Westaway earned a master’s degree in public policy at Regent before enrolling in the law school. As part of that program, he wrote his thesis about economic development in sub-Saharan Africa. “I started to have my eyes opened to the idea that if you can change macro-economic conditions, you might be able to affect the quality of life for people on the ground,” he explains. “Then in law school I became interested in issues of social justice, especially sex trafficking and people living in extreme poverty.”
After he graduated and launched his law practice, he connected with friends who were working to combat sex trafficking in Southeast Asia. Working together, they founded a business that employed women rescued from the sex trade to help the women achieve financial independence. That’s when he was first exposed to the idea of social entrepreneurship.
“That opened my eyes up to a whole sector, and I dove in head first. I realized this is who I am,” Westaway says. “A big part of my calling is really around leveraging the market to do good.”
Now his practice solely serves social entrepreneurs, and he is one of the emerging thought leaders in the field. Westaway often writes for The Guardian, Wall Street Journal, Harvard Business Review and Huffington Post, and he lectures at Harvard Law and Stanford Law. He has also been on the leading edge of the changing nature of the field, structuring his law firm in a way that addresses the shifts in the marketplace. He has moved from billable hours to flat fees in most cases and keeps overhead costs low by using a virtual assistant and outsourcing work as needed to a network of lawyers around the country.
He says the shift in the legal field isn’t necessarily bad; it will just mean new ways of doing business. “I think this is actually great for the consumer. It’s great for the entrepreneurial lawyer. It’s probably bad for the big firm lawyer, but it puts a lot of opportunity on the table if you are savvy enough to know how to ride it.”
The new trends offer a good opportunity to examine what Regent offers its students, says Brauch. “It’s been good for us to think through what we are doing and how we can do it the very best.”
“If God is leading our students here, He will open the door to a job and to a meaningful role where they are making a difference in people’s lives,” he says, “and we are seeing that happen.”
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