We're always cooking up pay-it-forward legal advice, action-oriented workshops, and happy hours with engaging conversations on how to build just and resilient local economies. And we don't only provide in-person events for you to connect with us, we provide online trainings and travel across the country to support grassroots economic empowerment. Don't miss out!
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Find Sustainable Economies Law Center's events below!
Cooperative Workshops for the Black Community
Think Outside the Boss provides community members an introduction into the nuts and bolts of starting and running a cooperatively owned business. We go over legal issues in an accessible way to help you understand the relationships between cooperatives, employment, and community wealth-building.
In collaboration with the Repaired Nations and Cooperation Richmond, we are providing regular teach-ins that go through our legal guide for starting and operating worker cooperatives, Think Outside the Boss!
We'll be presenting sections of Think Outside the Boss over multiple sessions over the next few months. Our second teach-in will cover:
How does employment law change the way worker coop members work together?
What does it mean for worker owners to have an employee?
In a worker cooperative, should members be treated as employees or owners?
What do worker owners need to know to protect themselves, other members, and marginalized communities?
If you are an African American entrepreneur starting a business, an existing business owner thinking about succession plans and you have Black workers, or an existing worker coop with black worker-members looking for a refresher, this training is for you! >>> RSVP BELOW!
Food and drinks provided!
Workshop Session 2 will cover:
How do you spread ownership and control across a group of people?
What are some models of participatory management and democratic governance?
How does employment laws effect worker coops?
Workshop Session 3 will cover:
How do you raise money for a cooperative?
What are the tax and accounting issues in a cooperative?
Attorneys, artists, law students, and experienced cooperative professionals will give short presentations on legal issues, governance structures, financing, cooperative conversion, and more! At the event, we will have bound copies of the Think Outside the Boss manual for paying attendees! You can also download it for free prior to the event here.
This event is being sponsored by the San Francisco Foundation, Cooperation Richmond and Repaired Nations.
The Resilient Communities Legal Cafe is a first-come, first-serve, donation-based legal advice clinic, providing a collaborative space for community building and connecting offered by the Sustainable Economies Law Center.
We provide direct legal support to individuals and groups who are working to create new solutions for resilient local economies.
We're also hosting a teach-in at this legal cafe! To reserve a seat for our "Zombie Philanthropy: Donor Advised Funds and Why Those Who Give Aren't Really Giving," please click here.
Everyone is welcome to attend this cafe. To reserve a 30 minute one-on-one consultation slots with one of our attorneys, please RSVP below.
Attention: Activists and Nonprofit/ Fundraising/ Legal Professionals!
Join us for an overview of donor-advised funds (DAFs) and find out how these obscure charitable vehicles are being used to serve the interests of wealthy donors and make it more difficult for nonprofits to acquire funding. What is a DAF, how do they work and who is creating them? Chuck Brown, former development officer at Silicon Valley Community Foundation, will share his view from inside "big philanthropy" and facilitate a discussion with the group.
Chuck is the founder of Orion Advising, a consultancy that supports social entrepreneurs and investors seeking a just transition to the new economy. He is also a former development officer at Silicon Valley Community Foundation, the largest community foundation in the world. He now uses his experience there to call out the injustices of "big philanthropy" seek reform. You can visit his website at www.orionadvising.com and contact him at email@example.com.
This teach-in is a part of the Law Center's Resilient Communities Legal Cafe and will be happening simultaneously to our one-on-one legal consultations. To RSVP for a legal consultation on May 29th, please click here. Sustainable Economies Law Center provides direct legal support to individuals and groups who are working to create new solutions for resilient local economies. The Resilient Communities Legal Cafe is a first-come, first-serve, donation-based legal advice clinic, providing a collaborative space for community building and connecting.
Chicago is experiencing a wave of cooperative energy—much of it led by people of color working to address economic inequality in the city. A bill to create a statewide worker cooperative entity, HB3663, was introduced in the Illinois house of representatives this year. Multiple newly formed cooperative organizations are gaining traction and hosting events, including the Co-op Ed Center, Chicagoland Cooperative Ecosystem Coalition, and the Illinois Worker Cooperative Alliance.
In light of this momentum, the Cooperative Professionals Guild invites you to the 5th Annual CPG Conference: "New Horizons and Best Practices For Cooperative Professionals" on Thursday, May 30–Saturday, June 1, 2019. Featured presenters include lawyers and accountants from across the country who specialize in cooperative practice. Join your cooperative colleagues and friends—people who do what you do—for this rare opportunity to meet, talk shop, and compare notes!
Co-presented by John Marshall's Community Enterprise & Solidarity Economy Law Clinic.
