Past Webinars 2021

Co-op Conversions: Legal steps to convert a founder-owned business to worker ownership (MCLE)

Thursday, September 16th, 2021 – 10am PST/1pm EST

Sam Gray will share his experience with converting founder-owned businesses to worker ownership. He will discuss the steps involved and how certain legal strategy decisions were made. This webinar will:

  • Help lawyers identify the steps necessary for completing a conversion of an existing business into a worker cooperative
  • identify key choices for their client
  • help lawyers be prepared to offer guidance to clients on those choices

USDA Rural Development Programs for Cooperatives (MCLE)

August 19th, 2021 – 10am PST/1pm EST

Debbie Rausch, USDA Rural Business and Grant Analyst, will describe grant, loan, and guaranteed loan options for cooperatives at USDA Rural Development. In this webinar, participants will:

  • Become aware of grant, loan, and guaranteed loan options for cooperatives at USDA Rural Development
  • Understand the legal requirements to obtain a Rural Development grant, loans, or guaranteed loan and to keep the grant, loan, or guaranteed loan in good standing with the agency.

Challenges and Opportunities for Cooperatives in Navajo Country (MCLE)

July 22nd, 2021 – 10am PST/1pm EST

Cooperative development in Indian Country has deep cultural roots but is profoundly affected by the complex relationship between Native American traditional practice, complex and scattered legal structures that have been implemented over time, and jurisdictional issues that arise between and among tribal Nations, States and the Federal government. Looking at cooperative development through a land-use management lens, Josey Foo, executive director of Indian Country Grassroots Support, will provide a legal and historical background and describe how project planning in Indian Country requires an understanding of the legal framework, tribal government and culture, and community needs. Josey will discuss a case study involving farmers who created a cooperative to sell their produce but ultimately found that reincorporation as a nonprofit collective better met their business and funding needs. Cooperatives are part of the Native American community development tool kit and can leverage the assets and vision within the tribal community; structuring cooperatives in Indian country may require creativity to meet Tribal business needs and ultimately help work toward the vision that Tribes have for their communities. The workshop will take the form of a discussion with attorney Therese Tuttle with The Tuttle Group who has deep knowledge of cooperative practice including experience with creating cooperatives for Native Americans, and with Meegan Moriarty with USDA Rural Development Cooperative Programs, who is familiar with the Navajo cooperative statute and who has knowledge of Federal grant opportunities for Native Americans.

International Cooperative Law and Cooperative Enabling Environments (MCLE)

June 8th – 10am PST/1pm EST

The U.N. International Labour Organization Promotion of Cooperatives Recommendation (no.193 of 2002) provides that governments should create a supportive policy and legal framework for cooperatives that, among other measures, includes provisions to assist cooperatives in contributing to sustainable human development and eliminating all forms of discrimination. Meegan Moriarty will lead a conversation with Professor Hagen Henrÿ, a contributor to ILO Recommendation 193, who will argue that international cooperative law is binding on national legislators but requires a translation of recognized cooperative principles into local legal rules. He will discuss the obstacles to this translation including the peculiarity of cooperative principles, the radically changing notion of enterprise (hence that of cooperative enterprise), and the challenges in identifying the real lawmakers in a globalized world.

Professionalism in a Cooperative Law Practice: Developing and Growing a Practice Centered on Cooperative Law (MCLE)

May 11th – 10am PST/1pm EST

Looking to develop or up-level a cooperative or sustainable economies law practice and go from solo to organizational? Want to be surrounded and supported by a team of values aligned and collaborative professionals? Jason Weiner and Linda Phillips of will discuss how to develop and scale a practice centered on cooperative and sustainable economies law that is regenerative, self-sustaining, and furthers the core values of our sector. Learn how to prioritize anti-oppression work in and through a sustainable economies law practice, while earning sustainable income.

Clark Arrington: lessons from a lifetime of community-centered legal service

April 13th, 2021 – 10am PST/1pm EST

Clark Arrington, a co-op and securities lawyer with decades of experience, will share lessons learned and observations from his current role as general counsel of The Working World/Seed Commons. We will discuss: Funding cooperatives, Non-extractive finance, Cooperative economics in general, Movement lawyering, and Impact investing.

Stakeholders and Shareholders: Innovations in resilient agricultural cooperatives (MCLE)

March 16th – 10am PST/1pm EST

Therese Tuttle and Kim Arnone will discuss the related concepts of inclusion and investment by comparing two recently formed agricultural cooperatives: F.E.E.D. Cooperative, Inc., and Bay Area Ranchers Cooperative.  F.E.E.D. Cooperative is organized as a multi-stakeholder cooperative, and Bay Area Ranchers Cooperative is organized with significant community financial investment through two different but simultaneous securities offerings. The presentation will consider technical mechanisms for achieving social benefits

Towards a Uniform Cooperative Law for US States (MCLE)

February 16th – 10am PST/1pm EST

With Thomas Beckett, Thomas Geu and Megan Moriarty

While uniform state business corporation statutes provide level expectations for enterprises across the United States, the field of cooperative laws is a quirky and often threadbare patchwork quilt. While statutes in a handful of jurisdictions have stayed current with the needs of modern cooperative activity, other state statutes remain grounded in agricultural concepts of the nineteenth century. Operating from the assumption that a new solidarity economy will require a broader and more uniform legal framework for cooperatives, this webinar examines the basis for a uniform cooperative corporation law . How would that be accomplished? What would it contain?

  • Thomas Beckett (Moderator) is a lawyer with significant experience working with agriculture enterprises in the region, including cooperatives, quasi-cooperatives, and nonprofits, as well as with working farmers. Beckett has presented on the Business Law for Worker Cooperatives at the US Federation of Worker Cooperatives conference and at the Eastern Conference for Workplace Democracy. He has taught Business Law at Warren Wilson College and is certified to present the FastTrac TechVenture program, the Kauffman Foundation’s entrepreneurial training curriculum. 
  • Thomas Geu (Panelist) is a Professor of Law and former Dean of the University of South Dakota School of Law, and Reporter of the Uniform Limited Cooperative Association Act to the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws.
  • Meegan Moriarty (Panelist) is the Cooperative Public Policy Advisor for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s Rural Business-Cooperative Service. She leads a nationwide project researching, comparing and analyzing state cooperative statutes and tracks federal legal developments affecting cooperatives.