It's been almost one full year since I left my day job to start my own law practice, and I'm proud to say that I still think I'm on the right path! My firm is a transactional practice dedicated to supporting social enterprise, cooperative culture, and the sharing economy. Focusing on this niche is exciting because there is so much to learn and I am able to be creative while helping do-gooders that inspire me. I feel super grateful for the clients who have invited me into their lives and businesses, and I am eager to continue strengthening the collaborative ties in this growing movement. Here is a smattering of news items I thought you might find interesting.
I am committed to being accessible to my community. I'm pleased to announce my new Legal Coaching Subscription Service! I explored this idea for several months as I sat with the truth that many of the individuals and organizations I admire and want to work with operate on very tight margins and hesitate to reach out to an attorney. I find it unfortunate that so many good people feel that legal advice is too expensive, and I want to diffuse that situation for my clients. To expand my menu of flexible billing options, I have created the Legal Coaching Subscription Service! By welcoming frequent calls, brainstorming chats, and document review/interpretation in exchange for a $150/month subscription, I hope to reduce barriers to seeking legal advice and build deeper connections with my clients. READ MORE.
Benefit Corporations, B-Corps, and Worker Cooperatives are awesome!Last week, Boise State University and the Small Business Development Center collaborated to bring us Boise Startup Week. I was absolutely honored to present on Social Enterprise and the Law. We discussed the difference between a Benefit Corporation and a B Corp (one's a legal business form under state law, one is a third party certification), why they were needed in the first place (to secure the place of social enterprise in the corporate model and protect against shareholder primacy), and other creative and beneficial models (democratic worker cooperatives, LLCs with social missions, and employee stock ownership plans). I have been stoked on this topic since college and am excited that this field continues to grow. Check out the presentation and feel free to share!
Sustainable Agriculture continues to call me in. A robust regional food economy and seed shed is developing! I have always admired the hard-working farmers committed to sustainable and ethical agriculture, and I feel much more appreciative now that I have tried what "farm life" is like. For the last 8 months, I've been a community supported agriculture/seed saving apprentice at Earthly Delights Farm, whose founder is also the founder of the Snake River Seed Cooperative. That is CHALLENGING WORK! But it is so rewarding! I wanted the experience so I could be a bad ass gardener for the rest of my life, but also to get more "dirt cred" with the community of farmers I hope to work for! Ha! In between planting hot crops and traveling around Idaho, I presented Hot Topics in Sustainable Agriculture to my Legal Fellows at the Sustainable Economies Law Center. The presentation is pretty cool if you want to check it out - there are a lot of issues to work on in this sector. It was also a follow up to the article I wrote on the Food Safety Modernization Act and Direct-to-Consumer business models for Idaho's lawyer magazine, The Advocate.
I've been asked, "who is your dream client?" In response, I offer this list prepared by my friend at the Sustainable Economies Law Center:
Yeah! All those things moooooooove me. Let's do it!
Thank you for your support and friendship!
Happy summer! This truly is my favorite time of year. While living in Boise has helped me appreciate all four seasons for their uniqueness, my soul is nourished for the whole year after a few months of heat, swimming, music festivals, and camping! As we approach Independence Day, I am reflecting on the importance of freedom to me, and how much I value being able to do what I want when I want to do it . . . and how frustrated I feel when I am stuck in a pattern that someone else seems to control. This is true in my relationships and career choices, and it also applies to how I shape my personal space at home.
I feel free and creative when I experiment in the yard and garden, and my priority is creating an edible landscape that welcomes a vibrant and diverse ecosystem in tune with the local climate and free of toxic chemicals. I would feel so inhibited if I lived in a community with rules that told me I couldn’t create the scene I wanted. And yet, so many people live in regulated communities with strict covenants, conditions, and restrictions (“CC&Rs”) that limit their efforts to be more sustainable through xeriscaping, urban agriculture, nontoxic maintenance, energy efficiency, and renewable energy.
Several years ago, I partnered with the Idaho Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council to address this issue, and we published a report called, Greening Your CC&Rs: Strategies to Improve the Sustainability of Your Neighborhood (followed by a synopsis in The Advocate). This report outlines problematic language, suggests better rules as alternatives, and describes the various procedures for how to implement change. In the name of freedom and independence, I have decided that it is time to dust off this report and get back to work on helping people eliminate outdated HOA rules. Because to me, there are few things more annoying than a rule I don’t want to follow!
Instead of rules that mandate poisons to kill weeds, how about rules that encourage species diversity and healthy soil? Instead of rules that characterize clotheslines and solar panels as unsightly, how about policies that value energy conservation and renewables? Most CC&Rs have an assortment of provisions that inhibit sustainable actions, and people tend to be unaware of them until they want to implement prohibited techniques. But we can be proactive and change the rules instead!
I’d love the chance to meet with homeowners associations and subdivision residents to come up with solutions that will build community and improve the ecological value of our neighborhoods! Please contact me if you’re interested, and share this message with others!
One of my favorite things to do is think, and I love exchanging knowledge with people trying to improve our community. This space is for me to share some of my musings in the hopes of adding more layers to our collective conversation. Please comment and share freely!