This conference is co-sponsored by the Sustainable Economies Law Center, a State Bar of California approved MCLE provider. The Law Center certifies that this activity has been approved for 1.25 or 1.5 hours of California MCLE credit per accredited workshop, as specified in the agenda below. Attorneys licensed in other states may be able to apply for MCLE credit in their states.
- 9:15-10:30am Welcome, Introduction, Group Activity Renee Hatcher, John Marshall Law School; Thomas Beckett, Carolina Common Enterprise
- 10:45am-12:15pm The New Landscape for Worker Cooperative Entity Choice (1.5 MCLE credits): This session explores innovative approaches to structuring worker-owned businesses, including a refined version of the worker cooperative LLC, using a limited cooperative association as a holding company, maintaining S-corporation status while converting to worker-ownership, and the new LCA / worker co-op corporation hybrid legislation being passed in Illinois.
- 12:15-1:15pm Lunch
- 1:30-2:45pm Tax Update (1.25 MCLE credits): This session will focus on recent developments in tax laws and regulations affecting cooperatives, and will also address selected topics in cooperative taxation, such as tax issues related to choice of entity and tax treatment of non-Subchapter T cooperatives. Roland Hall, Autry, Hall, & Cook; Bruce Mayer, Wegner CPAs.
- 3:00-4:30pm TBD
- 9:15-10:30am Issuing Memberships Across Multiple States (1.25 MCLE credits): How does Recreation Equipment International REI offer memberships to individuals across the country? Does it register with the SEC? This session is intended to answer the question of how a cooperative can comply with federal and state securities laws in order to conduct multi-state securities offerings to members living across state lines. David Swanson, Dorsey Whitney; Ron McFall, Stoel Rives; Sushil Jacob, Tuttle Law Group.
- 10:45am-12:15pm Planning for the Future of the Cooperative Professionals Guild
- 12:15-1:15pm Lunch
- 1:30-2:45pm Creating Co-op Housing for People with Development Disabilities: a Case Study CLE (1.25 MCLE credits): How can a non-limited equity housing co-op for people with development disabilities charge below market rental rates in California with minimal governmental assistance? With lots of creativity! This case study explores the innovative legal and financial structure of a cooperative housing project in Half Moon Bay, combining the resources and wherewithal of local activists, for-profit businesses, and nonprofit organizations to undertake an ambitious endeavor. This venture also involves new vocational opportunities, a community center, and chickens! Brian Dahlk, Wegner CPAs and Therese Tuttle, Tuttle Law Group
- 3:00-4:30pm Real Estate Investment Cooperatives: Models and Legal Challenges (1.5 MCLE credits): This workshop will examine the REIC, an emerging cooperative form of land and housing stewardship. We will delve into at least two case studies, including the East Bay Permanent Real Estate Cooperative (EB PREC) and the New York City Real Estate Investment Cooperative (NYC-REIC). After learning about the history and strategy of these organizations, we will dig into the specifics— the legal entities, governance structures, and financing approaches— as well as address challenges such as securities law compliance, laws regulating cooperative corporations and housing cooperatives, and considerations when using a nonprofit-cooperative hybrid model. Sara Stephens, Sustainable Economies Law Center; Gregory Jackson, East Bay Permanent Real Estate Cooperative; Sam Gray, New York City Real Estate Investment Cooperative; Kate Redman (tentative), Commonplace Law, Commongrounds real estate cooperative
- Half day of site visits to local cooperatives
Early Bird conference registration is $200 through May 1. General Admission after that date will be $250. Registration includes breakfast, lunch, and snacks each day. Housing is on your own, and we recommend AirBNB because hotels are filling up quickly for other conferences happening on these dates. We will have limited scholarships available; please contact Sara Stephens (firstname.lastname@example.org) if the admission price poses an obstacle for your attendance. If you are financially able, please consider including a donation with your registration fee, to help us provide scholarships and keep this conference affordable.
The Sustainable Economies Law Center provides direct legal support to individuals and groups who are working to create new solutions for resilient local economies. The Resilient Communities Legal Cafe is a donation-based legal advice clinic, providing a collaborative space for community building and connecting.
This is our very first REMOTE legal cafe. Please RSVP to this event only if you have the patience to deal with probable technical difficulties. We're testing out this new format to see if we are able to provide legal advice remotely.
Note: Keep an eye out for an automated response e-mail when you RSVP. The e-mail will have instructions on how to attend our Legal Cafe remotely and an intake form that we need you to fill out.
Got any questions? E-mail email@example.com!
Learn about California's Law Office Study Program and meet three of our staff members who have been or are going through the process of becoming a lawyer without going to law school!
Yassi and Ricardo will present on their experience as apprentices and will teach you how to skip law school and go straight into changing the world!
