HALOs: The Help-Another-Lawyer-Out “Currency”

What are HALOs?

SELC created this Help-Another-Lawyer-Out (HALO) “currency” to generate a flow of learning, sharing, and mentorship within the legal profession, especially among legal professionals working to create sharing and resilient communities. Communities everywhere need lawyers specializing in cooperatives, community currencies, social enterprise, shared housing, and other projects that build local economic stability. There is so much to learn about these emerging practice areas!

Any lawyer, legal professional, law student, or legal apprentice is welcome to download and print these HALOs. A HALO can then be “put into circulation” when one legal professional shares time and knowledge with another legal professional by, for example:

  • Helping to brainstorm about a case, legal topic, or problem,
  • Talking through an ethical issue,
  • Sharing document templates,
  • Allowing the learner to shadow and observe her/his work,
  • Reviewing a document, such as a leases, 1023 forms, and bylaws, or
  • Giving feedback on practice bar exam essays.

The legal professional who receives this help can then print a HALO, cut along the dotted line, fill out the names of the giver and recipient, give the HALO to the person who shared time and knowledge, and keep the reminder stub. A HALO has no defined value, nor does it create a contractual right to receive anything or an obligation to give anything. To the giver of a HALO, it is a reminder to “pay-it-forward” by sharing knowledge and teaching others. To the recipient of a HALO, it is, at the very least, a token of gratitude. However, the HALOs will grow in value if people are willing to accept them in situations where they might normally charge dollars.

For example, SELC may soon accept HALOs as payment for webinars and workshops. We hope that other organizations will do the same.  If SELC accepts HALOs, we could then turn around and “spend” them by asking a lawyer to review and edit content on our legal resource websites. If the HALOs begin to flow from one person to another, it’s a sign that we are creating a rich learning current in the legal profession. Each HALO will always bear the names of the people who first put that HALO into circulation. It’s a nice reminder that any person can create currency – meaning that any of us can set into motion a current of giving, sharing, and learning in our communities.



How do I print HALOs?

Click here to print out a HALO. HALOs are intended to be double sided, so set your printer to duplex. We recommend that you use card stock. Alternatively, if you come to a SELC event, we often have printed HALOs on hand.

How much work should merit a HALO?

It’s hard to measure the value of the time and knowledge that people share. We recommend that you use 30 minutes as a rough guideline for giving a HALO. In other words, if someone spends at least 30 minutes of their time helping you, give them a HALO.

How can I receive HALOs? 

Tell your legal professional friends that you are part of a community of lawyers who are expanding their skills in order to serve the legal needs of resilient communities. Give them a link to this website, and let them know that you are happy to share your knowledge in exchange for HALOs. This will create a welcoming open door for your friends to come to you seeking assistance. You can also reach out to law students and apprentices to offer your assistance with their studies, or organize a workshop and accept HALOs as payment!  Soon, SELC will be launching an online network of community resilience lawyers, and this will provide another forum in which to offer your assistance to other lawyers.

Printing HALOs seems inconvenient. Can we send them electronically?

We suppose that you could send a HALO to someone via email, but there is something more personal about writing something by hand and sending it by mail. You can even add additional notes or drawings on the HALO to thank the recipient. Printing and writing on HALOs also feels more authentic. Other than our consciences, there’s nothing to prevent people from forging HALOs or printing out. This is a trust based currency. Furthermore, the giver of a HALO will keep the stub to remind them to “pay-it-forward,” and printed stubs will likely serve as a much better reminder than files saved on a computer.

How can I help SELC create a nicer design for the HALOs or give any other feedback? 

We know that the graphic design of HALOs is a a little ho-hum. Do you have an idea for a more charming or compelling design? Or do you have any other feedback on the HALOs?  If so, please, email Janelle [at] theselc.org. Thank you!

Chris Tittle

A recent transplant to Oakland, Chris is passionate about exploring life-sustaining alternatives to the neo-liberal market paradigm. In his role as Director of Organizational Resilience, he is working to build SELC’s internal resilience, diversify SELC's sources of support, and bring principles of social and economic justice into SELC’s funding strategy. Among his many other roles, he contributes to SELC’s Community Currencies, Resilient Communities Legal Cafe, and Rethinking Home programs, working to cultivate more democratic and place-based models for building community resilience. Chris recently completed an MA in Economics for Transition at Schumacher College, an international whole-person learning center near Totnes, UK. While in the UK, he was active in Occupy London’s Energy, Equity and Environment working group, and helped guide a community exploration of Totnes’ monetary ecology with Transition Town Totnes. His dissertation explored permaculture and a Rights of Nature framework as more culturally-appropriate and generative responses to climate change adaptation in the Global South. Chris has previously worked as an ecological educator, outdoor guide, and environmental journalist, earning his BA in Non-Western History and Poverty Studies from Washington and Lee University. His writing can be found on Shareable.net, MNN.com, and his blog at oaktreegarden.wordpress.com

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