Sustainable Economies Law Center
SELC 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.
SELC exists to bridge the gap in legal expertise needed to transition from destructive economic systems to innovative and cooperative alternatives. Our 10 programs work together in identifying key leverage points in our existing economic and legal systems, removing strategic legal barriers, and creating replicable models for community resilience.
Part of SELC's approach in catalyzing a more just and resilient society is to be the change they want to see. SELC has 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. These policies include:
An equal and capped pay rate: Every member of our organization is compensated equally for their work - whether an attorney or not. That salary is based on two objective measures of our local economy - the average Oakland income and a regional living wage indicator calculated by the Economic Policy Institute.
Cooperative governance: They take pride in our ability to get a lot done, and they credit much of our efficiency to the implementation of a highly structured system of distributed decision-making. Each program is run by a semi-autonomous circle of staff and volunteers, nested within larger circles of accountability. Their decision-making processes enable each staff member to propose projects and take significant leadership roles, optimizing individual autonomy and collective responsibility.