About the Speakers:
Yassi Eskandari is the Policy Director of the Sustainable Economies Law Center. In 2017, Yassi passed the California bar exam without going to law school. She is honored to join a movement of lawyers who are making our economy work for the planet and the 99 percent.
Ricardo Samir Nuñez is the Director of Economic Democracy at the Law Center. He's also becoming a lawyer without going to law school through the California Law Office Study Program.
For more information about the Legal Cafe, including the areas of law we specialize in, our upcoming teach-ins, and more, please visit www.theselc.org/cafe.
Legal apprentices unite!
Note: We don't want to turn anyone away for lack of funds. Please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org if you cannot afford the registration fee.
Come celebrate the building of community resilience with Sustainable Economies Law Center staff and cultivate connections at our upcoming happy hour!
We're excited to host our next happy hour at Reem's, which "offers the warmth of Arab hospitality through the discovery of flavors, aromas, and techniques of the modern Arab street corner bakery." They create the experience of home through fresh baked bread, using traditional Arab flavors and local ingredients, all prepared with California love.
The Sustainable Economies Law Center provides direct legal support to individuals and groups who are working to create new solutions for resilient local economies. The Resilient Communities Legal Cafe is a first-come, first-serve, donation-based legal advice clinic, providing a collaborative space for community building and connecting.
This pop-up legal cafe is hosted by Monument Impact, a nonprofit whose mission is to ensure that immigrants, refugees and low-income residents in Concord and surrounding communities have the voice, tools and relationships necessary to have an equitable share of the social and economic wealth in our region.Everyone is welcome to attend this cafe. Please RSVP below.
As nonprofits and movement workers committed to social transformation, how can we embody the change we want to see and create more effective, accountable, and equitable organizations as we do it?
This training will explore how to infuse the governance, management, and operational practices of our organizations with our values of social, racial, gender, and ecological justice through the practice of deep democracy. Grounded in experience, research, discussion, and practice, the workshop will support participants to reimage and redesign teams, departments, or even their whole organization.
We will focus on ways to shift formal and informal power structures within organizations, with a particular focus on new approaches to organizational design for distributed leadership. This workshop will invite you to speak openly about the impact of practices we have inherited from oppressive systems and often reproduced in our own workplaces. Then we’ll discuss practical steps that organizations can take now to align your practices and policies with your commitment to justice and equity.
Participants will leave the workshop with:
- A general understanding of the operations and management of deeply democratic organizations and a vision for how they might embed more democracy in their organization moving forward;
- Specific tools and practices to spread power throughout their organization and give impacted people more voice to shape strategic and programmatic decisions.
- Resources to engage their board of directors, co-workers, and other key stakeholders in conversation about new organizational structures and practices; and;
- An understanding of legal issues arising from worker-self direction.
This experience is ideal for individuals working in or with social justice organizations of all sizes and at all stages of organizational development. All you need is a desire to either develop or refine self-governance practices in your team, program, group or organization. Participants should be people in a position to enact change within their organization. This means operations coordinators, human resource directors, executive directors, leaders of teams, or people with the capacity and energy to start making changes. We strongly recommend that organizations send 2-4 people to the training so you can partner in both sharing the learnings and taking actions when you return to your organization. Get 20% off if you register 2-4 staff/board by using this coupon code: SELC20
About the Presenter
Sustainable Economic Law Center cultivates a new legal landscape that supports community resilience and grassroots economic empowerment. We provide essential legal tools - education, research, advice, and advocacy - so communities everywhere can develop their own sustainable sources of food, housing, energy, jobs, and other vital aspects of a thriving community.
Part of Sustainable Economies Law Center's approach to catalyzing a more just and resilient society is to be the change we want to see. We have adopted policies that distribute "ownership" throughout the organization, allow for more dignified livelihoods, expand access to our legal services, and empower a new generation of grassroots legal experts.
We are organizing a cultural exchange trip that is primarily focused on creating pathways for African Americans to re-invest in Africa regeneratively, without perpetuating the problems capitalism perpetuates. Our Cultural Exchange invites Africans from across the continent and U.S. cooperative members and supporters to begin dialogue for a co-created equitable development policy for Ghanaian economic development and beyond.
Dialogue is the key to our trip; it is only through dialogue that two distanced peoples with shared roots can begin to find synergies between themselves, and only through dialogue can new arrivals to Africa know what Africans want for Africa and how to help steward their visions. Co-created equitable development policy can only be built upon discussion, exchange of ideas, and information.
The growing American cohort is a group of cooperative-minded people seeking to learn how Ghanaians in particular, and Africans in general, structure their collective efforts, to offer our experience and expertise to local projects, and to engage critical conversation regarding international cooperative exchange of resources. Attendees will form relationships that bloom into cultural content, import/export agreements, thought partnership, and real estate development.