The Practical Guide to Starting a Legal Cafe is Now Available

By Sustainable Economies Law Center Staff Attorney, Cameron Rhudy

It’s Here, it’s Here, it’s Finally Here! Our Guide to Starting a Legal Cafe

Over the years we have received many inquiries from attorneys who want to start legal clinics  in their community that resemble our Resilient Communities Legal Cafe. In response, we have created our Practical Guide to Starting a Legal Cafe, a comprehensive guide for how to do just that. In the guide you will learn how to get the basics of your Legal Cafe in place and how to create that unique Legal Cafe experience. The guide also includes sample intake documents and a breakdown of tasks for scheduling and planning your Legal Cafe. 

Watch a short overview of what happens at a Legal Cafe here.

This guide is in a working draft form because we would love to get your feedback on how to improve it. We have been running our Legal Cafe for a while now and may have forgotten some of the questions that arise when first starting a Legal Cafe. So tell us, what is missing? Have you encountered any obstacles in starting a Legal Cafe in your community that we have not addressed in this guide? Please send us any feedback you may have to

Not Sure What a Legal Cafe Is?

Through our Resilient Communities Legal Cafe, Sustainable Economies Law Center (SELC) provides direct legal advice, workshops, and community-building opportunities to businesses and organizations that are trying to make their communities a better place to live and thrive. The legal advice given at the Legal Cafe is first-come, first-serve, so no appointment is necessary. Our volunteers and staff have cultivated expertise in a wide variety of areas and we advise on topics such as:

  • The Legal Cafe is ¼ advice clinic, ¼ community space, ¼ living classroom, and ¼ living laboratoryEntity choice and formation
  • Organizational governance
  • Contracts
  • Land use permits
  • Health and safety permits
  • Capital raising and securities law
  • Employment law
  • Insurance, liability, and risk management
  • Real estate transactions
  • Intellectual property
  • Internet law

The Resilient Communities Legal Cafe is a unique approach to providing legal services to the community. As we like to say, it is ¼ advice clinic, ¼ community space, ¼ living classroom, and ¼ living laboratory. 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.

So if you have ever thought, “Hey, my community could really use a Legal Cafe!” check out our Practical Guide to Starting a Legal Cafe.

Thanks to our Partners and Collaborators: