More on Janelle Orsi - Cohousing Attorney (was Re: Worker Coops and the Law)
From: oz (
Date: Wed, 1 Aug 2012 12:00:28 -0700 (PDT)
Janelle Orsi rocks - I'm a big fan of her work.

She has fascinating ideas around sharing and has created great online
resources, advocated specific legislative action in CA, and actively worked
with community groups of many forms, including cohousing. She's also the
co-author of The Sharing Solution, published by Nolo Press.

In addition to the Cohousing Conference breakout session (which was
excellent), Janelle gave a more casual presentation in the Cohousing
California Parklet - a unique public space which Raines Cohen and friends
provided right outside the Oakland convention center.

She gave more political context about how problematic it can be to share
resources in the United States. In this country, much of what Cohousing
runs up against are laws and regulations which, at their basis, protect the
rights of the underdog in adversarial relationships, i.e,. developer/home
buyer, employer/employee, restaurant/patron, producer/consumer, rich/poor,
etc. When the same people are in both positions, the laws are protecting us
from ourselves, which can get pretty weird.

Some related websites:

Cohousing California

Janelle's Law Practice

Sharing Solution (the book's website)

Sustainable Economics Law Center (a non-profit co-founded by Janelle) -
who's mission

She also has some great videos on YouTube

Oz Ragland

On Wed, Aug 1, 2012 at 3:52 AM, Ann Zabaldo <zabaldo [at]> wrote:

> Hi Eric --
> At the cohousing conference in Oakland this past June, Janelle Orsi and
> Cynthia Hawley gave a fabulous presentation on the law and cohousing, non
> profits, cooperatives, etc.  I'm sure if you wrote them they would make
> their extensive 89 page handout available to you.
> Janelle.Orsi [at]
> cynthiahawley [at]
> Their presentation was one of the best I've ever attended on any cohousing
> related topic.
> Best --
> Ann Zabaldo
> Takoma Village Cohousing
> Washington, DC
> Principal, Cohousing Collaborative, LLC
> Falls Church VA
> 703-688-2646
> On Jul 28, 2012, at 12:18 PM, Eric Giegerich wrote:
> >
> > Dear Cohousing List,
> >
> > I'm planning to go to law school and I'm quite interested in cohousing,
> coops, and community.  Having cooperatively bought a house with friends
> some years ago, I realized how difficult our laws are when we tried to get
> a bank loan.  In any case, I'm particularly interested in cohousing from a
> legal perspective.  I wanted to ask the list for tips or leads on legal
> resources relevant to cohousing, coops, and community, or related areas of
> alternative law.  Case studies would also be useful.  So would literature,
> key figures in the field, any law firms and nonprofit legal advocacy groups
> that people have dealt with successfully.
> >
> > Thanks in advance!
> > Eric

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