Skip to content

Fall 2022 Reading Group

Entrepreneurship in the Public Interest

Prerequisite: By permission. Interested students should send a CV and paragraph stating interest in the course to dgupta@law.harvard.edu by Monday, September 5th.

Exam Type: No Exam

Public interest lawyers work within a wide range of institutional structures. The classical model is a national, foundation-funded nonprofit, like the NAACP LDF or the ACLU. But there are many other models open to public interest entrepreneurs—solo practices, small plaintiffs’ or civil rights firms, and startup nonprofits with a niche focus, among others. Each organization’s model reflects, to varying degrees, a particular mix of funding sources, clients, and strategies, as well as a distinct theory of change and a vision of what it means to do satisfying, meaningful work in the public interest.

This is a reading group for students who are interested in public interest entrepreneurship—including students who may one day wish to start their own law firms or nonprofits. The readings and guest speakers will offer case studies for exploring big-picture questions of mission and vision, the practicalities of choosing an institutional structure, and the the nuts and bolts of launching a public interest startup. The goal is to help students consider entrepreneurship as a realistic pathway to a fulfilling public interest career that aligns with their goals and values.

Note: This reading group will meet on the following dates: 10/11 (T), 10/17, 10/24, 11/7, 11/14, 11/21.