Review: Practising Law in the Sharing Economy by Janelle Orsi

Thu 28/02/2013 4:27pm
Book by Janelle Orsi cover image

Global economic downturn, a growing poverty gap between rich and poor as well as a rising cost of living has given rise to a thriving alternative economy driven by a philosophy of sharing. Quickly moving into the mainstream the ‘sharing economy’ is one based not on short-term profit, but concerned with helping local communities build wealth and achieving sustainable  environmental goals. Remarkably, many of these organisations have succeeded while staying true to these ideals and have expanded to rival traditional competitors.

The influence of grass roots nature and ideals of the sharing economy upon traditional economic activities and legal relationships has inevitably given rise to a number of unique and challenging legal questions. What are the tax implications for those who use alternative units of currency instead of money? How does employment law apply to a business where a hundred employees are the owners?

Drawing from her personal experience as a practitioner and participant within the sharing economy as well as a wealth of knowledge from other legal specialists and academics, Californian attorney Janelle Orsi provides insightful guidance to key legal challenges within the sharing economy. Particular focus is given to ‘grey areas’ of the law and how these might be practically addressed. Orsi also provides an overview of the role of lawyers within the sharing economy and establishing a sharing economy legal practice.

This book is a seminal work in an emergent area of law. While written from an American perspective, the laws concerned are largely analogous to our own and the principles provided can be quickly adapted to an Australian context.  Orsi’s approach to legal practice is pragmatic and her enthusiasm often infectious. For publicly minded lawyers or law students seeking new opportunities, looking to stay ahead of the curve or simply trying to understand the phenomenon that is the sharing economy, ‘Practising Law in the Sharing Economy’ is essential reading.

  • The author Janelle Orsi works with the the Sustainable Economies Law Centre, all proceeds from the book will be donated to this organisation - http://www.theselc.org/
  • Personal website for the author and her practice- http://janelleorsi.com/
  • A website which generally details what’s going on in the sharing economy; the author is a frequent contributor- http://www.shareable.net

Riley Fitzgerald, Intern