Legal Profession in the New Economy
The Sustainable Economies Law Center wants to live in a world where every town and city has legal professionals providing assistance to urban farms, worker cooperatives, food cooperatives, car sharing programs, cottage-scale enterprises, housing cooperatives, and other projects that create local ownership and build community resilience.
This has implications for how and where lawyers are trained, what skills they learn, what legal areas they study, how they establish law practices, how they relate to clients, how they communicate, how they charge for services, and so much more. The legal profession must change to keep pace with innovations of the new economy, and the Sustainable Economies Law Center would like to help it do that.
We provide many resources and opportunities to aspiring and current legal professionals. Our projects include:
- Our Book, Practicing Law in the Sharing Economy : Published in 2012 by the American Bar Association, this book is a must-have for attorneys interested in developing the basic skills and knowledge to serve the legal needs of the sharing economy. More information about the book is available here. Click to purchase the book or the ebook. To make the book more accessible to low-income legal professionals, the ABA provides this discount code for 50% off: PAB12SHR
- MCLE Workshops for Attorneys : Since 2010, the Law Center has taught many classes on various facets of practicing law in the sharing economy, such as cooperative taxation and advising worker self-directed nonprofits. In addition, a recent MCLE we co-sponsored and taught was on Practicing Law in a Post-Capitalist Society, which addressed bias in the current legal profession and ethical considerations for transitioning to new and more positive paradigms for both the economy and the legal system.
- Developing Resources on Legal Apprenticeships at LikeLincoln.org : LikeLincoln is a resource website and blog about ways of becoming an attorney without going to law school. Four non-attorney staff members at the Law Center are on a path toward becoming lawyers in California by apprenticing with attorneys, and we are sharing our experiences and resources in this process. We believe that legal apprenticeships are an important alternative to law school, because they enable people to become lawyers, regardless of their socio-economic status, geographical location, or learning needs. We also believe that apprenticeships - far more readily than law schools - can be tailored to train lawyers on the specific legal needs of the resilient communities movement. More information:
Fellowship Program: In 2013, we created a Fellowship Program and provided fellowships to five new attorneys. Since then the program has grown to almost 20 attorneys. The purpose of the fellowship is to help meet the legal needs of the growing community resilience movement by providing training, mentorship, and other resources to attorneys beginning new law practices and nonprofit law centers in this sector. You can read about our Fellows here.
- Next Legal: NextLegal.org is an online network designed to connect sustainable economy attorneys, law students, legal apprentices, and other legal professionals with one another and serve as a platform for sharing legal resources and information relevant to building more resilient communities in the U.S. and beyond. The site is currently in beta mode, but if you are interested in getting involved with testing the site, please contact Cameron by emailing cameron[at]theselc.org. Otherwise, stay tuned for our public launch in 2017!
- Internships for Law Students: Since 2010, the Law Center has hosted dozens of law student interns. More information on internship opportunities is available here.
- A Living Classroom for Attorneys, Apprentices, and Law Students: Our Resilient Communities Legal Cafe is a weekly legal advice clinic and discussion space that takes place in various locations in Oakland and Berkeley, CA. While we are providing essential legal services to community-based projects, we have also created a living classroom, where attorneys, apprentices, and law students may observe legal advice sessions, network with one another, use resources in our mobile law library, and take part in the many discussions and teach-ins we organize. If you are interested in attending the Legal Cafe as an observer or volunteer at our Legal Cafes, please notify Eunice in advance by emailing Eunice[at]theselc.org.
- Networking Events for Sustainable Economy Legal Professionals: We regularly hosts happy hours designed to foster networking among lawyers, law students, and other legal professionals focused on serving the legal needs of the sharing economy. See our event calendar for a listing of upcoming happy hours.