I thought I would share a couple thoughts on a webinar that I attended yesterday called Greening the Law Firm.
First a note about the technology – Shift Worldwide presented the webinar on their proprietary platform. Actually called a Virtual Panel Discussion it features the speakers live from their offices / locations on the Virtual dashboard. From a user standpoint, I thought it was very slick. And was much more interesting than the usual slide presentation format.
What caught my eye about this particular vPanel was the topic. “Green” seems like it went away for awhile as companies and firms hunkered down and focused on the economy. It’s heartening to see that this topic (along with Diversity, Pro Bono and Associate Satisfaction) is continuing to get attention. Secondly, I feel like there’s been a perception that “going green” would actually cost more than what currently being spent in operations, so this was an interesting twist. Good for the environment and saves money.
Aside from the usual suggestions on how to make your office more green, I thought it was interesting how the discussion was framed. i.e. there’s two main drivers to “go green”.
Client-driven: One of the panelist’s firms has a large environmental law practice; they wanted to ensure they could “walk the talk” and provided some good examples of implementing green practices that clients can see – specifically cups made of corn, biodegradable spoons, filtration systems to replace bottled water in conference rooms.
Cost-driven: A firm that removes bottled water from offices can save approximately $10K. Also putting permanent dishware in conference rooms, encouraging double-sided printing, the use of centralized printers, consolidation of data centers, unified communications, web conferencing, ability to raise conference rooms walls to best utilize space, have lights shut off after a certain amount of time/motion sensors. Telecommuting for attorneys was described as “the wave of the future”. It creates a more attractive situation for attorneys—billable either way; and it was said studies show people are more productive at home.