Re: Calif attorney recommendation?
From: Carol Agate (
Date: Wed, 21 May 2008 09:35:22 -0700 (PDT)
I am all in favor of Nolo Press, and that's the first place I turned for help. 
However, in California cohousing communities (which are normally condominium 
developments in CA) are mutual benefit corporations. The Nolo Press book on how 
to incorporate non-profits expressly states it is not to be used for mutual 
benefit corporations. I have been unable to find any self-help guides for 
mutual benefits through Amazon or google. The best source has been the state's 
own web site. I also found a place that provides free advice to non-profits. If 
anyone wants more information, write to me directly.


On Wednesday, May 21, 2008, at 09:29AM, "Sharon Villines" <sharon [at]> wrote:
>> Can anyone recommend a reasonably priced attorney to guide us through
>> incorporation and bylaws for our co-housing  community in  
>> California?  We
>> are a spiritually based group with 20-25 families.
> has both wonderful publications to help you understand what  
>these processes require and a lawyer directory.
>Nolo Press, for those who are unaware of them, was the leader in  
>demystifying legal services by publishing books that either allowed   
>you to do it yourself or helped you understand the legal gobbledy-gook.
>In the 1970s, for the very young, people were not allowed to see their  
>medical records AT ALL, nor even fill out a form without a lawyer. And  
>the legal documents were completely indecipherable.
>If you understand what your options are and make a stab at agreeing to  
>what you want, you won' t present  yourself as a ready victim.
>I don't know anything about the Lawyer Directory at Nolo (they are  
>paid listings) but given the reputation that Nolo has for  
>publications, I would assume that no high-priced lawyer would want to  
>be listed there.
>Two stories:
>1. One group paid $15,000 and got an almost 3" thick pile of papers  
>that were simply a computer print out of every provision that had ever  
>been included in any community bylaws or property offerings. The group  
>was supposed to pick and choose and the lawyer would handle it from  
>2. Another group working with a developer received at no cost a thin  
>packet (25 pages?) of suggested provisions and helped the group choose  
>between them. The group still had to process the Bylaws they wanted,  
>but these only took their own time -- they weren't paying $400 an hour.
>Real estate purchases are obviously serious and are different from one  
>state and locality to another and you definitely need a lawyer, but  
>being an informed consumer will help you choose a lawyer as well as  
>save time spent asking for explanations.
>Sharon Villines in Washington DC
>Where all roads lead to Casablanca
>Cohousing-L mailing list -- Unsubscribe, archives and other info at: 

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