by Charlene Quincey on July 23, 2009

in Environment, Olea LLP, Resources

Lawyers use a lot of paper! According to the ABA and an informal survey conducted by Arnold & Porter in 2006, attorneys are using 100,000 sheets of paper per year! That translates to a half-ton of paper use per attorney per year! As a result of the survey findings, the ABA partnered with the EPA and created the “Law Office Climate Challenge.” The purpose of the challenge is to “encourage law offices to take specific steps to conserve energy and resources, as well as reduce emissions of greenhouse gases.” Meeting the Climate Challenge is quite simple. In fact, the EPA has laid out a few specific practices law firms can undertake to radically change their over consumption of paper and energy!

Specifically, the ABA and EPA suggest:

1) Adopt best practices for office paper management by reducing paper usage, increasing recycled content in paper purchased, or increasing recycling.

2) Participate in EPA’s WasteWise program, which encourages organizations to save energy by reducing waste, and adopt best practices for office paper management (described above).

3) Participate in EPA’s Green Power Partnership (Green Power) program by purchasing energy from renewable sources to cover at least a portion of electricity usage.

4) Participate in EPA’s ENERGY STAR program, which encourages law offices to reduce energy use by at least 10% through, among other things, the purchase of ENERGY STAR-designated equipment and implementation of better energy management practices. This program has features that recognize the issues associated with tenant law offices.

At Olea LLP we are committed to using as little paper as possible. In fact this past week, we proudly became a “lesspaperfirm
Using less paper is just one goal among many we aspire to achieve in order to lessen our carbon footprint. If you have any advice about going green or are operating a green office we would love to hear from you!

To learn more about making your office green check out The Green Guide for Lawyers and to learn more about the ABA-EPA Law Office Climate Challenge visit:


{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Danielle G. Van Ess July 23, 2009 at 8:28 am

I too have a less paper law firm. My younger clients overwhelmingly prefer to receive correspondence via secured electronic communication and I try to do all of my drafting and editing online without printing. When I do print, it’s double-sided in toner-saver mode on recycled paper. I save things as PDFs whenever possible and have gone paperless with as much billing as possible. The hundreds of pages of final estate planning documents I do print on fine (recycled) business paper is most of it. It’s easier, more convenient, requires less storage space, is less expensive, and feels good to boot! I am a proud member of the Massachusetts Bar Association’s Eco-Challenge, but I haven’t gotten around to completing out all that paperwork required to join the ABA-EPA Law Office Climate Challenge yet!

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