The attorneys, law students, legal professionals, and community members below volunteer their time, free of charge, to provide the legal advice, consultations, and Legal Cafe services to communities that need them most: those creating more just and resilient local economies.
The attorneys below are providing the community based lawyering necessary to usher in the new economy. SELC wants to thank them and their invaluable contribution to building more just and resilient local economies. SELC is very limited in its capacity to provide ongoing legal support to individuals and organizations, so feel free to contact the attorneys below on how to receive longer term legal representation.
Legal Cafe Attorneys
A native of Oakland and a Berkeley grad, Cameron returned a few years back to her home turf after spending four years as an attorney at the U.S. State Department. She opened a law practice to do what she loves best, helping people and organizations committed to changing the world. Cameron has had a life-long passion for social and economic justice, working in the Peace Corps, at anti-trafficking and international development organizations, and in law school through legal clinics.
Cameron mainly works with nonprofits and social enterprises, both domestically and abroad. Her goal is to have honest, intelligent working relationships with her clients, and get them good legal advice at affordable rates. Find her private practice at www.cameronholland.com.
Cameron's areas of legal services include:
- choosing the best legal entity for the client
- formation of partnerships, LLCs, nonprofits, and corporations
- tax exemption if applicable
- contract review, drafting and negotiation
- liability issues- governance requirements
- IP agreements and licensing
Elizabeth is a rock star volunteer at the Resilient Communities Legal Cafe, providing educational workshops and legal advice on various areas of employment law. Inspired by the entrepreneurs at the Slow Money National Gathering in Boulder, Colorado in April 2013, Elizabeth opened a law practice to provide affordable legal services to small and medium-sized businesses, cooperatives, and non-profit organizations, with a primary focus on environmentally and socially sustainable enterprises.
Elizabeth's areas of legal services include:
- Employment Law
- Independent Contractors vs Employees
- Employment Law and Cooperatives
- Employee Handbooks/Personnel Policies
- Employment Agreements
- Independent Contractor Agreements
- Intellectual Property/Confidentiality Agreements
- Can also advise on entity choice & formation, Cottage Food Start-Ups, & Food Safety/HAACP
Sushil Jacob is a Staff Attorney at the East Bay Community Law Center, where he received a Skadden Fellowship in 2011 to launch the Green-Collar Communities Clinic (GC3), a community economic development legal clinic. Sushil received his J.D. in 2011 from Boalt Hall. Prior to attending law school, Sushil worked in India for two years on community economic development projects, including Just Change, a producer cooperative comprised of small farmers and indigenous communities in South India. Inspired by the potential of cooperative business development, he focused his law school studies on the intersection of business law with the environmental justice/green jobs movements. He believes in the power of organized communities to win struggles for economic justice and building locally-owned, environmentally responsible businesses.
Sushil's areas of legal expertise include:
- Legal advice for the formation and organization of worker and consumer cooperatives
- Advising nonprofits on the formation and incubation of social enterprises, including nonprofits
- Advising fiscally-sponsored projects
- Other issues facing 501(c)(3) and tax-exempt organizations
Jill Jacobs, Law Office of Jill Jacobs
Jill Jacobs is a Fellow at the Sustainable Economies Law Center, and with their support will represent and advocate on behalf of socially and environmentally friendly businesses, organizations, and individuals. She is a member of the California Bar and has experience practicing law in the areas of workers compensation on behalf of injured workers, fair housing, disability discrimination, landlord-tenant, consumer protection, public benefits, environmental, and land use.
Jill has a BA in Anthropology from UCSC and a JD with a Certificate of Environmental Law from Pace School of Law, where she externed at the Land Use Law Center, interned at the Hudson Highlands Land Trust, and worked as a student attorney at the Environmental Litigation Clinic under the supervision of Bobby Kennedy Jr. After volunteering with California Rural Legal Assistance and California FarmLink, she is currently a Sanctuary Steward at Save Our Shores. Her career has included work as a domestic violence victims’ rights advocate, a substitute teacher for grades K-12, and a marketer for organic farms. Personally, she is motivated by love and gratitude for people, the outdoors, and learning.
Jill's areas of legal expertise include:
- Contract and document review, analysis, and creation
- Issue spotting, planning, organizing
- Figuring out good questions and where to get answers
- Entity choice, formation, governance, and dissolution
- Nonprofit types, governance, and tax exemption
- Insurance and risk management
- Employment law
- Real Estate law
- Land use law
- Municipal law
- Zoning law
- Legal compliance
- Contracts and documents: E.g. Partnership agreements, Operating agreements, bylaws, governance, purchases, leases, sales, production, marketing, options, deeds, easements, CC&Rs, liability waivers, offerings, financial, memos, letters, etc.
