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October 07, 2010

Board Adopts Guidelines to Help Firms Go Green

The Board of Governors has adopted guidelines that will help law firms go green. The Green Ribbon Sustainability Initiative, adopted unanimously Sept. 30, is the culmination of almost a year's work by the Association's Green Ribbon Task Force.

The guidelines are user-friendly suggestions for helping firms go green in a wide range of areas. They are flexible and "not one size fits all," so that firms of all sizes may use some or all of the recommendations. The Association will recognize those firms that meet adopt certain numbers of the guidelines.

The Green Ribbon goals were among Chancellor Scott F. Cooper's primary agenda items for 2010. "Most in this legal community want to go green," Cooper said, "but they are still looking for an easy source for how to do it. The Association stepped in and has now made available these common-sense ideas. They will help our Association and our law firms save time, money and the environment." Environmental issues were showcased in the Summer 2010 edition of The Philadelphia Lawyer magazine.

The Green Ribbon Task Force, co-chaired by Kim R. Jessum and Michael B. Hayes, developed the sustainability initiative to raise awareness amongst the membership of the Association concerning environmental issues and promote the implementation of more environmentally conscious behaviors and practices within law firms and legal offices large and small.

The Board's resolution does two things. First it adopts a list of practical steps for law firms to follow. In other words, a resource for firms to "go green." Second, it calls upon firms to make a voluntary commitment to environmental sustainability, consistent with the size of the law firm and number of employees.

The Green Ribbon Task Force's Green Ribbon Sustainability Initiative Work Sheet provides useful suggestions and recommendations for law firms and legal offices to reduce their waste and energy usage through the implementation of environmentally friendly practices. The work sheet is intended to be a dynamic document, incorporating over time additional information, recommendations and suggestions for environmentally friendly behaviors and practices developed both by the Task Force through its own further study and analysis and from member law firms, legal offices and individual lawyers who are committed to making the practice of law more environmentally friendly.

This sustainability initiative includes a voluntary pledge for law firms and legal offices that wish to declare their commitment to a broad set of principles involving the Association's collective obligation to preserve the environment and natural resources.

The Task Force will next engage in community and member outreach to promote the Green Ribbon Sustainability Initiative and the Sustainability Initiative Work Sheet to member law firms, legal offices and individual lawyers. The work sheet includes recommended green practices involving energy and lighting, food, paper, pleadings and documents, recycling, transportation and general business practices.

The Task Force is comprised of more than a dozen volunteer members from law firms large and small, in-house counsel offices, and environmental consultants. Current members include Jenimae Almquist, Henry Balikov, Jocelyn Hill, Rachel Kopp, Sophia Lee, Matthew S. Olesh, Desiree Purvenas, Tricia Sadd, Mitchell Swann and Robert Wert.

For more information on the Green Ribbon Task Force click here.

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