Susan Mac Cormac is a partner in the Corporate Department of Morrison & Foerster’s San Francisco office. She serves as Chair of the Social Enterprise and Impact Investing Group, and Co-chair of the Energy and Clean Technology Groups.
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. 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 ensuring energy, sustainability, and other investments have positive impact – through use of new corporate forms, hybrid or “tandem” structures with non-profits and for-profits and alternative debt and equity instruments.
Ms. Mac Cormac was named by California Lawyer in 2012 as a California Attorney of the Year for her effective legislative change in California as co-chair of the Working Group for the Flexible Purpose Corporation and again in 2016 for her innovative work in impact investing, sustainability, and corporate form. 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. In 2016, Ms. Mac Cormac was honored with the National Public Service Award by the American Bar Association’s Business Law Section for providing significant pro bono legal services. 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 was recognized by the Daily Journal on several Top Lawyers in California lists including Top 100 Lawyers (2012), Top Female Lawyers (2011, 2012, 2016, and 2017), and Top 25 Clean Tech Lawyers (2011). She was also recognized by The Recorder as a 2016 Woman Leader in Tech Law. Ms. Mac Cormac was selected by her peers for Best Lawyers in America (2011–2018) 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.
Ms. Mac Cormac’s representative renewable energy, cleantech, sustainable and social enterprise clients include Atacama, Cornerstone Capital, Digital Divide Data, Earth Genome Project, EDF Renewable Energy, E.On, EOS Climate, Etsy, Fem, Inc., First Look, Foldscope, Frontier Renewables, Ice Energy Holdings, Intersect, Lightsail, Keplers 2020, Komaza, Medicines360, Monolith Materials, OneSun, Planet Labs, Posiba, Revolution Foods, Rising Sun Energy, Silicor Materials, and Trelys, Inc.
Ms. Mac Cormac’s representative impact investor clients include Aligned Intermediary, Brightpath Capital Partners, Buchanan Investments, Calvert Foundation, Capricorn, DBL Partners, Goldman Sachs, Kleiner Perkins, Medicines360, New Island Capital, Omidyar Network, Permutation Ventures, Pontifax Global Food and AgTech, PAC Partners, Radicle Impact Partners, RSF Social Finance, TPG Capital, Village Capital, and Vision Ridge Partners.
Ms. Mac Cormac’s representative non-profit clients include Business for Social Responsibility, CERES, Creo Syndicate, Goodwill Industries, the Nature Conservancy, Pacific Community Ventures, Pacific Watershed Lands Stewardship Council, Pacific Forest and Watershed Lands, University of California Davis, and YearUp.
Ms. Mac Cormac’s late stage investor clients include Fortress Investment Group, Intel Corporation, Temasek, and Softbank.
Ms. Mac Cormac’s additional corporate and emerging company clients include AirMap, iSafe, and Sanrio.
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).
Ms. Mac Cormac was a founding board member of the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board, is a member of the Board of Directors of Business for Social Responsibility (BSR), the Ceres President’s Council, and the Board of Directors of Earth Genome Project, and an advising board member of the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy’s Strategic Investor Initiative.
She has joined the faculty (teaching on the intersection of sustainability and fiduciary duties) at both the Stanford Director’s College and the Northwestern Corporate Counsel Institute and is an adjunct 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.
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. She was named one of California Lawyer’s Attorneys of the Year in 2016 for her innovative work in impact investing, sustainability and corporate form, and in 2012 for her effective legislative change in California as the co-chair of the working group for the Flexible Purpose Corporation. Ms. Mac Cormac received the 2016 National Public Service Award from the American Bar Association’s Business Law Section for her innovative pro bono services to nonprofits, and has been recognized on several leadership lists, including The Recorder’s 2016 Women Leaders in Tech Law, as well as the Daily Journal’s Top Female Lawyers for 2017, 2016, 2012, and 2011 and Top 100 Lawyers for 2012.
Ms. Mac Cormac was selected by her peers for Best Lawyers in America 2011–2018 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) for her expertise working with venture capitalists and emerging companies. Clients say “you cannot get a better corporate counsel,” Ms. Mac Cormac “‘understands the big picture, could not be more responsive, and understands the business.”
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