Boston Bar Association Releases Report on Promoting ‘Green’ Law Practices

Foley Hoag is among the law firms that contributed to a newly issued report by the Boston Bar Association’s Task Force on Environmental Sustainability aimed at helping the city’s legal community become “greener.”

Foley Hoag partner Jonathan Ettinger and associate Amy Boyd serve on the Environmental Sustainability Task Force. Boyd coordinated the efforts of a subgroup that drafted the “best practices” section that supplied a significant amount of the content in the final report, titled “Greening the Profession: Report of the Environmental Sustainability Task Force.”

The 44-page report details a broad strategy for helping law firms contribute to environmental sustainability by modifying their own operations, pursuing pro-bono cases on environmental issues and participating in public service projects. It also introduces a new blog, “The Sustainable Lawyer,” that identifies best practices for law office sustainability; provides tips for individual lawyers who want to lead more sustainable lives; and publicizes opportunities to do environmental work through pro-bono cases, volunteering, or serving as a director of an environmental organization.

“Greening the Profession’s” 14-page “Best Practices for Sustainability” section describes how law firms can be more environmentally sustainable through energy use, recycling, sustainable purchasing and personnel policies. It spans fundamentals like energy-efficient lighting and office equipment and weightier measures like replacing travel to live client meetings with video or teleconferencing.

“Law firms can make a tremendous difference for the environment, both through their client work and their internal operations,” Boyd said. “It hit us during our work on the best practices section how much energy lawyers consume through things like keeping their offices lit and operating, printing and traveling. Any time you consume there is an opportunity for environmental savings. We hope this report is the first step toward a new level of environmental sustainability in Boston’s legal community.”