Below, please find information about the Sustainable Economies Law Center intern opportunities.
Internship Opportunities & Information
We are always looking for passionate individuals who want to take their volunteer participation at Sustainable Economies Law Center to the next level by becoming an intern. If you are looking for a cohort-based internship program, please read about our Summer Internship Institute above!
How do we define intern?
Typically, our interns are unpaid persons who work approximately 15-25 hours per week under the supervision of one or more staff members and are one of the following:
- Interning in connection with an academic or vocational program that is directly related to our work, or,
- Those who are not currently enrolled in an academic or vocational program but are interning with us for educational and training purposes in order to gain the skills and experience necessary to pursue a career related to our work.
What does interning with us look like?
Our interns have done in-depth legal research, provided participatory educational trainings, supported client relationships and advice sessions, produced how-to guides for legal professionals and the general public, and much more! Interns are usually required to work at our office for a portion of their hours and then are allowed to work remotely for their remaining hours. Some interns have worked their entire internship remotely, with meetings and check-ins done virtually. Each internship experience is different and is crafted to meet the aspirations of both the intern and our organization.
What are the benefits of interning with us?
Sustainable Economies Law Center is a dynamic, evolving, and forward thinking organization! We are a democratically run organization that practices participatory management. We are on the cutting edge of transactional law issues and provide essential legal and organizational support to radical organizations moving our communities to deep democratic ownership and practices. Here are even more benefits to interning with us!
- Each intern who is part of a structured internship program or is interning with us in connection with an educational institution is given a personal and professional development budget which they may choose to spend on outside trainings, travel to conferences, purchasing books and materials, or other expenses related to their education.
- Each intern is provided two support staff to develop their professional skills and legal expertise.
- Each intern is provided with networking opportunities and connections to community based organizations,
- Each intern participates in a structured, learner-centered curriculum that deepens their knowledge of the intersection of economic justice, transactional law, and generative responses to systems of marginalization and oppression.
What are the qualities we look for in interns?
At Sustainable Economies Law Center, we are a lean, effective, and collectively-run organization and desire that our interns possess some of the following qualities:
- Interested and willing to learn
- Realistic about availability and skill level
- Can work independently
- Possesses good communication skills
- Flexible schedule (i.e. can occasionally meet with staff during normal business hours when needed)
- Has prior research experience, ideally in the legal field
- Willingness to do non-sexy tasks
- Committed to our Mission
Interested in becoming an intern?
If you are interested in becoming an intern, please email Cameron Rhudy at firstname.lastname@example.org and do the following:
1. write in the email subject line, "Intern Application [WRITE YOUR NAME],"
2. provide a cover letter: the cover letter should
a. specify that you are applying for an internship position,
b. include a short description about yourself,
c. a short description about why you are passionate about economic, environmental, or social justice,
d. a description of the program area(s) you would like to work in and in what capacity,
e. a description of the time frame you are seeking to intern with the Law Center;
3. provide a resume or CV, and
4. provide a writing sample.
Thank you for your interest in interning at the Law Center!
Sustainable Economies Law Center's Summer Internship Institute
NOTE: THE 2017 SUMMER INTERNSHIP INSTITUTE HAS BEEN CANCELED.
Even though the Summer Institute has been canceled, we are still accepting intern applications. See above for more information.
Location: Oakland, CA
Program Area Opportunities: Cooperatives, Food, Farmland, Water, Housing, Grassroots Finance, Worker Self Directed Nonprofits
Position Type: Extern, Intern
Description: Sustainable Economies Law Center is seeking a cohort of summer legal interns who are passionate about the cultivation of community resilience and grassroots economic empowerment. We move our vision of the world forward through four overlapping and interconnected strategies:
RESEARCH: Performing innovative legal research in emerging legal gray areas that build space for distributed ownership, democratic participation, and sustainable practices.
EDUCATION: Providing accessible and engaging education for communities and legal professionals so that communities everywhere have the legal knowledge they need to create their own resilient economies. These can take the form of interactive workshops, webinars, and teach-ins in multiple languages.
ADVICE: Facilitating legal advice to cooperative entrepreneurs and practitioners of the new economy at our Resilient Communities Legal Cafe.
ADVOCACY: Advocating for innovative policy recommendations that enable more localized, just, and resilient economies through research, targeted legislative campaigns, strategic planning and implementation, and consulting with policy makers.
Expectations: Interns work collaboratively with staff to co-create the legal foundations of the new economy. Interns and their staff counterparts work together to build a work plan that is based on the intern's skills, capacity, and interests. Interns are expected to work on multiple strategies and within multiple program areas, but will have the opportunity to concentrate their efforts in one program area and within one strategy. Each intern is supervised by at least one staff attorney or policy director, depending on the intern's concentration.
