How to Start a Legal Cafe

Start a Legal Cafe in Your Community!

Thank you for your interest in starting a Legal Cafe in your community. Below you will find a working draft of our "Practical Guide to Starting a Legal Cafe."

View and Download the Practical Guide to Starting a Legal Cafe here

Legal Cafes are transformational spaces!

NOTE: This guide is a work-in-progress and will be updated as we continue to improve upon our Legal Cafe and receive feedback from those interested in starting a Legal Cafe in their community. So please help us continue to improve this guide by sending your questions, feedback, or comments about the guide to cameron@theselc.org

DISCLAIMER

THE CONTENTS OF THIS GUIDE SHOULD NOT BE RELIED ON AS LEGAL ADVICE.

ALSO, SOME OF THIS INFORMATION COULD BECOME OUTDATED, AND LAWS AND REGULATION OF THE PRACTICE OF LAW VARIES FROM PLACE-TO-PLACE. FURTHERMORE, ALTHOUGH WE TRIED TO COLLECT ACCURATE INFORMATION, SOME INFORMATION IN THIS GUIDE COULD EVEN TURN OUT TO BE INCORRECT OR SUBJECT TO OTHER INTERPRETATIONS BY COURTS OR REGULATORS! WE SURE HOPE THAT’S NOT THE CASE, BUT, WHAT CAN WE SAY? LAW AND REGULATION OF THE PRACTICE OF LAW IS COMPLICATED STUFF! THAT IS WHY WE STRONGLY RECOMMEND THAT YOU REFER TO ANY APPLICABLE LAWS, RULES, AND REGULATIONS THAT APPLY TO THE LOCATION OF YOUR LEGAL CAFE.

 

About the Guide

In February of 2013, the Sustainable Economies Law Center (SELC) created an unusual “legal clinic” that we call the Resilient Communities Legal Cafe (Legal Cafe). Three years later, after providing legal support to more than 500 enterprises and organizations, and offering workshops for more than 2000 attendees, we have come to believe that the Legal Cafe is one of the most important and impactful projects our organization has ever created. The Legal Cafe has been instrumental in the launch of countless new micro-enterprises and organizations because of its community-oriented approach and unique strategy for providing accessible grassroots legal advice to community-focused entrepreneurs and change-makers. Part of that strategy was transforming the experience of receiving legal advice into a welcoming, lively, and empowering one for clients. In 2014, we received meritorious recognition from the American Bar Association Standing Committee on the Delivery of Legal Services for our innovations in legal service delivery.

We have heard from groups around the world who are interested in replicating the model. This Guide represents our best attempt to document lessons learned and share resources we have created. Our Legal Cafe has evolved in many ways and we are constantly improving it. We hope to update this Guide regularly by incorporating new ideas not only from SELC’s Legal Cafe, but also from groups that start their own Legal Cafes based on this model.

Find out what others say about their experience at the Legal Cafe!

Thanks to our Partners and Collaborators: