Recommendations

  • The dominant lawyer in the B Corp/impact space and he combines that knowledge with superb legal skills. A very smooth operator in every area

    Legal 500 2022

  • Has a core focus on social and environmental causes

    Legal 500 2022

  • Works closely with certified B Corporations

    Legal 500 2022

  • He "identifies what needs fixing and then goes about it in a very measured and insightful way."

    Chambers UK 2021

  • Luke Fletcher does a superb job on social investment work

    Legal 500 2021

  • Luke Fletcher is 'Genuinely excellent'

    Legal 500 2020

  • Luke Fletcher takes on substantial charity law mandates for a variety of charity and social investment clients.

    Chambers UK 2021

  • His broad practice includes assisting with charity fund formations and corporate reorganisations.

    Chambers UK 2021

  • Recognised as a Key Lawyer in charity law

    Legal 500 2020

  • Luke is 'pragmatic and reasoned and particularly likeable'

    Legal 500 2020

  • Luke gives 'excellent advice and guidance'

    Legal 500 2018

  • Luke ‘provides straightforward advice on the most complex matters’

    Legal 500 2017

  • Luke Fletcher is a key contact for social finance and charities investing.

    Legal 500 2016

  • Developed the test for B Corp certification in the UK

    The Times Best Law Firms 2020

  • Particularly adept at advising on charity investment

    Legal 500 2020

Experience

I co-lead our Impact Economy practice and advise charities, social entrepreneurs, B Corps, purpose-driven businesses and impact investors creating positive social/environmental impact.

My practice involves a spectrum of structuring, governance, commercial and regulatory matters for clients who want to go beyond ordinary ‘ESG’ and solve problems for people and planet.

Charity law: I have a wide-ranging charity law practice and advise many prestigious and household name charities. I have special expertise in structuring relationships at the intersection of the worlds of charity and business/finance. This work includes advising foundations on impact investing, the creation of social venture and impact funds, donor advised funds, corporate partnerships and other matters.

Social enterprise: My work often involves advising on the formation of new charitable and social ventures, including choice of legal structure and constitutional and governance options. This extends to advising on the formation and operation of social enterprise, group, hybrid and tandem structures – such as the Oversight Trust and its group – which often combine public benefit and private capital in the public interest.

Purposeful business: I specialise in embedding purpose and mission in corporate structures and designed the B Corp legal requirements in the UK, which are now in use by over 500 businesses with over £9bn in revenue and over 37,000 employees. I have advised private and public companies of all shapes and sizes on the adoption of the B Corp legal requirements, including the Body Shop and Jamie Oliver Group.

Corporate responsibility: I advise some of the world’s largest and most sophisticated corporates and financial institutions on the formation and operation of corporate foundations, charity partnerships, community affairs and philanthropic engagements. This work involves the development of strategic partnerships and collaborations which enable corporates and their charity partners to achieve their goals.

Impact Economy: Alongside my client work, I have sought to build the Impact Economy and its legal and regulatory infrastructure and have played my part in various significant developments, including:

  • Proposing and supporting the development of the Impact Investing Principles for Pensions
  • The structuring of key institutions such as The Oversight Trust and Social Finance
  • Advising the European Commission on the law and regulation of social enterprise across Europe
  • Working in Government on the design of social investment tax relief
  • Creating governance principles for community interest companies which are endorsed by the CIC Regulator
  • Making the original argument for a new statutory social investment power for charities
  • Creating the official model documents and guidance on social impact bonds
  • Developing the legal and governance requirements for B Corps
  • Conceiving and designing Purposely to help businesses to embed purpose in different ways
  • Initiating legal action to clarify the contemporary court interpretation of trustee fiduciary duty when investing.

Highlights

  • I am advising a wide range of clients responding to the coronavirus pandemic

    This emergency response work has ranged from advising Social Investment Business on the formation of the Resilience and Recovery Loan Fund, developing structures to facilitate provision of funding to community level charities, advising foundations on the release of funds, advising on the making of grants to fund virus related R&D by life science businesses, forming a venture to develop coronavirus virus therapeutics, advising a community organising platform on its administration of Covid mutual aid groups, as well as advising clients on directors duties’, restructuring and insolvency and the conduct of virtual general meetings and other procedures

  • I am advising businesses and investors on transition to B Corp status and on other ways to articulate and embed purpose

    This pioneering work involves advising a wide range of firms - from iconic multinationals and high growth SMEs to ambitious start-ups - on the articulation and embedding of purpose and the different and sometimes unique ways this can be approached and documented, including advising on corporate governance implications generally and during key events, such as mergers, acquisitions and insolvency

  • I advised on the reorganisation and expansion of The Oversight Trust

    This involved advising on the process and constitutional and governance implications of bringing two new entities - Fair4All Finance and the Youth Futures Foundation, endowed with £65m and £90m of dormant assets respectively - into The Oversight Trust and under its ultimate constitutional oversight

  • I advised the Home Office on the structure of the £200m Youth Endowment Fund

    This included advice on choice of legal form, funding terms and protection of funds

  • I advised a world-leading University on various aspects of its relationships with business and industry, including its approach to investments and corporate gifts
  • I advised the Archbishops’ Council of the Church of England on disposals of land and property for social and environmental purposes and related law reform proposals
  • I advised the Impact Investing Institute in relation to the fiduciary duties of institutional investors when carrying out impact investment activities
  • I advised Heerad Sabeti and the Fourth Sector Group on the development of legislation and legal frameworks to promote development of the ‘fourth sector’ of the economy
  • I advised on the formation of Engage Britain, a prominent new think tank
  • I advised on the formation and governance of the Grenfell Foundation to provide long term support to the survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire and those bereaved
  • I advised DCMS on the legal structure of Fair4All, a new entity which will use funds received from dormant accounts to finance businesses addressing financial inclusion
  • I advised the OECD on the legal aspects of the development of social enterprise ecosystems
  • I advised the Government Inclusive Economy Unit on governance options for inclusive and purpose driven businesses
  • I advised LifeArc on the monetisation of its royalty interest in a blockbuster drug
  • I advised on the reorganisation of the Church Investors Group and its establishment as a charity
  • I advised the Council of the Inns of Court in relation to its registration as a charity and its charitable activities
  • I advised on the reorganisation of a leading independent school subject to a complex Charity Commission statutory inquiry
  • I advised an influential think tank on a high profile Charity Commission regulatory review
  • I worked on developing the legal requirements for B Corps in the UK
  • I advised the Cabinet Office and others on the development of social impact bonds
  • I advised the City of London on its social investment strategy and approach
  • I created new financing instruments and new investment funds for social impact
  • I advised on the establishment and operations of credit unions and CDFIs
  • I advised on equity and debt capital raising by charities and social enterprises
  • I advised charitable foundations on investment activity
  • I advised on charity formation, trading and mergers
  • I advised on constitutional and governance issues

Qualifications and career

  • Clifford Chance New York, scholarship placement, 2002
  • University of Nottingham, LLB Law with American Law, 2003
  • Trainee solicitor at White & Case, 2005
  • Admitted as a solicitor at Bates Wells, 2007
  • Secondments to the Social Investment Team at the Cabinet Office, 2011-13
  • Partner at Bates Wells, 2013

Pro bono, memberships, and appointments

  • Co-founder of esela – The Legal Network for Social Impact
  • Member of the founding team of B Lab UK
  • Co-author of the English law requirements for B Corps
  • Author of the Better Business Act
  • Member of the Advisory Council of the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law
  • Working with Professor Colin Mayer and the British Academy on its ground-breaking Future of the Corporation project
  • Member of the CIC Regulator’s Technical Panel
  • 15 years’ of board experience in a wide variety of roles