriep SA, is specialised in non-profit organisations and social enterprises. Julie’s work for charities, B Corps and social enterprises includes structuring, fundraising, tax advice and governance. She also advises in particular international charities on cross-border structures.

Julie is admitted to practice in Switzerland since 2007. She is very committed to the promotion of social enterprise and sustainable finance: she is a co-founder and Board member of the Swiss Impact Enterprise Association and member of the Legal Committee of Sustainable Finance Geneva. She is also active in various cultural institutions as well as in not-for-profit organisations.

Sarah Dobson, Executive Director

Sarah is the Executive Director of esela – The legal network for social impact, a global network of lawyers, advisors, academics and business leaders working to create a sustainable economy that promotes positive social impact.

Sarah runs esela from the offices of Bates Wells, the first UK law firm to become a B Corp, where she was Impact Economy Manager from 2018-19. Sarah is a Fellow of On Purpose, the profit with purpose leadership programme, through which she worked at Big Society Capital in 2017-18.

Sarah has a background working for justice charities as Head of Trusts at Support Through Court and Trusts Manager for African Prisons Project. She holds qualifications in Law and English, and has been called to the Bar of England and Wales. Outside work, Sarah is chair of trustees of KDC Theatre, a central London arts charity.

Constanza Connolly, Board Member

Constanza Connolly is senior associate of Beccar Varela, Argentina.

Her practice areas include corporate law and mergers and acquisitions. She has broad expertise in developing businesses seeking positive social and environmental impact and its financial structuring, including social impact bonds.

Constanza founded the firm Impact business and together with a group of professionals provide strategic and legal services at the cutting edge to the rapidly growing impact economy.

She is a member of the Task Force created by Argentina- Uruguay to promote impact investment in Argentina. She is a member of the Latin America Committee that brings together the B Lawyers of the region to promote the B Corporations.

Anne Contreras-Muller, Board Member

Anne is Of Counsel with Arendt & Medernach. She dedicates her activities to microfinance and social impact projects, advising specific domestic and international clients on the corporate and regulatory aspects of the creation and running of microfinance and social impact investment schemes.

She is chairing the board of the European Microfinance Platform (e-MFP) and is a member of the Policy Committee of the European Venture Philanthropy Association (EVPA). She participates in several other initiatives such as the European Impact Investing Luxembourg (EIIL) and the Responsible Investing Committee of ALFI.

Marleen Denef, Board Member

Marleen is founding partner at the only law firms in Belgium specializing in a full service to social enterprises, international associations and impact projects: impact lawyers/advocaten/avocats.

Marleen combines both an academic appointment (as professor KU Leuven-campus Brussels where she teaches a specific course on associations and foundations) and a practice as a lawyer.

Marleen focuses mainly on advising not-for-profit organisations such as (international) associations, foundations, social purpose companies as well as cooperative companies, active in all types of (inter)national activities from healthcare, education, professional federations, to social economy initiatives, CSIs, NGOs and alike.

Her 20 years of expertise relates to all types of organisational questions such as choice of legal form, optimal set-up of activities and group-structures, (public private) partnerships, mergers, network organisations, governance, D&O liability… as well as to litigation concerning these matters.

She is a frequently invited speaker at workshops and seminars and author of many publications. She participates to many networks and shares her opinions on public fora such as LinkedIn and Twitter (@denefmarleen).

David Dowling, Board Member

David Dowling is an associate in the corporate and private equity group of Ropes & Gray. David has a wide range of experience advising clients on M&A transactions and providing general corporate law advice.

David also maintains an active pro bono practice with a focus on impact investing and social enterprises, as well as social welfare issues, and is a board member of Esela. David lectures on the law of international private equity finance on the LLM at King’s College London.

Luke Fletcher, Board Member

Luke is a Partner at Bates Wells, a leading English law firm in the fields of charity, social enterprise and social impact investing.

As well as advising on the full range of activities carried out by charities and social enterprises, areas of focus include designing innovative legal and constitutional structures and acting for a wide variety of clients with an impact oriented business model or who are making or managing impact investments.

Luke has worked on many of the most significant developments in the growing impact investing market. He has been involved, through his work for the European Commission and the UK Government and through various sector initiatives, in helping to shape policy and practice in areas as diverse as community interest company regulation, social investment tax relief and the impact investing powers of charities.

Alissa Pelatan, Board Member

Alissa Pelatan, founder and Partner at AMP Avocat, is a member of the California, District of Columbia and Paris Bar. After working at two international law firms and as in-house counsel for a public European company based in Paris, Alissa founded a boutique law firm in Paris France specialized in social enterprise law and social entrepreneurship. Alissa also teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on comparative business law, social enterprise law, corporate social responsibility and European International Private Law. Living and working in various countries including the United States, Africa and France, Alissa brings a unique perspective to solving legal issues. She primarily helps social clients with issues relating to setting up a social enterprise, corporate governance, project finance in Africa and CSR ventures.

Bates Wells, Secretariat

Bates Wells provides the secretariat of esela – The legal network for social impact

Bates Wells is a leading, City-based, professional services firm, combining a UK Top 100 full services law firm. Renowned for work for both public interest bodies and commercial organisations,  work for NGOs, not-for-profits, socially-focused investors and other impact organisations represents around 65% of work across the whole firm.

  • The first and still the only UK law firm to achieve B Corporation certification
  • Recommended for 15 different areas of law in Chambers UK, 2019

Bates Wells work encompasses many of the major developments in the UK Impact Economy and social investment space, including

  • the design of community interest companies and social investment tax relief,
  • advising the UK Government Inclusive Economy Unit on governance options for inclusive and purpose-driven businesses, and
  • the creation of the statutory social investment power for charities.

Bates Wells is a responsible business and unique in its ethos and values, being the first and only UK law firm to certify as a B Corporation. B Corps are purpose-driven businesses that use business as a force for good, and are required to be independently audited to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency.

Impact Economy clients value their approach as commercial lawyers who understand not only their socially-focused motivations but also their need to be commercially successful in order to achieve these aims.

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