Our Co-op Professionals Track explores how accounting and legal professionals serving the co-op community can create an enabling environment for cooperative economic impact.

From raising capital to paying taxes, and from the immigration status of employees or members to “volunteer” member labor in the cooperative business, all cooperatives face a range of federal regulations. Co-ops look to accounting and legal practitioners for strategies to ensure compliance and resilience. Regulations may be designed to help businesses and protect individuals, but co-op professionals often find that they can hinder cooperative impact. 

Our Co-op Professionals Track is co-sponsored by the Sustainable Economies Law Center, a State Bar of California approved MCLE provider. The Law Center certifies that this track has been approved for 1 to 1.75 hours of California MCLE credit per accredited workshop, as noted below.



Co-op Governance and Attorney Ethics  

presented by dave swanson, Dorsey

Wednesday, October 3
10:30 am - Noon

A presentation and discussion of key topics in cooperative governance, drafting of governance documents and ethics considerations for cooperative directors and members. 1.5 MCLE credits  


presented by Tonya Price, attorney, Jason Wiener | p.c.; Ron McFall, partner, Stoel Rives, LLP; and Daniel Fireside, Capital Coordinator, Equal Exchange

Wednesday, October 3
2 - 3:15 pm

During this workshop, practitioners will share examples of innovative cooperative financing. Daniel Fireside will discuss how Equal Exchange has developed an innovative cooperative capital model using non-voting preferred stock, mission-aligned loans, retained earnings and co-op member investment to become one of the largest worker cooperatives in the United States.  Tonya will discuss how the team at Jason Wiener, p.c. is using custom financing tools to help their cooperative clients raise capital. Ron McFall will discuss multi-stakeholder and multi-entity capital structures and efforts to preserve non-monetary values in succession planning for cooperatives. 1.5 MCLE credits    

Perpetual Trusts: Non-Co-op Vehicles for Engaged Worker Ownership and mission-driven businesses

presented by Sushil C. Jacob, Partner, Tuttle Law Group; and Ron McFall, partner, Stoel Rives, LLP

Wednesday, October 3
3:45 - 5 pm

Advocates for worker ownership and mission alignment generally promote cooperatives as the best form of democratic self-management due to one-member, one-vote governance requirements, and profit-sharing on the basis of contribution of goods or services to the firm. However, cooperatives are not the best solution for all enterprises. This panel explores two perpetual trusts, which can feature both democratic voting and profit-sharing based on labor contribution. 1.25 MCLE credits

Visualizing a uniform co-op law

presented by Thomas Beckett, Executive Director, Carolina Common Enterprise; Meeghan Moriarty, USDA Rural Business Cooperative Service; and Dave Swanson, partner, Dorsey

Wednesday, October 3
6:30 - 7:30 pm

This after-hours session will be an open and convivial discussion about what a new uniform state cooperative law would need to include, and want to include, in order to be practical and useful in the 21st century. 1 MCLE credit

Bring broadband to rural America: The role of electric cooperatives

presented by Roland Hall, partner, Autry, Hall, & Cook, LLP; and Eric cramer, President and CEO, Wilkes Communications

Thursday, October 4
10:30 am - Noon

The panelists will describe the pressing need for broadband solutions in rural America, discuss the important role that electric cooperatives can play in enhancing connectivity through their own initiatives and through partnerships with other entities, and present illustrative case studies from Georgia and North Carolina. 1.5 MCLE credits

Co-op tax developments

presented by Roland Hall, partner, Autry, Hall, & Cook, LLP; Bruce Mayer, Partner, Wegner CPAs; Meegan Moriarty, USDA Rural Business Cooperative Service; and David Cook, attorney, Autry, Hall and Cook, LLP 

Thursday, October 4
1:30 - 3:15 pm

Because of the interest in the impact of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 on cooperatives, this session will focus on how the new tax changes affect cooperatives and address strategies for maximizing the benefits some changes provide.  This session will also provide an introduction to the tax and accounting rules affecting cooperatives for those new to the subject. 1.75 MCLE credits

Union cooperatives

presented by Thomas Beckett, Executive Director, Carolina Common Enterprise; Sara Stephens, attorney, sustainable economies law center; Ariana Levinson, Professor of Law, University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law; and Carmen Huertas, founding director, community and economic development clinic, cuny school of law

Thursday, October 4
3:30 - 4:30 pm

As the Union Co-op Council of the U.S. Federation of Worker Cooperatives celebrates its 10th anniversary, we take a closer look at how labor unions are collaborating with workers to advance worker ownership in a number of industries. 1 MCLE credit

There’s a lot places you can learn 101 level things. You come here and you can get those 201 level, 301 level answers where the people who are involved in the nitty gritty can really get in to the deep questions of what’s going on, what’s allowable. That sort of information and the chance to ask questions and listen to what’s being said – that’s invaluable.
— Jamie Samans, Executive Member, Xensha