Bite-Sized Legal Guides

Have a legal question but not quite ready to read a full legal guide? These Bite-Sized Legal Guides are a great place to start! 

¿Tiene una pregunta legal pero no está listo para leer una guía legal completa? ¡Estas Guías Legales Cortas son lugares excelentes para empezar! Desplácese hasta la parte inferior de la página para obtener recursos en español. 

JUMP TO Bite-Sized Legal Guides for: Land Stewards | Worker Cooperatives | Worker Self-Directed Nonprofits | Activists and Organizers 


Worker Cooperatives | Nonprofits | Food and Farming | Employment Law | Misc | Radical Real Estate Law

LEGAL DISCLAIMER: These Bite-Sized Legal Guides have been prepared by Sustainable Economies Law Center staff and volunteers as handouts for the Resilient Communities Legal Cafe. The contents of the Guides should NOT be relied on as legal advice. Furthermore, some of this information could become outdated, laws may vary from place to place, and although we've tried to collect accurate information and give the laws our best interpretation, some information in these Bite-Sized Legal Guides could be incorrect or subject to different interpretations by courts and regulators. We hope that's not the case, but, what can we say? Law is complicated stuff! That's why we STRONGLY recommend that you consult with an attorney before using this information.

Land Stewards

How to Get Property Tax Welfare ExemptionThe welfare exemption is a property tax exemption for certain properties owned by nonprofits. Click here to learn more!

How to Choose Between a Cooperative and a Nonprofit for your Radical Real Estate ProjectThere are certain benefits to using the nonprofit entity form and other benefits to using the cooperative entity form. Click here to learn more!

How to transfer real estate without professionalsPeople in California, you can transfer title to a property without a real estate agent, title, or escrow company. Click here to learn more!

Resources for Radical Home Sellers

The system makes it difficult to remove your home from the speculative market. Here are some resources to begin your long journey. 

In How to Become an Organic Producer, we explore the legal definition and requirements for "organic," who can (and must) be certified organic, how you can become a certified organic producer in California, and how to label organic products.

In How to Create an Accessible Urban Garden, we explore methods for increasing access to urban farms.

In How to Start a Homemade Food Business, we explore the California homemade food law and provide guidelines for starting a homemade food business.

In How to Navigate Employment Law for Food Enterprises, we explore the definitions, rights, and responsibilities of volunteers, employees, independent contractors, and employers.

In How to Become a Personal Chef in California, we explore the certifications and permits you'll need to become a personal chef in California.

In How to Operate a Pushcart, we explore how to operate a pushcart under Oakland's pilot mobile vending program. 

In How to Sell Eggs, we explore the rules for small-scale egg production and sale in California. 


In How to Sell Produce From Your Small Farm, Community Garden, or Backyard, we explore rules for selling urban grown produce & foraged food.

Worker Cooperatives

How to Choose an Entity for Your Cooperative will help you choose between filing as an LLC or as a Cooperative Corporation.

In How to Form a Cooperative Corporation, we provide a step-by-step guide to forming a California Cooperative Corporation.

In How to Finance a Worker Cooperativewe explore ways for worker-coops to obtain financing through internal equity, loans, government loans, & outside equity.

In How to Make Decisions in a Cooperativewe explore the different ways coops navigate making decisions in a democratic workplace.

In How to File Taxes as a Subchapter T Cooperativewe explore how cooperatives can avoid the double tax by deducting patronage dividends.

In How to Convert Your Existing Business Into a Cooperativewe explore the significant potential advantages of converting traditional capitalist ownership structures into worker cooperatives.


In How to Form a Nonprofit Organization, we lay out the steps to forming a 501c3 nonprofit organization.

In this Bite-Sized Legal Guide, we explore the legal considerations for becoming a worker self-directed nonprofit. 

In How to Receive Grants and Donations Through Fiscal Sponsor, we explore the pros and cons of finding a fiscal sponsor vs. forming a 501c3.

10 Things to Consider When Starting a Fiscally Sponsored Project with a Partner

In 10 Things to Consider When Starting a Fiscally Sponsored Project with a Partner, we provide the skeleton to your future "Co-Director Agreement."

How to Exit a Fiscal SponsorshipIn How to Exit a Fiscal Sponsorship, we outline steps that a fiscally sponsored project will typically undergo to become an independent nonprofit corporation.  

