Learning Social Entrepreneurship and the Law

While I have always volunteered my time to charities and nonprofits with social missions, I was typically more focused on business and doing well financially. Three years ago I started at NYU Law with my eyes exclusively on the private sector. My route looked like this: graduate law school, become an attorney, make partner and earn a lot of money, donate some of that money to charities, invest, then retire. This is a common route for about half of my classmates. However, NYU Law is the nation’s leading public interest law school, and the other half of my class chose another way. That half plans to engage in a life-long career of public service. A fascinating juxtaposition.

7TWO4 LOGO INVERSEDuring 1L I learned two magical words: social enterprise. Wait, you mean there is a way to combine my passion for business with my commitment to social good? Doing good and doing well are not mutually exclusive? Sign me up! Thus my social enterprise, 7two4, was born. 7two4 is an LLC with a sister 501(c)(3) nonprofit, 7two4: A Thread Ahead. The LLC is a fashion-tech startup that uses a digital platform to provide custom made-to-measure clothing at off-the-rack prices. The nonprofit provides professional attire to underserved communities, educating them on the importance of impression management and office etiquette vis-à-vis free professional skill development workshops and classes.

My education at NYU Law provides me with access to the resources necessary to legally structure my venture. I’ve leveraged relationships with classmates and staff, eventually connecting with law firm Debevoise & Plimpton, where my nonprofit 7two4: A Thread Ahead is their newest pro bono client.

When your social enterprise is based on fashion, it's important to look the part.
When your social enterprise is based on fashion, it’s important to look the part.

My legal education has taught me myriad skills, most of which are transferable into the world of business: for example, knowing which questions to ask, analyzing business risks from a legal vantage point, digesting large amounts of information in short periods of time, and logically structuring arguments when negotiating business deals or transactions. I’m able to buttress my business acumen with the learned ability to think like a lawyer, blurring the lines of law and business with a purpose. When people ask if I’m going into the private sector or the public sector after graduation, I confidently reply with a smile, “Both.”