Articles | 05/24/2017

Greening Your Law Practice

The words “green,” “sustainable,” “eco-friendly” and other variations of these words are thrown around a lot in the professional world! And I mean, a lot! But what does it mean and more importantly, what can we do to self-analyze and actually become more “green.”

In the last few years, I started becoming more mindful of using resources and producing less waste in my personal life. As I began applying similar principles to my office, and eventually, to help other small business owners, I realized that moving towards a less wasteful and more mindful work environment was really challenging! Here are some key issues and challenges that I observed, and I look forward to sharing the solutions with you at the GLSA/GP Solo Joint 2016 Spring Meeting in Key West!

Main challenges in being less wasteful and more mindful at work:

  • We don’t think of our workplace as a place of permanence. We feel more comfortable using single-use items, such as plastic spoons, forks, cups etc. at work, which we less likely to do at home.
  • Office=not my money! As a solo practitioner, it is easy to think of everything in the office as “expenses” for tax purposes, so its not coming out of your pocket. It is easy to print a lot at work! It is even more difficult to be mindful when you work for someone else. When I worked at a litigation firm, one of the paralegals had a stack of barely-used yellow legal pads by her desk because she would pick one up anytime she wanted to write something and she was near the supply closet! They all ended up in a black hole in her office.
  • Easy access to a trash can. It sounds silly, but having a trash can close to you can make it easy to create trash; throwing away paper, pens, packaging from vending machine food, microwave meals, and mail.
  • Not evolving. Are you asking to create waste by demanding that your clients send you checks or sign hard copies of retainer agreements? Do you send closing letters and other non-court correspondence to clients via snail mail? What kind of practice management tools are you using? A giant desk calendar? All these could be signs of not evolving in your practice, and thus leading to more clutter and waste that can be easily avoided.

Solutions to these challenges and some other tips to be less wasteful and more mindful will be offered during the program “GreeningYour Practice,” at 9:45 a.m. on Thursday, May 12th during the Joint Conference!

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