About Co-opLaw

Sustainable Economies Law Center wants to live in a society where enterprises and assets are owned and controlled by the communities that depend on them for livelihoods, sustenance, and ecological well-being.

Welcome to Co-opLaw.org, an online legal resource library supporting democratic, worker-owned businesses from the Sustainable Economies Law Center and our friends and comrades across the country. The Law Center’s mission is to cultivate a new legal landscape that supports community resilience and grassroots economic empowerment helping bridge the gap in legal expertise needed to transition from destructive economic systems to innovative and cooperative alternatives. To learn more about the Law Center, please visit our website at theselc.org.

Purpose of Co-opLaw.org

Co-opLaw.org is our attempt to create a comprehensive worker-owner legal resource library with plain-language legal resources, educational tools, and legal documents, providing guidance to worker owners in every US state. We believe that having these resources freely available will dramatically reduce the cost of legal services for cooperative entrepreneurs, community economic development specialists, and technical assistance providers supporting the growth of worker cooperatives across the country.

Our resources are primarily meant for cooperative entrepreneurs, existing business owners looking to convert their business to a worker cooperative, cooperative developers, and legal professionals (but we ain’t gunna lie. There’s a lot of stuff on here for coop activists, policy makers, accountants, the coop-curious out there, and supporters of transitioning to a solidarity economy).

Acknowledgements

There are so many individuals and organizations that we would like to thank for making Co-opLaw.org possible. Initially this project started out as a collaborative legal resource library between the Sustainable Economies Law Center and the Green-Collar Communities Clinic (“GC3,” now called the Community Economic Justice Clinic) at the East Bay Community Law Center. We sourced our materials from a variety of places, including:

  • our Think Outside the Boss Manual created by the Law Center and GC3 that we use to accompany legal workshops on cooperatives, 
  • the Law Center’s book Practicing Law in the Sharing Economy, by Janelle Orsi, 
  • Renata Stepanov and her material from her Legal Research Pathfinder on Cooperatives,
  • our partners at the East Bay Community Law Center, especially Sushil Jacob and the interns at GC3, who helped us create the initial content for this website, 
  • each organization and individual who has contributed to our State-by-State pages, 
  • and the interns and staff that have come and gone from the Sustainable Economies Law Center. 

We continue to seek partners from across the country interested in providing templates, guides, and plain language legal resources for worker cooperatives and their supporters. If you’d like to contribute to or collaborate on Co-opLaw.org, please email our staff at communications@theselc.org and let them know you want to support Co-opLaw.org.

Have feedback about Co-opLaw.org? We welcome any ideas, questions, or bugs you’d like to share with us! Please share your feedback on our form here. 

More Ways We’re Supporting Economic Democracy

Here are some other helpful resources we’re developing to cultivate a national legal landscape supporting economic democracy:

  • National Legal Fellowship Program: The fellowship provides training, mentorship, and other resources to attorneys beginning new law practices, legal organizations, and other projects serving the legal needs of local sustainable economies.  The goal of the program is to meet the legal needs of the growing sustainable economy movement. Find out more on our website theselc.org/legal-fellowships.
  • Co-op Professionals Guild: Supported by the Law Center during its start-up phase, the Co-op Professionals Guild is a national association of attorneys who specialize in providing legal and technical assistance to worker-owned enterprises. The Co-op Professionals Guild convenes cooperative attorneys and accountants in  a peer support network with ongoing learning opportunities, such as their annual national conference for cooperative attorneys and accountants. To find out more, please visit professionals.coop.
  • Law for Economic Democracy: Law for Economic Democracy (L4ED) is our online social network for legal and tax practitioners working in support of economic democracy, community resilience, and grassroots economic empowerment. It’s a social network that also includes spaces for training, mentorship, and networking. It’s also a great place for those co-op curious legal professionals and accountants that want to dip their toes in the into the broader cooperative law community. For more information on L4ED, please visit  law4economicdemocracy.org.
  • FORTHCOMING (Spring 2021) Online Training Program for Coop Attorneys: Accessed through our social networking site, Law for Economic Democracy, we’ve compiled our trainings from both public and private events to create an Intensive Online Training Program for Cooperative Attorneys. This training program is meant to upskill attorneys serving democratic, employee-owned businesses and deepen their legal expertise via an anytime, on-demand, massive online open course. To access the training program, please visit law4economicdemocracy.org.
  • FORTHCOMING (Winter 2021): A first of its kind in the nation, a California Practice Guide for Attorneys Focused on Worker Cooperatives. This will be a comprehensive Legal Practice Guide for Advising California Cooperatives providing step-by-step procedures for attorneys advising cooperative clients, including tips and tactics, strategic options, and lists of what to consider and how to proceed when advising employee owned enterprises.

Sharing & Reusing Co-opLaw.org Resources

Not only can you share and reuse our resources, we WANT you to share and reuse our resources, even for commercial purposes! Unless otherwise noted, all of our content is licensed under creative commons for easy sharing, reuse, and adaptation (just remember to attribute the Law Center and share your new version under the same creative commons license). For years, the legal profession has actively put barriers up to legal information , using jargon and magic words intended to make non-legal professions scared and unable to navigate the law. That is, unless you could pay someone to interpret what the law means! We want to break these barriers to legal information and cultivate the legal commons. Let’s keep sharing!

Read more below about our license.

Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0

Co-opLaw.org is licensed Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0).

PLEASE NOTE: Specific webpages on Co-opLaw.org might have content and material that is protected under a different license than the CC BY-SA 4.0 license. Any webpage that contains content that is not covered by the CC BY-SA 4.0 license will be clearly indicated at the top of the page. 

Under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license,  you are free to

  • “share” our content, meaning copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format
  • and “adapt” our content, meaning remix, transform, and build upon the material for any purpose, even commercially.

The Law Center cannot revoke these freedoms as long as you adhere to the following license terms. You are given license to share and adapt our content ONLY if you adhere to the following terms:

  • Attribution — You must give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses you or your use.
  • ShareAlike — If you remix, transform, or build upon the material, you must distribute your contributions under the same license as the original.

No additional restrictions — You may not apply legal terms or technological measures that legally restrict others from doing anything the license permits. To find out more about this license, please visit the Creative Commons website describing the Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0) license.

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