Bloomberg Law
April 22, 2016, 6:49 PM

3 Easy Ways for a Law Firm to Reduce its Environmental Footprint

Casey Sullivan

What makes up a law firm’s environmental footprint? And how can firms reduce it?

Dan Krainin, president of the non-profit Law Firm Sustainability Network and partner at Beveridge & Diamond, caught up with Big Law Business on Earth Day to break down several of the biggest factors.

We’ve listed three of them below and invite lawyers, no matter who you are, or where you come from, or what you do to live, thrive and survive, to come and see that there are some things that make us all the same: “You... Me.. Them... Everybody... Everybody.”

So spread out a blanket in Central Park, pitch a tent in the woods of Maine, and reflect on what you can do to keep this planet great.

3) Paper

In the discovery process, law firms must plow through millions of documents. And court papers are filed every day that require the work of printers and copy machines. To manage the seemingly overwhelming paper trail, Krainin said law firms should adopt policies.

“When paper is necessary, and you need a hard copy, switch to double-sided printing,” he said.

2) Electricity

Paid by the hour, lawyers work around-the-clock — especially in the area we cover: Big Law. But lawyers shouldn’t cheat and keep lights on to put up the perception that they’re busy.

“Computer monitors, printers and copy machines, you should make sure they go into sleep mode after 15 or 30 minutes, as opposed to not at all or after an hour or two,” said Krainin. “There is also a mentality to leave your light on at all hours to prove you’re working hard. That’s a mentality I think we need to change.”

3) Travel

As any GC signing law firm invoices knows, travel expenses add up. They also can be costly for the planet because of the greenhouse gas emissions vehicles release. Krainin said that lawyers should limit travel, which he said is practical because of technological advances.

“Firms have been able to change to video conferencing,” said Krainin. “Obviously there are instances where you need to go to court, but video conferencing cuts down on travel.”