2. 23 Years of Legal Expertise Guides Law Students to New Frontiers in Social Enterprise
Cassady V. (“Cass”) Brewer brings a lifetime of practical legal experience to aspiring lawyers at the College of Law at Georgia State University. Along with traditional tax law, he explores the law regarding the emerging hybrid business forms known as social enterprise. Like his own life, the evolving area of law is all about combining business and the world of work with a social mission. Partners in his former law practice could see his gift for teaching before he did.
How Did You Start Using Your Talents?
“Probably recognizing the innate teacher in me, my law firm asked me to develop a training program for young associates,” Cass recalls. Although his work was well received and benefited the firm, he felt the compensation was inadequate; it hadn’t produced billable hours. Quickly moving through initial bitterness and resentment, he thought, “Maybe I’m in the wrong system.” His next step began with a period of self-reflection.
The Most Impactful Turning Point?
When the Great Recession of 2008 hit, Cass was on a hiking trip on an Inca Trail to Machu Pichu in Peru. Completely disconnected from any media, he heard about it three days later. Returning to the chaos and panic of the major Atlanta law firm where he was a partner, he sensed in his inner calm that a shift had happened. He observed “All this ‘stuff’ that you’re calling wealth—that you are worshipping in many ways—is creating fear and anxiety in you.”
The Most Powerful Lessons Learned?
When you’re doing something you love, the extra time and effort you have to put in doesn’t feel like work. It feels like you’re doing something for yourself, even though it is your job to teach or support (an) institution. Now that he’s doing what he loves, he says, “I have more energy, am more emotionally available to my family. I am fully engaged in what I’m doing, not simply doing it as a means to an end. It’s an end unto itself. It’s the journey, not the destination.”
On His Bookshelf
I would include anything by Thich nhat Hanh, the Vietnamese monk and author, Pema Chodron, the American figure in Tibetan Buddhism, and Eckhart Tolle, author of The Power of Now. Anything that helps you focus on living in the present moment and practice spiritual reflection—not letting external forces control your inner peace and serenity.
Top Tools on His Browser
Rising Tide Car Wash (risingtidecarwash.com) is about a thriving social enterprise in Florida, where 90% of its employees suffer from autism but can work well in that setting. “I love exploring the area of law called social enterprise, which is all about combining business with a social mission, paying living wages, providing health benefits, and offering training. These are businesses that are self-sustaining through their revenue, while serving a higher purpose.”
Connecting With Cass Brewer
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