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THE COOPERATIVE 

PROFESSIONALS GUILD

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About Us

The Cooperative Professionals Guild is the only national member-led community of legal and accounting professionals specializing in cooperatives!  Our members are legal and accounting professionals, paraprofessionals, academics and students who support the work of cooperative businesses and organizations in creating a more democratic, inclusive and equitable economy.

The Guild promotes the professional development of cooperative professionals by producing webinars on legal and tax topics for CLE credit, an annual conference, networking and resource sharing opportunities and other educational programming, particularly in support of underserved communitiesThe Guild is managed by its volunteer members. Members join the Cooperative Professionals Guild to participate in the development of the organization to further its mission and objectives and to build community around the work we do.

MEMBERSHIP

Organizational membership with voting privileges is open to attorneys, accountants, paralegals, bookkeepers and students in the fields of law and accounting who are serving or interested in serving cooperatives. The Guild offers members of the broader cooperative community other opportunities to participate in the Guild's work.  The Guild makes its webinars, conferences, newsletters and certain other resources available to the public.

2023 Member Benefits

  • Free monthly live webinar series with access to recorded webinars on demand and CLE credits available in many states,

  • Discounted registration fee for the Guild’s 2023 conference,

  • Participation in the Membership Directory, Guild listserv, member meet-ups and other networking opportunities,

  • Opportunity to shape the direction of the Guild as a voting member and as an active participant in Guild circles,

  • Invitations to working groups diving deeper into specific areas of cooperative law and accounting,

  • Access to sociocracy training.

Member Directory

Members can opt to be identified in our Member Directory and to share any part of their profile in the public facing directory and/or the members-only version of the Member Directory.  We make our Member Directory available to the public to help cooperatives, cooperative developers and others find legal and accounting professionals serving cooperatives.  Our public facing Member Directory includes only members who are willing to be contacted by nonmembers.  Our Directory is not an endorsement of or referral to any particular professional.

Participation

We are a volunteer organization operated by our members. As such, the work we do depends largely on member interest, initiative and participation. Members are encouraged but not required to contribute to the operation of the Guild by forming and/or participating in one or more of our volunteer-led circles which are self-organizing committees governed by sociocratic principles and practices.  Members are also welcome to simply take advantage of the learning and networking opportunities the Guild provides in order to enhance their understanding of cooperative models.

Membership Circle Contacts

The Guild's Membership Circle serves the interests of members. Please contact our Membership Circle at membership@professionals.coop if you'd like to join this circle or if you have any questions about your membership or about becoming a member.  

GOVERNANCE

The Cooperative Professionals Guild incorporated as an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization at the end of 2022, following several years of being generously supported as a fiscally sponsored project of the Sustainable Economies Law Center.  In 2023, organizational voting membership in the Guild will be open to attorneys, accountants, paralegals, bookkeepers, and students in law and accounting, who serve or are interest in serving cooperatives.

The Guild has implemented a sociocratic structure consisting of a general membership circle comprised of all the voting members for the current calendar year, a Stewardship Circle that serves as the Board of Directors, and several subcircles, each with their own domain of operation.  

    The Guild has also adopted a sociocratic model for circle discussions and decision-making and members are expected to participate accordingly.  The Guild will offer new members a basic orientation in sociocratic practices with the expectation that members will further develop their sociocratic skills through participation in Guild circles.

    Circles

    The Guild's current circles include the following:

    • The Stewardship Circle serves as the Guild's governing board elected by the members.
    • The Membership Circle serves to manage the process of member recruitment and registration and to ensure member satisfaction by making sure that member voices, interests and concerns are heard throughout the organization and that members are kept informed and involved to the extent they desire. Contact us at membership@professionals.coop.
    • The Webinar Circle produces monthly webinars on topics of interest to members and the public, recruits presenters and arranges for CLE credits. Contact us at webinarcircle@professionals.coop
    • The Conference Circle serves to plan and produce the Guild's annual conferences, which will resume in person in 2023.
    • The Finance Circle manages the Guild's finances.

    Additional circles may be formed to oversee additional member programs, services and resources.

    HISTORY

    The Guild began in 2013 as an informal collective of attorneys interested in advancing the development of cooperatives by training themselves and other professionals in cooperative law and accounting.  Over the years since then, Guild members have operated a listserv and produced several conferences and events.  The Guild became a fiscally sponsored project of the Sustainable Economies Law Center in 2019. SELC facilitated the Guild's open conference in Chicago that year attended by close to 150 professionals from across the United States.  Based on survey responses from attendees of that conference, the Guild committed in 2021 to becoming an independent, member-governed nonprofit association in 2022 in order to formalize the particpation of professionals interested in helping the organization fulfill its mission.

    The Cooperative Professionals Guild, 2023

    Contact us at: guildquestion@professionals.coop


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