During the month of January, attorneys, co-op developers and co-op minded individuals gathered in Columbus for the 3rd Biennial Ohio Co-op Law Conference. This two day event held a wide variety of co-op law related sessions with topics ranging from employment law and worker co-ops to experts speaking on housing cooperatives with nearly 40 in attendance.
Keynote speaker, Doug O’Brien, President and CEO of NCBA CLUSA, spoke to attendees on ‘Cooperatives for the Modern Era’. Doug touched on the current role that cooperatives have in todays society and how cooperatives could be more relevant in the future with the economy. All which addressing how getting involved can help bring more awareness to cooperatives, whether it be at a state, local or federal level working on policy or working one on one with cooperative groups to bring awareness and education.
On day two, Nathan Schneider, Professor of Media, Communication and Information at University of Colorado Boulder spoke on the future of cooperatives and the 21st century. Nathan discussed how individuals need to be an advocate for cooperatives and to be aware of the gaps that we see in society.
Professor Ariana Levinson, University of Louisville, spoke on the topic of worker co-ops and employment law discussing the legal structure that can distinguish the worker owners from the employees and breaking down some of the legal structure that is in place for classification. While panelists’ spoke on how the legal community has helped navigate and support the development of cooperatives around the area.
Those in attendance were able to engage with one another throughout the event networking and bringing relative issues to the forefront to be discussed. Coming from across the country, representatives from Texas, Connecticut, Wisconsin and Tennessee gathered together to learn more on defining the cooperative legal structure and how to guide cooperatives with resources.
With plans to meet again in 2025, organizers are already meeting to create another engaging conference. Stay tuned and hope to see you at the next conference!