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Co-Ownership Legal Cafe Night w/SELC (Oakland/E'vill­e)

Are you thinking of buying property with friends, business or romantic partners, or members of your extended family? Co-owning property can be complicated, both legally and financially, and the inter-personal dynamics can be particularly challenging.

The Sustainable Economies Law Center (SELC) and we and you had so much fun and interest at the (Co)Housing Legal Cafe event in May, that they're doing another.

From 4:30 to 6:00, SELC will offer participants the opportunity to consult with volunteer attorneys.

From 6:00 to 7:30, attorney Frederick Hertz will be present and available for conversations about community-building and co-ownership arrangements. He has worked with co-owners for more than 25 years, creating agreements and resolving co-ownership conflicts as a mediator and lawyer. Come talk with Fred about the (structural) options available to co-owners, and learn about the most effective methods for resolving differences of opinion among co-owners.

Frederick Hertz is an attorney and mediator with offices in Oakland and San Francisco. He previously handled litigation involving the dissolution of real property co-tenancies, including tenants-in-common, family co-ownerships, and domestic partnership dissolutions, and the related aspects of property and financial disputes between unmarried couples, both same-sex and opposite-sex, as well as purchase & sale and ownership of real property matters. Mr. Hertz’ legal practice is now limited to drafting real property co-ownership agreements, cohabitation agreements, and premarital agreements for couples, both gay and straight.

This is part of SELC's new "Resilient Communities Legal Cafe" which is happening weekly in Berkeley or Oakland through August.

"One idea we've contemplated is creating themed cafes some nights and trying to attract a group of clients who share common interests, and having a group discussion and Legal Q&A. We could potentially choose an evening where I spend at least 90 minutes of the cafe in a circle with cohousing/shared housing clients answering their legal questions and facilitating a discussion."

For more information on the purpose and format of the Legal Cafes keep scrolling below, or go to for more on all the good work Janelle and her team of visionary legal beagles are up to.

RCLC logoThe Resilient Communities Legal Cafe provides direct legal support to individuals and groups who are working to create new solutions for resilient local economies in Oakland, Berkeley, and beyond! The 6-month pilot program will have run every week at different locations in the East Bay between February and August 2013.

The Cafe series is a joint effort of SELC and the Green-Collar Communities Clinic (a project of the East Bay Community Law Center). Come, ask us your questions, and join others from your neighborhood who are taking their livelihoods, communities, and economies back!


  • 2nd Wednesday of Each Month @ Location and Time TBA
  • 3rd Wednesday of Each Month (4:30-7:30 p.m.) @ the Crossroads Cafe 942 Stanford Ave., Oakland 94608 
  • 4th Tuesday of Each Month (6:00-8:30 p.m.) @ the HUB in the David Brower Center – 2150 Allston Way, Suite 400, Berkeley 94704

Unsure about what week it is? Check out SELC’s Events page!

Why The Resilient Communities Legal Cafe?

SELC believes that because our current economic systems prioritize corporate profits over community resilience, they destroy opportunities for satisfying and sustainable work, damage the environment that sustains us, and unravel our sense of connection to one another. That’s why SELC is committed to providing reliable, affordable, and accessible legal information and advice to the people who are creating alternative economic systems. Through this work, we can help form the enterprises and entrepreneurs that will ring in the new economy.

About the Program

Those who want to create alternative economic structures have difficulty finding affordable and competent legal assistance because there are so few attorneys specialized in the legal needs of the sharing economy. Communities with high rates of unemployment and poverty will find the hurdles to launching new enterprises especially insurmountable. The Resilient Communities Legal Cafe will give direct legal assistance to the residents of East Oakland, and at the same time create the reproducible model and resources to support similar programs around the country.

The Resilient Communities Legal Cafe will provide events, workshops, legal advice clinics, and legal services supporting the creation of, for example:

  • worker cooperatives
  • food cooperatives
  • urban farms
  • land trusts
  • housing cooperatives
  • local investment initiatives
  • community-supported enterprises
  • social enterprises
  • micro-enterprises
  • cottage industries
  • time banks
  • local currencies

Some of the Services

Weekly walk-in clinics. SELC is holding a weekly legal advice clinic at a soon to be announced cafe or community center.

One-time consultations. Resilient Communities Legal Cafe participants have the opportunity to receive one-time advice sessions with an attorney either at a low fee or without charge for low-income individuals.

Workshops. Between February and August, SELC will hold at least three community legal workshops on topics like “Legal Tools for the Sharing Economy,” “Legal Workshops for Community Food Enterprise,” and “How to Start a Worker-Owned Enterprise.” Stay tuned for event times and locations.

Community discussions. At least three guest lectures and discussions will help expand understanding of the sharing economy and cooperative enterprise.

Written resources. We’ve developed a series of legal handbooks and information sheets for clients to use and share with others.


Join or login to comment.

  • A former member
    A former member

    Such fantastic information and great lecture/ discussion period! I definitely had quite. Few take always from last night that I'm excited to discuss with my co-housing group!

    1 · August 22, 2013

    • Martha-Lou W.

      I am interested in your co-housing group.

      August 23, 2013

  • Christian

    Very informative!

    1 · August 22, 2013

  • Anne B.

    Really informative and a nice diverse group of people. The speaker Fred Herz was excellent and Raines was extremely helpful and knowledgable about various cohousing communities in and around the Bay Area.

    2 · August 21, 2013

  • Janelle O.

    Hi Everyone! Looking forward to having you at the Legal Cafe on Co-Ownership! Just wanted to make sure everyone catches the fact that the conversation with Fred Hertz starts at 6:00pm. From 4:30 to 6:00, we offer opportunities to chat with one-on-one with an attorney, though we may be short an attorney that evening, so there could be a bit of wait for that. Greasebox will be serving dinner, so come with an appetite if you'd like!

    1 · August 14, 2013

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