Legal Fellowship

About SELC's Legal Fellowship:

Meeting the legal needs of local sustainable/sharing economies requires that lawyers blaze new career paths and establish transactional law practices aimed at providing services to cooperatives, community-owned enterprise, urban farms, local currencies, land trusts, and so on. In order to foster this growing community of lawyers, SELC encourages lawyers of all experience levels who intend to practice law in this field to apply to become a SELC Legal Fellow. The purpose of the fellowship is to provide training, mentorship, and other resources to attorneys beginning new law practices and projects to serve the legal needs of local sustainable economies. Fellows will receive at least 25 hours of free classroom training for CLE credit, will receive mentorship from SELC staff and volunteer attorneys, and may take part in a variety of hands-on learning and networking opportunities offered at SELC. Legal Fellows, once accepted, are entitled to retain the title of Legal Fellow for as long as they are committed to serving clients who are contributing to local, sustainable, resilient, sharing economies.

Purposes of the Fellowship: The purposes of this program are to:

  • Help meet the legal needs of the growing sharing economy movement
  • Provide a launch-pad for new and transitioning attorneys to establish sharing economy law practices in communities throughout the U.S.
  • Provide training to new lawyers on the legal needs of a sharing economy

Why: SELC recognized the need for this fellowship program when we realized that the vast majority of new law grads are reluctant to create these new programs on their own. The ABA recently reported that 45% of law school graduates were unable to find legal work within one year after graduating. Many of these new graduates have chosen to take non-legal jobs, rather than to create programs serving the needs of local sustainable economies. This fellowship program will serve to provide training and support to attorneys and new graduates, serving as a launch pad for the creation of new law practices and programs throughout the country.

Who: New law school graduates and experienced attorneys are welcomed to apply.

When: Legal Fellowships are ongoing appointments. Fellows receive support and training through workshops and mentorships during their first year and are encouraged to give back in subsequent years to new fellows by hosting trainings, providing mentorship, and sharing information with each other.

Where: Classroom training will be provided at or near SELC’s office in Oakland. Fellows will also be invited to attend SELC's weekly Resilient Communities Legal Cafes in Berkeley, North Oakland, and East Oakland, in order to observe legal advice in action and to gain hands-on experience under the guidance of experienced attorneys.

How to Apply:

Fellows will be accepted on a rolling basis. Please send a resume, 1-2 page cover letter, and 1-2 writing samples to Janelle Orsi at  In the cover letter, please tell us what motivates you to serve the needs of local sustainable economies, and also describe the law practice or project you might start. What would be the goals of the project or law practice? Who would you serve? What areas of law would it involve? For the writing sample(s), we would appreciate seeing a sample of legal writing (such as a brief, memo, or law journal article) and a sample of writing aimed at lay-people or the general public, such as a blog post, article, or any other piece of writing you think demonstrates your communication skills.