Susan Mac Cormac is a partner in the Corporate Department of Morrison & Foerster’s San Francisco office. She serves as co-chair of the Clean Technology and Renewable Energy Group.
Ms. Mac Cormac has extensive experience representing startup to late-stage private companies primarily in the clean technology, renewable energy and sustainable space. She provides corporate and finance advice in connection with equity and debt financings, mergers, acquisitions, asset purchases and sales, reorganizations, and joint ventures. She regularly advises boards of private and public companies, special committees, and CEOs on corporate governance as it relates to sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) issues and has joined the faculty (teaching on issues of sustainability and corporate governance) at both the Stanford Director’s College and the Northwestern Corporate Counsel Institute. In addition to her representation of nonprofit corporations involved with Sustainability and CSR, providing advice to their boards on fiduciary issues, conflicts of interest, and other corporate matters, she has deep experience and expertise in structure for nonprofit/for-profit “Hybrids” and new corporate forms.
Ms. Mac Cormac’s representative clean technology and sustainable clients include Arcadia, Boxer Industries, Change.org, CH4 Biogas, ClimateEarth, Deep Water Desal, Drip Drop, driptech, EDF Renewable Energy, Frontier Renewables, LightSail, MADA Power, OneSun, Planet Labs and Revolution Foods. Her representative sustainable and social enterprise company clients include Digital Divide Data, Keplers 2020, Rising Sun Energy, Windowfarms and Year Up. Her nonprofit clients include Business for Social Responsibility, Goodwill, The Nature Conservancy, Pacific Forest and Watershed Lands Stewardship Council, SASB and Rising Sun Energy. Her impact investor and venture fund clients include Buchanan Investments, Capricorn/Virgo, Brightpath Capital Partners, Eagle Cliff Partners, Kleiner Perkins, New Island Capital, Omidyar Network, Pacific Community Ventures, RSF Social Finance and OPIC.
After working in New York for three years, Ms. Mac Cormac joined the firm as an associate in 1997 and became a partner in 2001. Ms. Mac Cormac was born in Davidson, North Carolina, and graduated in 1988 from Williams College with a degree in Political Economy. She received her J.D. and LL.M. degrees from Duke University School of Law in 1993. Ms. Mac Cormac lives in the Presidio National Park with her husband and three young boys (Eddie, Alex, and Matthew).
In 2015, the Financial Times named Ms. Mac Cormac the Most Innovative North American Lawyer for her work championing impact investing and social enterprise legal innovation. The same publication commended her representation of Imprint Capital Advisors in its sale to Goldman Sachs Asset Management and her work to create a reverse auction process for The Nature Conservancy’s BirdReturns project, which incentivizes farmers to create pop-up wetlands for migratory birds. Ms. Mac Cormac was named by California Lawyer as one of the 2012 California Lawyers of the Year for her effective legislative change in California as co-chair of the Working Group for the Flexible Purpose Corporation. She was recognized by the Daily Journal on several Top Lawyers in California lists including Top 100 Lawyers (2012), Top Female Lawyers (2011 and 2012), and Top 25 Clean Tech Lawyers (2011). Ms. Mac Cormac was selected by her peers for Best Lawyers in America (2011–2014) and was named Best Lawyers’ 2014 San Francisco Energy Law “Lawyer of the Year.” She was also recognized by clients in Legal 500 United States (2009–2015) in the areas of venture capital and emerging companies, project finance, and renewable and alternative energy. Clients say that “you cannot get a better corporate counsel,” and that Ms. Mac Cormac “‘understands the big picture, could not be more responsive and understands the business.” She is a member of the Ceres President’s Council and has served on the Board of Directors of the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (“SASB”), Earth Genome, and the Biomimicry Institute. She is a professor at UC Berkeley School of Law, Boalt Hall, teaching a course on Social Enterprise. She is admitted to practice in both California and New York.