We form teams to provide ongoing legal support to organizations needing in-depth support. Teams tend to include staff, interns, and apprentices who meet regularly with clients, build relationships, and collaborate to creatively meet legal needs. Our legal support programs have taught us so much about the legal needs of communities, and in turn, this has informed our development of public policies, new program areas, and educational resources.
land return clients
We work for widespread return of land to Indigenous stewardship, offering all people a liberatory vision for more nurturing and just ways of living with land and each other.
We have launch a specialized legal advice clinic to support land-based organizations whose work is rooted in spirituality and/or non-dominant worldview systems. Our current work also includes:
⭐ Legal support for Sogorea Te’ Land Trust, an Indigenous women-led land trust facilitating return of Indigenous land to Indigenous people in the Bay Area.
⭐ Supporting return of land to the Winnemem Wintu Tribe, including the development of a new land trust called Sawalmem, developing a tribal ecovillage at Tuiimyali, and land acquisitions for salmon and ecosystem restoration.
⭐ Legal support for Shelterwood Collective, a BIPOC and LGBTQ-led forest community and educational center healing our ecosystems through active stewardship.
⭐ Legal support for Movement Generation for its project to build a Justice & Ecology Center in the East Bay Hills, while rematriating land to Sogorea Te’ Land Trust.
⭐ Providing trainings and legal support to Nuns & Nones Land Justice Project, which is supporting several Catholic convents to return land to Black and Indigenous people.
⭐ Partnering with Center for Ethical Land Transition to support various clients and share learnings.
housing justice clients
We organize communities, build coalitions, change laws, and provide legal support to organizations doing inspiring work to secure housing for all. Our work currently includes:
⭐ Partnering with Homefulness to navigate and shine light on laws in Oakland that repress development of multi-unit permanent cohousing, education, arts, and social change projects for unhoused people on two parcels in East Oakland.
⭐ Incubation and legal support for East Bay Permanent Real Estate Cooperative (EB PREC), a multi-stakeholder BIPOC-centered cooperative organizing communities to vision, finance, acquire and permanently steward housing, land, and commercial space. Our work has included co-creating EB PREC’s cartoon Bylaws, legal support for a groundbreaking national securities offering under Reg A+, supporting a Black cooperative and cultural corridor, and publishing a guide to starting a permanent real estate cooperative.
⭐ Legal support for Asian-Pacific Self-Development and Residential Association (APSARA), a grassroots membership organization and affordable housing community transitioning to cooperative ownership by hundreds of Cambodian refugees and their families in Stockton.
⭐ Collaborating with several California community land trusts to strategize for long-term stability and growth of land trusts, supportive public policies, and participatory governance.
Short-term legal support for Richmond LAND a women of color-led organization that acquires and co-stewards land and housing to build staying power in Richmond, CA.
food and energy sovereignty clients
Food and energy have long been focal points for the Law Center’s work. We support the land, funding, and workplace democracy needs of these sectors, while continuing to work with sector-specific clients and collaborators described here:
⭐ The Law Center collaborates closely with People Power Solar Cooperative, which enables community members to self-organize, build community, learn, pool resources, and apply their ingenuity to diverse projects that give communities access to electrical, political, social, and economic power in the face of our climate emergency.
⭐ Legal support for Fresh Future Farm, an urban farm and cooperative grocery serving disinvested Black communities in South Carolina. We also made a $50,000 grant to this farm after we received a large unexpected gift.
⭐ Partnering with Agroecology Commons to let the wisdom of agroecology shape our work, while developing legal workshops to integrate with their farmer trainings.
⭐ Serving as an administrative and fiscal sponsor for Minnow, a project to advance land justice for BIPOC farmers.
⭐ Our team member, Dorian Payán, is serving on the California Agricultural Land Equity Task Force to develop policy recommendations to equitably increase access to agricultural land for food production and tribal uses.
⭐ Supporting the Sonoma County Land Justice Project, Latinx farmworkers developing their own cooperative land project. Their vision of food production is founded on a non-extractive relationship to the land. Cooperatives are not only just, but are also culturally affirming.
worker cooperative clients
We build ecosystems of support for worker cooperative development and provide direct legal services to cooperatives, which includes:
⭐ Partnering with Earth Equity to develop cooperatives with incarcerated people across California’s prison system, with a focus on farm development, healthy food commissaries, and prescribing food as medicine.
⭐ Providing legal consultations to businesses transitioning to worker cooperatives.
We also prioritize immigrant cooperatives by partnering with Prospera, Immigrants Rising, Colmenar Cooperative Consulting, and others to support leaders who are building economic resilience and job stability for their communities. Each year, we provide legal advice and training to dozens of immigrant cooperators. Our work includes:
⭐ Advising community partners in the Central Coast who are forming an innovative support cooperative, which will provide dozens of immigrant-owned cooperatives with accounting, marketing, and other technical assistance. We plan for this design to be replicable in other areas as well. We are creating bilingual cartoon legal documents for this project.
⭐ Providing legal advice to Spanish-speaking participants in Prospera’s Crece Comunidad Program through Cafecitos Legales held twice per year.
⭐ Providing legal consultations to start-up and existing immigrant owned coops referred by partner organizations.