Be an Unincorporated AssociationIn this Bite-Sized Legal Guide, we explain what an unincorporated association is and outline the steps to operate as a nonprofit unincorporated association.

How to Navigate Conflicts of InterestIn How to Navigate Conflicts of Interest in Your Nonprofit, we explore how nonprofit corporations or associations can design a conflict of interest policy to meet their needs and comply with the law.

Public Support TestIn this Bite-Sized Legal Guide, we explore the difference between a public charity and a private foundation and how to apply the IRS's public support test.

Pay your Board

In this Bite-Sized Legal Guide, we explain how nonprofit public benefit corporations can pay their board of directors.

Employment Law

In this Bite-Sized Legal Guide, we provide an analysis of both federal and state employment laws, and how they might impact caregiving registries.

In this Bite-Sized Legal Guide, we help you comply with new employment law AB5. Learn what makes a new hire an independent contractor or an employee.

In Having Employees, we list some of the basic things you need to do and know to get set up as an employer.

In Who is Not an Employee, we explain the difference between unpaid interns, partners/owners, independent contractors, and volunteers.

How to Deal with Employment Law in Worker CooperativesIn this Bite-Sized Legal Guide, we help you figure out what to do if cooperative members need to be treated as employees under the law.

How to Deal With Workers' Comp InsuranceIn How to Deal with Workers' Compensation Insurance, we discuss cost, exemptions, brokers, and more!


In this Bite-Sized Legal Guide, we cover federal and California law on how to mitigate the risk that nonprofit volunteers will be seen as employees.



In How to Incorporate as an LLC or Partnership, we explore some steps to establish limited liability entities. 

In How to File Doing Business As ("DBA"), we explain the purpose of a DBA and link to resources that provide a step-by-step guide of how to file. 


In How to Establish a Self-Directed IRA and Solo 401(k), we explore how to pull your retirement savings out of Wall Street and invest it in things that enrich your local community.

In How to Navigate Trademark Law, we explore the basics of trademark law, including trademark registration, eligibility for trademark protection, trademark infringement, and more.

In How to Raise Capital, we explore the common exemptions to federal and state securities law that can be used when raising capital for your enterprise.


In this Bite-Sized Legal Guide, we explore how to run a cooperative child care arrangement in California.

General business license requirements vary from city to city. In Business Licenses for Gig Workerswe answer questions specific to Oakland, Berkeley, San Francisco, and Richmond.

In How to Work With Lawyers, we explore some things to consider before seeking legal advice. 

In this Bite-Sized Legal Guide, we provide a step by step guide to obtaining a contractors license. 

How to File Taxes as an LLCIn California LLC State Taxes & Fees, we define what an LLC is and explain when and how to file taxes & fees as an LLC.

How to Obtain a Sellers PermitWho needs a seller's permit? How do you obtain one? Find the answers in this Bite-Sized Legal Guide.


How to Purchase and Understand CGL InsuranceComprehensive General Liability Insurance protects orgs from legal liability arising from certain risks when those harmed sue the organization. Click here to learn more! 

En Español:

AVISO LEGAL: Estas Guías Legales Cortas han sido preparadas por personal y voluntarios del Sustainable Economies Law Center como documentos para el Café Legal de Comunidades Resilientes. El contenido de las Guías NO se debe confiar como asesoramiento legal. Además, parte de esta información podría quedar obsoleta, las leyes pueden variar de un lugar a otro, y aunque hemos intentado recopilar información precisa y dar a las leyes nuestra mejor interpretación, parte de la información en estas Guías legales de tamaño reducido podría ser incorrecta o estar sujeta a diferentes interpretaciones de los tribunales y los reguladores. Esperamos que ese no sea el caso, pero, ¿qué podemos decir? ¡La ley es algo complicado! Es por eso que recomendamos encarecidamente que consulte a un abogado antes de utilizar esta información.

En esta Guía Legal, exploramos la ley de comida casera de California y las reglas de la venta de comida casera.

En esta Guía Legal, exploramos las reglas de la producción y la venta de huevos a pequeña escala en California.

En esta Guía Legal, exploramos las reglas de California para vender productos cultivados en zonas urbanas, incluida la comida forrajera.


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