Our office is at Impact HUB Oakland, a shared working space, entrepreneurial incubator, and a membership-based community of socially engaged people, co-working and co-learning. Summer interns will be expected to work 15 - 30 hours per week, depending on intern and programmatic requirements. Summer interns will be expected to work at the office one to two days per week and complete the remaining required hours remotely. Our staff work remotely three days per week and accommodations can be made for either more or less direct support and supervision in our office, if desired.
Typically, interns are one of the following:
- Interning with us in connection with an academic or vocational program that is directly related to our work; or,
- Those who are not currently enrolled in an academic or vocational program but are interning with us for educational and training purposes in order to gain skills and experience necessary to pursue a career related to our work.
Sustainable Economies Law Center's Summer Internship Institute does not provide a stipend. We strongly encourage applicants to pursue outside funding, but the ability to secure outside funding will not be considered as part of the hiring decision.
Below is a sampling of specific projects identified that will need support from legal interns during the summer internship.
- Legal Resource Libraries: We manage and curate five online legal resource libraries stocked with legal guidelines, FAQs, and templates to help navigate complex regulatory landscapes for urban farming, cooperatives, small and community-owned enterprise, community currencies, and food and farming enterprises. We are seeking support with legal research, building strategic partnerships with legal professionals around the country, and website maintenance.
- Tu Negocio Cooperativa: Our half day popular education workshop, Think Outside the Boss, has been translated into Spanish and is provided at community centers around the Bay Area. We are seeking a Spanish speaking individual who will be able to facilitate a portion of the workshop as well as research areas of law related to cooperative businesses owned by undocumented immigrants.
- Policy Advocacy for the Promotion of Worker Cooperatives: Currently, we are working with cities in the Bay Area to create ordinances that would lower barriers to the creation of worker cooperatives, establish preferential city purchasing from and contracting with worker cooperatives, create a revolving loan fund for worker coops, and provide funding to organizations providing incubation and technical assistance to worker owned businesses. We are seeking those interested in supporting policy efforts through research, coalition building, and strategic planning.
- Resilient Communities Legal Cafe: We provide direct legal support to enterprises building a new economy at our Legal Cafes. We're looking for interns to facilitate intake, learn how to provide adequate and specialized legal consultations, and research legal issues that are brought to us by clients.
Other Ways to Get Involved
If you are interested in being involved in our work in other ways, we welcome you to visit our volunteer page and to attend any of our many events, including Legal Cafes, workshops, and happy hours, in order to meet our staff members and make a personal connection.
Thank you for your interest in volunteering at the Sustainable Economies Law Center's (SELC) Resilient Communities Legal Cafe!
Community Based Lawyering
There are three ways you can participate at the Legal Cafe whether you are a law student, legal professional, or community member who wants to increase access to community based lawyering in our communities! Below, find the descriptions of the different ways you can get involved at the Legal Cafe!
Please find the application at the bottom of the page.
"Tasters" come to do just that: get a taste of the Legal Cafe! Tasters are able to sit-in on the legal consultations and learn from experienced attorneys on how to use transactional law to build just and resilient local economies.
- There is only one “Taster” spot reserved at each Legal Cafe.
- We want all those "tasters" interested in the Legal Cafe to become actively involved and part of the SELC community of legal professionals and community activists!
"Servers" (Non-advising Volunteer)
A Server, or non-advising volunteer, at the Legal Cafe is a volunteer who does intake for clients, observes the legal consultations, and actively takes part in the operations of the Legal Cafe.
- "Servers" are the first point of contact for clients coming into the Legal Cafe. Servers take part in the intake process and are paired with an experienced Legal Cafe volunteer to issue spot the client’s needs and refine the scope of service that the client might be searching for. Servers can also go between the different consultations happening at the Legal Cafe. This allows them to learn about the full breadth of knowledge that our "Chefs," or SELC's experienced advising attorney volunteers, provide.
- Servers can be law students, legal professionals, and community members interested in using law as a tool for social and economic justice.
- SELC recognizes that Servers also come with their own set of skills and we encourage them to facilitate Teach-ins at the Legal Cafe. If you are knowledgeable in a particular legal or social justice area, we welcome Servers to coordinate a Teach-in with the "Host," Legal Cafe Coordinator.
A "Chef" is an attorney with the competency to provide legal advice in the areas of law that SELC specializes in providing.
- The Sustainable Economies Law Center focuses our community based lawyering on transactional law, whether it be entity formation, securities law, employment law, taxation, etc. for nonprofits, social enterprises, cooperatives, urban agriculture, community owned enterprises, and other organizational models that create just and resilient communities.
- At the Legal Cafe, SELC pairs attorneys together in teams of two or three (volunteers permitting), so no one is alone in providing legal advice. The advice session becomes a living classroom for attorneys, as consultations turn into discussions of the different interpretations and applications of law to the innovative ideas our clients present.