An application away
Law firms have been notorious for their paper consumption. A vicious circle of printing, reading, editing, rereading, reprinting, reediting and on and on continues as standard office protocol. With this the amount of time, energy and waste swells as well does the inherent associated costs. The process certainly won’t change in the near term as it’s a staple to the law institution but that doesn’t mean we cannot do things to minimize the negative effects that are occurring to our environment.
Being a lawyer and having worked in law firms, I can firmly attest to the continuing need for eco friendly and sustainable office initiatives. The amount of paper used for copies, document tracking and records can be mind boggling.
The apple of my eye – welcome the iPad
Welcome the Apple iPad and other like technological advances. With electronic devices like the iPad, lawyers can now share and edit documents in a paper free environment that offers a level of real time cooperation that has never been achieved in prior times. In addition users have the ability to take notes while on the run and share them as they deem appropriate. This game changer enables lawyers to reduce copies, foster real time communication and sync their daily briefings and subsequent notes in one centralized location.
Real time collaboration – Wiki/GoogleDocs
A central, accessible and easy to use repository – aka a Wiki or Google Docs – can serve as the application your office needs to jump start your green initiatives while streamlining business needs. Imagine being able to access, store and share all of your documents in a safe and accessible area that takes up no more space than a simple coffee table. No more rooms of endless shelves housing legal books, proceedings or copies of drafts. This can all be stowed online which could reduce energy usage and enable greater access efficiencies.
Save the trees – reduce the printing
Libraries of law books that once housed back rooms and corner nooks could now safely reside within the confines of a pen drive. By utilizing these types of electronic devices law firms can reduce energy usage, waste and overall paper consumption.
One initial estimate shows that ‘energy represents 30% of a typical office building’s operating costs, and is the single largest controllable operating expense’. Imagine putting an Ipad on every desk and the positive benefits environmentally and operationally this technology could offer.
Law Firms: Digital 1 – Paper 0
Another way to kick start your firms green effect is to participate in the ABA-EPA Law Office Climate Challenge
The ABA-EPA Law Office Climate Challenge was created around four pillars of partnership:
- Adopt best practices for office paper management
- Participate in EPA’s waste reduction program
- Earmark a percentage of purchased energy to be from renewable sources
- Reduce energy usage
Each of these has numerous practical adoption practices that can be found online. I have found these to be quite useful and would highly encourage others to institute them accordingly.
At RelevanSi, my team and I, work with green businesses to assist them in their product marketing. A key finding through my work has been that consumers are drawn more and more to businesses that embrace sustainability. The green movement is more than a flash in the pan and by showcasing your business products and your internal green initiatives like minded consumers will follow.