Sharing law provides the necessary tools to establish permanent community assets like local worker cooperatives, local investing, housing, local currencies, or community gardens.
A sharing lawyer’s role is to create contracts, entities, and trusts. They help communities navigate the laws and regulations of starting an enterprise. Through a legal document, the sharing lawyer establishes the relationships that people are building with each other.
The biggest struggle in these community enterprises is fiscal sponsorship. Money is at the center of these community goals. A group of people come together, invest their money in a common goal, and trust that their money will get to where it needs to go. A sharing lawyer will create solutions to ensure this money is properly used. For example, a group of people want to start a cooperative but don’t know the legal process. How can a lawyer help them?
First, the sharing lawyer will help them choose an established entity. There are three categories they can choose from. The first is a public benefit designed for outward benefits. The second is for shareholder benefit, which focuses on profits, and lastly, there are mutual benefits intended for a group of people that benefit themselves.
Second, the lawyer will help visualize how involved parties work in the cooperative. The groups will need to define what an owner is and what type of owners the coop will have. There are multiple kinds of owners, and there can be multiple owners at once. Some owners will be people who organize the cooperative, while other owners can be members of the community that want to receive benefits from the cooperative. The owners could have equal status as each other, but sometimes there will be owners who hold more power within the cooperative. A sharing lawyer will ensure that regardless of the division of ownership, there is democratic control in the coops.
Additionally, once there’s an established enterprise, the lawyer will set limits to prevent imbalances in values that arise from excessive compensation to executives, excessive return on capital, or excessive profit from the sale or use of assets.
Whether it’s a community garden, co-op housing, or a community compost project, the most integral part is the collaboration between the lawyer, the client, and the community. They each provide an important role that facilitates their fundamental approach to mutual security.