About

Society changes.  It is inevitable. We are the ones who can decide its trajectory.  

I am an attorney in Redding, CA and I have dedicated my life and my practice to helping people and building just institutions.  I practice in cooperative law, real estate and housing law, small business law, constructive program law, and civil resistance law, and if you have an innovative project that could really make an impact I would consider expanding my areas of practice.  In addition to my private practice, I volunteer and am active with the National Lawyers Guild and Lawyers for a New Economy.   

I consider myself an activist and have been involved in a variety of local movements, including the movement for restorative justice to provide a just alternative to the court system and a campaign finance reform movement to confront our corrupt political system. I am also involved in the legal apprenticeship movement to help provide an alternative to law school and its debt shackles.  Feel free to contact me if you would like to know about legal apprenticeships.  

Personally, I love to tinker and build, finding a use for items people usually consider useless.  I enjoy bicycling and walking.  I brew beer and I enjoy living as simply as I can.  I believe in giving as a way of life and sharing my skills and knowledge when I can.   

Before I started my law practice I went to the James Lawson Institute and received a certificate in the strategic evaluation of nonviolent resistance.  I volunteered for 3 years at the General Assistance Advocacy Project helping people navigate government bureaucracies and maintain their benefits.  I interned at The Sustainable Economies Law Center, Seminary of the Street, and SEEDS Community Resolution Center.   While at SEEDS I received a mediation certificate and helped develop a plan for a restorative justice program. 

Education

J.D. in "Social Justice Lawyering" from the University of California Hastings College of the Law.   

B.A. in Anthropology from Brown University.  

I have always thought that understanding the world is the key to changing it.  I studied Anthropology to better understand people and the way societies work. Then I studied the law to better understand the system and figure out how to fight its injustice, change it, and eventually replace it with something better. 


Vision of the world 

The world I dream of is a world where people are prioritized over property and institutions keep the wealth in the hands of the majority of people instead of extracting it for the benefit of the few.  Where conflict resolution is a central part of life, and participatory democracy is a reality.  Where people are valued for their potential and built up instead of condemned for their failures and exiled.  A world where school is free, no one has to live in poverty, and the environment is respected and protected.  And where businesses enrich their workers and their lives.  Extractive institutions dominate our society now, which is how inequality has reached such heights.  They stand in the way of our collective efforts for justice.  So the real challenge is how to replace them with constructive institutions that are tested and in which people can entrust their livelihood. 
 
I love studying history and I try to take the long view of the world.  Increasing inequality is an inherently destabilizing force, our society cannot continue this level of inequality without generating a major upheaval in the future.  I want the movement for social justice to be prepared for this upheaval with better, tested institutions that can be adopted widely.  Effective and just replacement institutions will prevent the chaos that often follows revolutions when people scramble to replace the previous system.  Planning and institution development is the way to prevent that chaos.  And that is what I dedicate my practice and my life to.    

About my practice

I practice law to help people and to build better institutions.  I want to empower others and myself to build a better world.  My practice focuses on supporting Constructive Program* and Civil Resistance*.(see definitions below)  The majority of my work is in Constructive Program, where I help people build cooperatives, nonprofits, socially responsible businesses, and other social justice projects.  I help people develop replaceable models that will change our way of life.  And I help with projects that will increase people's capacity, health, and social welfare.  If we want a better world, we have to put in the elbow grease to building it.    
My work with Civil Resistance focuses on explaining the current legal landscape, looking for leverage points, and helping develop successful strategies.  

For more detailed explanation of the services I offer, please see my Services page.  

What is Constructive Program?

I like the Metta Center's definition, "Constructive Program is action taken within the community to build structures, systems, processes or resources that are positive alternatives to oppression."  It is a broad term that encompasses a wide range of activities, anything from building cooperatives to teaching about healthy diets.  I like to think of it as "cooperative with good" as opposed to "non-cooperative with evil" and it is a broad as our imaginations.  Most socially-conscious people are involved in aspects of Constructive Program already, we just have not yet adopted it as unifying term to describe our collective efforts. 

What are Constructive Institutions?

Constructive Institutions are institutions designed to benefit all the people involved in them and to build the capacity of those involved. These are institutions that do not extract wealth from their workers for the benefit of a few. They build community among participants, and support a just and vibrant society. Cooperatives in their many forms are a wonderful example of a constructive institution, designed to be democratic and fairly egalitarian.    

What is Civil Resistance?

Civil Resistance is... well... civil.  As in, non-violent, courteous, by citizens, and in pursuit of just ends.  It is a broad term used to define a wide range of obstructive activities that build support for and participation in the movement.  The goals can be anything from trying to change the way the general public behaves to trying to change an unjust law.  At its heart, Civil Resistance is "non-cooperation with evil" and can be done daily in our everyday life. More confrontational forms include Civil Disobedience and Satyagraha.  Historically, Civil Resistance is far more effective at producing good outcomes for society.(Why Civil Resistance Works, Erica Chenowith)  

Subpages (1): About my practice