A Summary of Delaware Public Benefit LLCs

Benefit LLCs are a new entity choice in a handful of states, including Maryland, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Utah. In 2018, Delaware joined this burgeoning group of states.

While the trend is young, Delaware’s adoption of this new entity is important. More companies call Delaware home than any other state, and it’s often an influential first mover with changes to its corporate framework, with other states following suit.

Similar to a public benefit corporation, Delaware defines a public benefit LLC as a for-profit limited liability company that’s “intended to produce a public benefit or public benefits and to operate in a responsible and sustainable manner.”[1] And like the corporation version, these LLCs must have a Public Benefit that reflects a positive effect--or reduction of negative effects--of an “artistic, charitable, cultural, economic, educational, environmental, literary, medical, religious, scientific or technological nature.”[2]

This statutory framework allows the company to balance financial interests with the public benefit stated in its governing documents. And within the framework of a limited liability company, it offers entrepreneurs and founders the ability to utilize the flexible structure of an LLC and taxation benefits while aligning the company to public-focused mission.

This is valuable virtue signaling. It lets investors, advisors, employees, and customers know about the socially-conscious mission enmeshed into the framework of the business. It also creates ease for investors to assess the business because of new statutory requirements, including a mandatory statement every other year that reports on the company’s promotion of its stated public benefit. The statement must include:

  • the objectives the company has established to promote the public benefit;

  • the standards for measuring its progress;

  • factual information based on those standards; and

  • an assessment of the company’s success in meeting its objectives.[3]

If you’d like to learn more about Benefit LLCs to discover if this is a beneficial move for your business, we’d be happy to go through this new framework with more depth to determine if this will help you generate the impact you seek.

This article was written by our emerging companies associate, Chris Jones. You can reach Chris via email.


[1] § 18-1202(a).

[2] § 18-1202(b).

[3] § 18-1205.


Francesco Barbera

Francesco Barbera is a corporate attorney representing emerging growth companies in a wide range of industries, including software, technology, digital, fashion, health care, retail and e-commerce.

He counsels entrepreneurs, investors and established companies on the full range of their business activities, from formation through raising capital, growth and acquisition. He has special expertise in the representation of mission-driven organizations and social enterprises. 

Throughout his career, he has represented the National Broadcasting Corporation, the Grammy Museum, Ares Capital Management, Credit Suisse First Boston, as well as privately held businesses in internet, media and technology, mobile applications, consumer products, professional sports, film and television production, among others over the course of his career. 

Francesco began his legal career at two large, international law firms in Los Angeles, where he represented large and small enterprises in a broad range of transactions, from mergers and acquisitions to public and private securities offerings to the formation of partnerships and joint ventures.

Francesco is also the Co-Chairman of the Los Angeles chapter of Conscious Capitalism, Inc.A lifelong student of psychology and personal development, Francesco holds a Master’s Degree in Spiritual Psychology from the University of Santa Monica and has been trained and mentored by numerous leaders in the personal development arena, including Steve Chandler, Byron Katie and George and Linda Pransky. 

Francesco has also founded and represented non-profit initiatives.

He has served as outside counsel to the Los Angeles Leadership Academy, a charter school dedicated to training the next generation of social and political leaders, and he is the founder and former Executive Director of SpiritWalk, a non-profit fundraiser created to benefit the University of Santa Monica.  

Francesco’s writing has appeared in The American LawyerCalifornia LawyerSlate, and others. He served as the Supreme Court columnist and Executive Editor of the Harvard Law Record and was the founder and editor-in-chief of the Penn History Review, the first Ivy League journal in the country dedicated to the publication of undergraduate historical research.

Francesco is an honors graduate of Harvard Law School, cum laude, and the University of Pennsylvania, summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa.