Affordable legal assistance for sustainable and just communities.

Practice Areas

I provide legal advice on a sliding scale for tenants, grassroots organizations, and social entrepreneurs.

I believe everyone should have access to high-quality legal representation. If you need help navigating the legal landscape your housing community or social enterprise finds itself in, get in touch. Below is a non-exhaustive list of my services. Contact me to see if I can help, or refer you to someone else who can.

Housing and Landlord / Tenant Law

  • Cooperative housing
  • Real estate investment cooperatives
  • Agreements: tenants-in-common, co-ownership, leases
  • Advice on evictions and tenant protections

Land Use and Community Development

  • Zoning and other local land use regulation
  • Land trusts
  • Easements
  • Community benefits agreements

Nonprofits, Cooperatives, and Social Enterprise

  • Choice of entity and formation
  • Bylaws / Operating Agreements
  • Fiscal sponsorship agreements
  • Contract drafting
  • Employment law
  • 501(c)(3) tax exemption
  • Subchapter T taxation for cooperatives

About Me

I came to the law from a grassroots, community organizing background, and my work is motivated by expanding access to legal services. I am particularly passionate about democratic, community control of housing, land, and workplaces. My current position at the Sustainable Economies Law Center has trained me to serve worker-owned businesses, nonprofits, land trusts, social enterprises, and other creative projects which I believe can help build a more just society. I look forward to helping your idea get off the ground, or helping your existing endeavor to navigate legal gray areas.

Legal Experience

  • Staff Attorney, Sustainable Economies Law Center (current)– housing and worker cooperatives, nonprofits, land trusts, local government law, policy advocacy
  • Public Advocates– affordable housing, land use
  • East Bay Community Law Center– immigration, landlord/tenant law
  • Shute, Mihaly, & Weinberger– environmental, CEQA, local government law, affordable housing
  • Accountability Counsel– environmental, human rights

Education

  • JD, UC Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall)
  • BA, University of Washington, Journalism and Sociology

Bar Admissions

  • California
View my full resume

Contact Information

Law Office of Sara Stephens
P.O. Box 10892
Oakland, CA 94610
503-583-5159
Please do not provide any confidential information when you contact me. No attorney-client relationship is formed when you contact me.

Send me a message

Let me know how I can help.