Organizational structure and culture are never static. As a governing body, the Law Center's “General Circle” — which includes all full-time staff members — has moved through massive changes over the years. We’ve held space collectively for invigorating and challenging discussions that tested and grew our relationships. We spent countless hours making decisions within well-defined structures we designed. New people have added energy and contributed ideas to our shared spaces, forever shifting our organizational culture; while long-time staffers have left, taking with them trusted leadership and wisdom that had guided us through the seasons of organizational change.
With all this change, we realized our “way of doing things” wasn’t serving us quite so well anymore. Some people felt governance burn out. Some folks felt they didn’t have the capacity to be fully present for governance and programmatic work. While some felt that we had grown so big, our decision-making was slow and inefficient.
After the careful synthesis of these feelings by a few diligent and caring staff members, we kicked off the new year eager to experiment and open to stretching our idea of collective stewardship, piloting a new way to make collective decisions. A smaller governing body made up of a rotation of General Circle staff members — the Stewardship Committee – will be empowered to make the majority of our major decisions moving forward, with the door always remaining open for any GC members who want to vote on a decision. With a spirit of renewal, we all agreed to hold this new way of doing things lightly.
What better way to start off the new year than by assessing our collective governance practices and shifting what isn’t working anymore? But it can be daunting to change as an organization, or be the lone individual bringing new ideas. If you or your colleagues need some inspiration on how you might run your organizations differently, check out our page of worker self-directed non-profit resources here.
Bookworms, this one's for you 📚
We love to read here at the Law Center! So we’re back with another end of year round up of all our favorite books we read in 2021. Our tastes range from memoir to speculative fiction to historical – but all books that push us to stretch our sense of self. Open yourself up to new worlds and new ideas and click on this rich reading list.
Another SB 1079 success story!
Quick refresher: SB 1079 came into law in 2020 to reduce land grabs resulting from foreclosure auctions. Community member Mari Florence attended our first legal cafe of 2022, looking for advice on how to purchase the home she currently rented, which had recently been put up for auction in a trustee sale. She was advised to attend the auction and inform the auctioneer that the house had not been listed as tenant occupied.
This new information caused two bidders to drop out. “The other two [bidders in attendance] bid pretty aggressively, but bidding stopped at $235,000. The opening bid was $153,000. I will be able to put together that amount and have already sent off the letter of intent and affidavit.
I could not have done this without your organization. I spoke with so many people before, but few had the complete picture. Because I had this information, I was able to confidently attend the sale and now I'll be able to buy the house.”
We’re so excited for Mari and thrilled that SB 1079 has helped another person stay in their home! Not everyone can pull together hundreds of thousands of dollars; luckily, California has set aside half a billion dollars to help fund such acquisitions. If you want to learn more about SB 1079, check out our toolkit here!
Calling all Lawyers!
Want to get hands-on experience with clients working on urban agricultural projects, cooperative housing, nonprofits, social enterprises, and more? Looking for a community of like minded legal professionals cultivating the legal roots of just and resilient economies? Then why don't you volunteer at our Remote Legal Cafes? We’ll pair you with one of our experienced volunteers until you get the hang of it. Volunteer attorneys, law students, and community members make our cafes possible! Sign up here!
🏆 VIP Volunteers 🏆
We want to thank the following volunteers for helping out at our Legal Cafes at least twice last year:
Ariana Shaffer: 20 times!
Harry Stanwyck : 19 times!
Ellen Leonard: 14 times!
Monte Crawford: 11 times!
Hope Mohr: 11 times!
Eliana Horn: 11 times!
Jill Jacobs: 9 times!
Pacyinz Lyfoung: 7 times!
Jackie Tran: 7 times!
Stephanie Vertongen: 7 times!
Rachel Boyce: 6 times!
Brett Heeger: 6 times!
Alex Glancy: 5 times!
Elisa Shieh: 3 times!
Without your help, we wouldn’t have been able to serve the 500 clients that we served from January through December of last year.