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Hanson Bridgett Helps Make Job Creation Legislation a Reality (October 14, 2011) 

Governor Brown signs benefit corporation legislation into law today

Hanson Bridgett LLP is pleased to announce its role in making benefit corporation legislation a reality for California. Hanson Bridgett’s Jonathan Storper co-chaired the legal working group that drafted and worked for the law’s passage, and he testified in the legislature.

The legislation, signed into law today by Governor Brown, creates a new class of corporation in California called benefit corporations that are legally required to pursue the creation of a material positive impact on society and the environment, while meeting higher standards of accountability and transparency.

“This legislation marks a huge leap forward for California’s economic potential,” said Jonathan Storper, Hanson Bridgett LLP Partner and Sustainable Business group chair. “California is now a much more enticing place to do business from the perspective of corporations, entrepreneurs, and investors. This translates into more opportunities for job seekers.”

Previously, current law required corporations to prioritize the financial interests of shareholder over the interests of workers, communities, and the environment. The California legislation is unique, providing the strongest consumer and investor protection through the most rigorous transparency provisions among the states that have so far enacted benefit corporation legislation.

California, the largest economy in the U.S. and considered the home of entrepreneurial activity using sustainability as a driver of innovation, becomes the biggest state, and the sixth overall, to pass benefit corporation legislation.

Benefit corporations are identical to existing California corporations except that a benefit corporation is required to: 1) have a corporate purpose to create a material positive impact on society and the environment; 2) redefine fiduciary duty to require consideration of the interests of employees, community and the environment when making decision; and 3) publicly report annually on its overall social and environmental performance using a comprehensive, credible, independent, and transparent third party standard.

New Jersey, Virginia, and Hawaii passed similar legislation earlier this year, joining Vermont and Maryland who did so in spring 2010. Benefit corporation legislation is on the Governor’s desk in New York and has also been introduced in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina. Legislation has enjoyed strong bi-partisan support in every state.

The bill was sponsored by the American Sustainable Business Council, New Voice of Business, and B Lab; and the effort to pass the benefit corporation legislation was led by a legal working group co-chaired by Jonathan Storper from Hanson Bridgett LLP.

Hanson Bridgett is a law firm with more than 150 attorneys in offices in San Francisco, Sacramento, the North Bay, Silicon Valley and the East Bay. Serving clients since 1958, we are well known in Northern California and have earned a national reputation in many of our practice areas.

Our diverse client list includes large national and global companies as well as many governmental entities, regional businesses and individuals. While we keep true to our California roots, our work increasingly takes us across state and national borders.

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Michelle Klopp
Hanson Bridgett LLP
425 Market Street, 26th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94105

415-995-5075 Direct Phone
415-541-9366 Fax

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