Through the Law Offices of Jeremy Chen, Jeremy provides legal counseling to social enterprises and nonprofits regarding entity formation, business transactions, and corporate governance. Contact Jeremy at 415.857.3801 or [email protected].
Jeremy's areas of legal expertise include:
For Social Enterprises
- Entity choice
- Entity conversion
- Operating agreements
- Business transactions (contracts)
- Tax exemption
- Collaborations with for-profit companies
- Governance (bylaws, board resolutions, board meetings)
Jenny is an attorney based in Oakland, California, who provides legal support for social entrepreneurs, nonprofit organizations, and small businesses. Jenny graduated from Lewis & Clark Law School with a certificate in Environmental & Natural Resources Law, where she earned awards for her legal writing, public service, and environmental leadership. Jenny has volunteered with or worked for nonprofit organizations since 1996, including legal internships with the Northwest Environmental Defense Center, Defenders of Wildlife, and the Earthrise Law Center. Jenny currently volunteers at SELC’s Resilient Communities Legal Cafe. Her private practice can be found at www.jennyloda.com.
Jenny's areas of legal expertise include:
- Choice of entity and formation
- Tax exemption
- Liability Issues
- Contract review and drafting
- Bylaws review and drafting
- Particular types of businesses: food and agriculture businesses/non-profits, cottage food operations, childcare/babysitting cooperatives
- Environmental law
Sarah Kaplan is an attorney who focuses on serving green businesses, cooperatives, and social enterprises. Sarah's practice includes start-up services, capital fundraising, contracts, and general transactional service for businesses. Sarah's goal is to support the growing movement toward cooperative, community-based, and socially oriented business, both in Illinois (where she lived for the last 12 years) and in California (where she currently lives). Before starting her own practice, Sarah was an Assistant Illinois Attorney General in the Public Access Bureau, which enforces the Illinois Freedom of Information and Open Meetings Acts.
Sarah graduated with high honors from Chicago-Kent College of Law in 2010. Before law school, Sarah worked as a bike mechanic at Rapid Transit Cycleshop in Chicago, and taught bike mechanics workshops at West Town Bikes. As a year-round utility cyclist, Sarah has pulled varied and heavy loads by bike trailer. In 2005, Sarah was a founding member of the HUB Housing Cooperative in Chicago. Sarah discovered cooperative living at 2 Dickinson Street Co-op while a student at Princeton University, and continues to enjoy many benefits of living cooperatively. Contact Sarah at [email protected] and 312 469-0794.
Sarah's areas of legal expertise include:
- Securities Law
She also is competent in:
- Choice of entity
- start-up needs like bylaws/operating agreements
- Contract review and drafting
- Non-profit issues, esp.
- overlap between social enterprise/for-profit & nonprofit entities,
- formation and dissolution of nonprofits,
- registering charities
- Interested in developing more expertise in co-housing and real estate.
Most of my practice involves business and employment litigation. I represent clients from all walks of life, from individuals involved in business disputes to employees with wage and hour claims. If you are looking for business counseling, need to resolve a dispute, or have been served with a lawsuit, I am here to help. My goal is to guide clients through the legal system as efficiently as possible so that they can focus on their lives.
Before joining Stall Parker LLP, I ran my own practice in downtown Oakland counseling business owners and litigating employment disputes. I have served as a federal judicial extern at the U.S. District Court, Northern District of California for the Honorable Judge Saundra Brown Armstrong and regularly volunteer at the Sustainable Economies Law Center.
Before entering the legal field I worked in accounting, human resources, and management in the biotech, retail and agricultural industries. My diverse background enables me to understand the unique needs of people, businesses and the challenging legal landscape they face.
Outside of my law practice I enjoy hiking, snowboarding, and exploring all of the delicious food the Bay Area has to offer. Contact Janelle at [email protected].
Neil is a SELC Staff Attorney, providing legal advice to community-based entrepreneurs and organizations, specializing in food and agriculture-related legal issues. He also advocates for policy changes that remove legal barriers to cooperative models of ownership, strengthen laws that promote urban agriculture, and support the viability of small businesses. Aside from his role at SELC, Neil maintains a small legal practice dedicated to serving the nonprofit and small-farm and food communities. In 2013, Neil researched and authored several case studies on social justice in agriculture for inclusion in the UC Santa Cruz Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems’ farm apprenticeship curriculum. He also holds a Certificate in Ecological Horticulture for completing the same apprenticeship in 2012. Neil earned a B.A. in Economics and International Area Studies from UCLA, and a J.D. from UC Hastings College of the Law.
