Our Favorite Reads of 2022

GIF of our favorite books of 2022

We love a good book here at the Law Center, so we’ve turned our love of sharing book recommendations with each other into an annual blog post where we compile Law Center staff’s favorite reads of the last year. Below you’ll find eight very different books, but books that all ultimately expanded our sense of self and understanding of the world. We hope you enjoy them too!

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The Cult of Experience: an exploration of “quality” in legal services

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Introduction: Developing Confidence as an Attorney

“Who will be your primary supervisor, and have you worked with that person before? What experience do they have in the legal areas you will be working in? Have you discussed training, orientation and ongoing support with the supervisor?” This is an important line of questioning for any law student applying for a post-graduate legal fellowship. For one, all of the organizations that select applicants will be looking to see that there is a clear supervision plan in place. For another, the baby attorney themself is likely looking for an environment where they can easily ask questions and get help from more experienced colleagues.

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October 2022 Newsletter: Patches of Aliveness

We're kicking off this month’s newsletter by sharing the below message from Sustainable Economies Law Center’s co-founder, Janelle Orsi, who offers a new collection of writings and videos, along with a collection of legal resources to support land return to community stewardship. 

Below that, you’ll find our newsletter full of new resources, newsworthy updates, and more!

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Sharing Patches of Aliveness

Dear friends, I hope this post brings you bursts of hope and nourishment. I’m sharing a collection of recent writings and videos in a slideshow called Patches of Aliveness. It’s like a quilt I’ve stitched together for the beautiful humans who are organizing more just, equitable, and caring communities. Each slide is a patch that, on its own, can perhaps bring you warmth or even inspiration when you need it. As a collection, I hope the patches can start to form a picture of a more nurturing world to heal the wounds inflicted by our legal and economic systems.

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How do we raise $1 million for the Law Center?

In 2023, Sustainable Economies Law Center will run low on funding. I sought wisdom about what to do in this situation and learned that one answer is already inside of me, literally. 

Gifts that flow like oxygen

Inside us, healthy cells release a signaling protein when they are low on oxygen. Blood vessels respond by growing in the direction of that cell to deliver oxygen. What an amazing system! I imagine the cell feels no shame in communicating its need, and the vessel feels no sense of sacrifice or charity in delivering the oxygen. Each simply fulfills its purpose as part of a larger living system.

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Reconnecting, Remembering, & Rewriting Our Future

“We are in this together, learning from each other.
We are the midwives, the seeds, and the sprouts of what the world can be and where the world will turn to when they understand that the current systems are pushing us off a cliff.
For me, that is why we come together. To remember this in our bodies.

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California Coop Landscape Report

In this report, Project Equity, the California Center for Cooperative Development, and Sustainable Economies Law Center provide an in-depth look at the cooperative landscape in California, focusing on three types of cooperatives that are particularly well situated to help address the biggest crises facing our communities: jobs, housing, and childcare.

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September 2022 Newsletter: Unlimited PTO was premised on our individual needs…but what about our collective needs?  

The prospect of unlimited paid time off (PTO) is one of the most prized benefits a worker could dream of.  It’s a way for an organization to signal to prospective employees that it values their work-life balance, their ability to manage their own workload, and that perhaps the success of its workers is measured by more than output and productivity. 

Since 2010, the Law Center’s own free time off policy has stated that we seek,

…to balance the individual needs of each staff member with the needs of the organization as a whole by providing a mechanism for self-regulation, group feedback, and transparent accounting. 

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How to move your retirement funds out of Wall Street and into a good cause

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August 2022 Newsletter: Our community of learning and practice

One of the many ways we work towards a more just and resilient economy is by providing educational opportunities and resources to those doing similar work. That might make us seem like experts in the information we’re providing, but the opposite is true: we’re in a constant state of learning and practice

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What Homefulness Taught Us

What Homefulness Taught Us

How can we ever begin to describe what we just experienced? For a year and a half, Sustainable Economies Law Center worked with POOR Magazine to get final approval for unhoused people to move into four homes built as part of a larger project they call Homefulness. Jaw-dropping, surreal, infuriating, devastating – no adjective could possibly describe the experience, and the story is far too long and detailed to tell. Yet, we feel a responsibility to share what’s been revealed.

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Why My Nonprofit Has No Executive Director

By Niloufar Khonsari, Nonprofit Quarterly Magazine

Also we don't have an ED anymore either!

Excerpt: "We researched other democratically governed nonprofits and political organizations. Although we didn’t find any that had no executive director, we learned about various ways that organizations distributed authority. Our key role models were AORTA, Sustainable Economies Law Center, and Fortify Community Health. Our work was also informed by Frederic Laloux’s book, Reinventing Organizations, which deconstructs the myth that collectively managed organizations have no structure, organization, or leadership."

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Secret Sweeties as a liberatory practice

collage of images from the 2022 SELC retreat

The Law Center team recently had four unplugged days together at Occidental Arts and Ecology Center after two and a half years apart. Our retreat priorities were to (re)connect and listen to one another, to listen to the lush beautiful land at OAEC, and to better understand each other's values and shared organizational values.

To kick us off, one of the co-organizers and facilitators of our retreat, Chris Tittle, shared some invigorating group games that he learned from YES! Jam  facilitation experiences. With all the listening, sharing, journaling, introspection and group work we did throughout the retreat, none was more transformative than a game Chris shared that we played throughout the retreat called Secret Sweeties.  

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July 2022 Newsletter: Secret Sweeties as a liberatory practice

The Law Center team recently had four unplugged days together at Occidental Arts and Ecology Center after two and a half years apart.  We played together like a flock of starlings. We sat still to notice the importance of both light and shadow. Time slowed down and flowed like a lazy river. What a time it was! 

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Lessons from Poor Magazine’s People Skool Part 2 of 2 - Sustainable Economies Law Center

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