Socially responsible investments are investment strategies that seek to maximize financial return while achieving social and environmental good. Clients seeking to fulfill the “triple-bottom line”—fiscal performance as well as positive social and environmental impact—can achieve all three goals with social investment.
The lawyers of Nixon Peabody bring a multidisciplinary perspective to our social investment practice, combining legal training and hands-on experience in business, finance, real estate, partnerships, securities, tax, lending, non-profit work, affordable housing, and community development. We publish and lecture extensively on social investment and related matters.
Nixon Peabody offers a full range of social investment services, including:
- Tax credit investing
- Renewable energy project financing and development
- LEED® building and green development advice
- Affordable housing transactional and regulatory assistance
- Fund formation
- Asset management
- Business and tax structuring
- Grantmaking advice
- Credit and grant applications
- Work-outs of troubled transactions
- Individual investment in urban development
- Non-profit board, governance, operations, giving, and investment advice
- Entity formation and funding
Our clients include:
- Companies that practice social investment in any industry
- Banks and other financial institutions*
- Insurance companies
- Renewable energy companies
- Direct investors
- For-profit and nonprofit developers
- Public agencies; states and cities
- Trade associations
- Affordable housing lenders
- Tax credit syndicators and funds
- Microfinance lenders
*Social investment also allows banks to fulfill their CRA requirements. The Community Reinvestment Act of 1977 (CRA) provides a framework for financial institutions, state and local governments, and community organizations to jointly promote banking services to all members of a community.
Nixon Peabody has deep experience in matters involving the use and investment of charitable assets, having represented institutions coast-to-coast on these matters. Our attorneys understand the nexus between institutional advancement, investment, and how finance functions with charitable institutions, large and small.
Tax credit finance and syndication
The attorneys in Nixon Peabody’s Social Investment practice—the largest of its kind—are among the nation’s foremost legal authorities in social investment transactions using the low-income housing tax credit, historic rehabilitation tax credit, and the new markets tax credit. These credits are key drivers in financing affordable housing, historic preservation, renewable energy, and economic development projects, including commercial and mixed-use real estate ventures in low-income communities. Our deep experience and broad understanding of federal and state tax credit programs enable us to offer clients creative solutions to complex structuring problems.
Nixon Peabody also is in the forefront of renewable energy investment. We structure transactions involving both the production tax credit and the investment tax credit for renewable energy sources, such as wind, solar, geothermal, biomass, and others. We also undertake microfinance loan programs to purchase renewable energy products. Nixon Peabody attorneys were instrumental in drafting the legislation creating Clean Renewable Energy Bonds (CREBs). We also perform the entire range of services needed to site, permit, and operate renewable energy facilities.
Microfinance offers retail banking services to the poor, allowing those who previously lived paycheck-to-paycheck to climb out of persistent poverty. Although microfinance institutions (MFIs) make much smaller loans than regular banks, they have many of the same legal needs. In our Microfinance practice, we represent all aspects of U.S. legal issues faced by MFIs. We have provided sophisticated legal work to MFIs in many areas in addition to finance, including the practices of securities, labor and employment, taxation, intellectual property, immigration, white collar defense, and nonprofit law.
Corporate Social Responsibility at Nixon Peabody
At Nixon Peabody we are fortunate to have clients who lead by example in demonstrating corporate social responsibility. Because we share common goals and values, we have adapted many of their best practices in our own approaches to corporate social responsibility, including pro bono representation, our diversity efforts, and our drive towards building a sustainable future through Legally Green®, our comprehensive sustainability initiative. While our clients are our firm priority, we also strive to accomplish what is best for our world and the communities in which we live and work.