Neil's areas of legal expertise include:
- Non-profit formation
- LLC formation
- Operating Agreements
Also competent in:
- Labor law on farms
- Employment law generally
- CA Cottage Food Law
I’m an attorney living and working in Oakland, CA. I am dedicated to helping my neighbors and local businesses create a more sustainable, just economy through the law. I graduated from Lewis and Clark Law School in 2012 with a concentration in Environmental and Natural Resources Law. In my free time, I enjoy cooking, hiking and exploring the Bay Area. Contact Sarah at [email protected]
- Small Business Services
- Entity formation for your business (LLC, corporation, sole proprietorship, other)
- Employment Law
- Zoning laws
- Nonprofit Services
- Entity formation
- Taxation issues
- Running for-profit side businesses
- Volunteers versus employees
- Cooperatives Services
- Worker, consumer cooperatives, producer cooperatives and multiple stakeholder cooperatives
Janelle Orsi is the Executive Director and co-founder of the Sustainable Economies Law Center. Outside of her work with SELC, Janelle is an attorney and mediator focused on helping individuals and organizations share resources and create more sustainable communities. Through the Law Office of Janelle Orsi, she works with cooperatives, community gardens, cohousing communities, ecovillages, and others doing innovative work to change the world. She attended UC Berkeley’s Boalt Hall School of Law. In 2010, Janelle was profiled by the American Bar Association as a Legal Rebel, an attorney who is “remaking the legal profession through the power of innovation.” In 2012, Janelle was one of 100 people listed on The (En)Rich List, which names individuals “whose contributions enrich paths to sustainable futures.” Janelle is author of the book Practicing Law in the Sharing Economy (ABA Books 2012), and co-author of The Sharing Solution: How to Save Money, Simplify Your Life & Build Community (Nolo 2009), a practical and legal guide to cooperating and sharing resources of all kinds.
Rana graduated New College of California Law School in 2008 and specialized in public interest law and family practice. In 2009, at the height of the global financial crash, Rana took advantage of the growing San Francisco underground food movement to launch her own artisan food business, House Kombucha. House Kombucha is a small batch brewery of kombucha tea, an ancient health tonic known for its detoxifying and probiotic benefits. In 3 years, Rana went from brewing kombucha in a basement closet by herself to operating her own kitchen warehouse in East Oakland and employing 7 people full time. House Kombucha is now distributed in over 150 stores in greater Bay Area, including Whole Foods Market. The start-up phase of a business is a crucial and exciting time and Rana is passionate about helping other food artisans become self-sustaining while realizing their dreams.
Past Resilient Communities Legal Cafe Volunteers
The attorneys below volunteered their time at our Legal Cafe in the past, providing the community based lawyering that is necessary to build thriving local economies. SELC wants to thank them for supporting the sharing economy. Good luck in your future endeavors!
Camille was an Equal Justice Works Fellow and SELC Staff Attorney (sponsored by Hewlett-Packard and Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP) based in California’s rural San Joaquin Valley. She partnered with rural and farm worker communities to create community-owned projects that improved health, built residents’ capacity, and supported sustainable local economic development. She was humbled and thrilled to work with local communities to restore the beauty and possibility of the Valley. Raised in Richmond, California, Camille graduated with a B.A. and J.D. from UC Berkeley, where she developed programs and university-community partnerships to address persistent inequality in California’s rural and urban low-income communities of color. In addition to her work with Valley communities, Camille served on the boards of, and advised, several local and statewide community organizations focused on economic, environmental, and food justice.
Caroline is currently a Judicial Law Clerk United States District Court for the Northern District of California under District Judge Edward Chen. Caroline was formerly a Staff Attorney at the Sustainable Economies Law Center focusing on the Community Enterprise and Community Renewable Energy programs. Her research included analysis of social enterprises' access to growth capital and startup financing, federal and state securities laws, federal and state money transmitter laws, and innovative business models for community ownership of energy. Caroline is passionate about working with sustainable businesses, startups, and entrepreneurs.
Raised in the Bay Area, Caroline received a J.D. from UC Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall) with a certificate in Environmental Law and received her undergraduate degree in Community Studies from UC Santa Cruz. She has previously worked for the White House Council on Environmental Quality, Shute, Mihaly & Weinberger, the United Nations and Fiji’s Department of Environment where she drafted the Nation’s first recycling regulation.