Leadership Exchange - April/May 2013 - (Page 18)

GENERAL MANAGEMENT ACCEPT THE CHALLENGE TO BECOME A GREEN LAWYER By Danika Vittitoe, Associate, and Matthew Heartney, Partner, Of Arnold & Porter LLP Perhaps you drive a hybrid. Your bath towels are made from bamboo. And, as you read this, you’re sipping Fair Trade coffee topped off with organic milk. In your personal life, the same ideals that led you to become a lawyer guide you in making choices that respect the environment. But when you’re practicing law, it’s tough to put the environment first. Where would our offices be without Redwelds full of pleadings, contracts, agreements and letters stacked floor to ceiling? As lawyers, we each produce between 20,000 and 100,000 pages of paper per year, or 10 to 50 pages per billable hour. This not only destroys many trees -- the paper industry is a principal contributor to worldwide deforestation -- but the processes used to produce paper also make their industry the number-one consumer of fresh water in the world, and the paper industry is the third largest industrial generator of greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming. The Law Office Climate Challenge, a voluntary program developed jointly by the American Bar Association Section of Environment, Energy and Resources and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, asks lawyers to do something about this. The program recognizes those who have accepted the challenge by listing them on the ABA’s Climate Challenge Web page. The Waste Wise initiative, one of three Law Office Challenge programs, asks participants to adopt simple, cost-effective best practices for law office paper management, including reducing paper usage, increasing use of recycled paper and improving recycling efforts. The ABA will recognize a law office as a Climate Challenge Leader if two of the following best practices are adopted: • Employ double-sided copying for at least 50 percent of the pages in internal and draft documents. • Assure that at least 90 percent of the paper used in the office has, in total, a minimum of 30 percent postconsumer recycled content. • Recycle at least 90 percent of discarded office paper. The Law Office Climate Challenge also recognizes law offices that participate in Green Power Partnership or Energy Star initiatives. Green Power Partnership participants support the growing market for renewable energy while reducing demand for polluting conventional power sources by purchasing energy generated by wind, solar or water power or buying “offset credits” to support these energy sources. Energy Star participants pledge to reduce their energy usage by 10 percent through such means as purchasing energy efficient equipment and appliances and using motion sensor lights that shut off automatically. More information on the ABA-EPA Law Office Climate Challenge can be found on the ABA’s Web page. Whether your law office employs five hundred lawyers or just 18 five, these and other actions can reduce environmental impacts, save money on office supplies and energy, and use environmental stewardship as a marketing tool with existing and potential clients. Many businesses have adopted environmental initiatives of their own, including giving preferential consideration to business partners who have made a similar commitment. A lawyer’s desire to improve the environment is hardly restricted to the four corners of his or her office space. By reducing the number of cars on the road, air quality can be improved significantly. Your office can encourage employees to telecommute one or more days per week or subsidize their use of public transportation, such as by purchasing and distributing monthly Metrorail cards and organizing carpools for people who commute from the same parts of town. And your office could even consider making a small contribution toward the purchase of energy- efficient hybrid vehicles by employees. A second step that law offices can take is to purchase and distribute compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs for use in the homes of firm personnel. These bulbs provide the same amount of light as incandescent light bulbs at a fourth to a fifth of the energy cost, and they last longer. If every U.S. household replaced just one incandescent light bulb with a CFL, that step would eliminate roughly the equivalent of the emissions generated by one million cars. And keep in mind that most homes use 10 to 30 bulbs. Recycling bottles and cans is a third step. If your office’s building services does not offer that capability, you can provide depositories and ask volunteers to take bottles and cans to recycling centers at the end of each week. As many parents know, schools today often conduct fundraising by asking students to recycle and collect the deposit on bottles and cans. Your office can help. There is no need to limit your environmental efforts to recycling on the back end. Your office can do the most environmental good by reducing the waste it creates in the first place. Try eliminating the creation of beverage container waste by stocking office kitchens with ceramic coffee mugs instead of using paper cups. When holding an office lunch meeting, avoid the need for disposable plates and cutlery by having the caterer -- perhaps one that prepares organic foods -provide reusable plates and silverware. Challenge yourself by asking what actions your office -- and you individually -- can take to improve the environment and reduce energy usage. By making these changes in your office or home, you might just reconnect with the idealist you once were in law school. Reprinted with permission from the Authors, copyright January 2008, and as appeared in NoVa Network, the newsletter published by the Northern Virginia Chapter of the Association of Legal Administrators, January / February / March 2008 Greater Los Angeles Leadership Exchange

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Leadership Exchange - April/May 2013

Leadership Exchange - April/May 2013
Table of Contents
President’s Message
Editor’s Message
Monthly Calendars
2013 Event Calendar
ALA Webinars
ALA Social Media
Community Connection News
Diversity Upfront
The I-9 Gets a Make-Over
ALA Management Encyclopedia
Accept the Challenge to Become a Green Lawyer
CLM Corner / Crossword Puzzle
CLM Study Session
CLM - Steve Wingert
GLA Making News
Volunteer of Year
Annual Chapter Meeting
A Law Firm's Marketing Success Story
GLA ALA Essay Contest
March Luncheon Recap
CLM Crossword Puzzle Answers
Member/BP Mixer Recap
Board of Directors
Region 6 Officers
Board Update
Board Crossover Meeting
Does Your Law Firm's Technology Meet Ethical Requirements?
Coach’s Corner
ALA Past President's Reception
New Members & Member Updates
Members In Transition
2013 Compensation and Benefits Survey
Business Partner Spotlight
"Green" Ideas

Leadership Exchange - April/May 2013

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