This year for Earth Day's 50th anniversary and World Environment Day, the world is facing a challenging time addressing the COVID-19 pandemic and our firms are highly focused on helping clients, communities and employees. It brings to light how all things interconnect and all actions matter. We share with you a few LFSN member stories of how the legal community is continuing to support sustainability from virtual engagement to celebrating recent initiatives to reduce environmental impact.
We will continue to update this article until June.
Allen & Overy has instituted a number of sustainability measures. The firm has reduced its electrical usage by 235,000 KWH with a cost savings of $100,000+.
The firm reduced its carbon footprint by over 40% in the United States. Allen & Overy increased the use of rail travel over air travel between the NY & DC offices to 75%, which drastically reduces its carbon output.
In consumption, the firm has removed plastic cups, lids and straws from New York pantries which will save 125,000+ pieces of plastic from oceans and landfills. The firm has also removed bottled water in tandem with the new Vivreau sparkling water system has helped reduce plastic/glass bottle consumption by 10,000, annually.
Allen & Overy also joined the Law Firm Sustainability Network and NYC Mayor’s Carbon Challenge. This year, the firm is participating in the EcoChallenge and is holding an Earth appreciation photo contest.
Alston & Bird shared a firmwide Sustainability Quiz for prizes which provides recent statistics on waste and renewable energy. It held an internal art contest for employees to do with their children while they stay at home with an Earth Day theme.
A&B’s Greenmail newsletter has been providing ways to practice green care as a means of self-care, as well as tips on how to support local farmers and shop locally via online orders and designated pickup locations.
Highlighting the A&B Atlanta office, the office held a Green Goals Challenge that employees can participate in from home. They were given a series of tasks they can complete and document, such as signing up for recycling bins or compost services, planting gardens, creating projects using materials already in their homes, having reusable grocery bags in the home, and researching recent news articles to name ways that individuals and companies are taking steps to reduce single use plastics.
Beveridge & Diamond has undertaken a number of initiatives in an effort to implement and promote environmental sustainability measures. For example, for more than a decade now, B&D has purchased renewable energy certificates (RECs) in an amount sufficient to offset its electricity usage in all of its offices.
In 2019, B&D joined the Lawyers for a Sustainable Economy initiative, pledging to perform more than $500,000 worth of pro bono legal services in support of groups and efforts designed to promote environmental sustainability.
For Earth Day 2020, B&D sponsored an annual nature photo contest and hosted a webinar led by a high-ranking U.S. EPA official who addressed issues relating to the 50th anniversaries of both EPA and Earth Day.
Cahill is committed to an environmental sustainability program within its offices and has undertaken a number of initiatives to reduce resource consumption and carbon footprint. Some highlights of Cahill’s efforts include:
The firm utilizes Server and Storage Virtualization in its data center. Over the past several years, the firm has virtualized 95% of its server and storage space, leading to a 50% reduction in the number of physical servers, thus reducing overall electrical usage. All printers and copy machines now revert automatically to “energy save mode” when not in use and the firm has set all printers to be reconfigured to default to double-sided printing. The firm has also added sensors and timers to turn off lighting in unoccupied offices, corridors and common areas wherever possible to reduce energy consumption.
Cahill is in the midst of a significant paper-reduction initiative, with the goal of digitizing files and only employing paper storage boxes when necessary. This effort has already resulted in a reduction of tens of thousands of boxes. The firm has replaced all plastic food service items with biodegradable products, such as bamboo coffee stirrers. The firm provides filtered water to limit the use of plastic water bottles. The firm also provides reusable containers for drinking water to all employees, and has initiated a program to provide all incoming attorneys with reusable water bottles to reduce the reliance on plastic bottled water and provide coffee mugs at meetings and conferences to reduce use of paper cups. The firm also provides all employees with reusable bags and encourage everyone to limit the use of paper and plastic bags during meals or when running other errands. The firm is in the process of replacing its main paper supply with products containing post-consumer recycled materials and the firm recycles toner cartridges, computers and other electronic equipment.
Cahill has also created the Cahill Green and Wellness (CG&W) Initiative, which has resulted in various programs and policies to benefit its community by decreasing its environmental impact while promoting wellness for its employees.
Cooley launched a social media campaign on Earth Day, acknowledging the sustainability commitment of its approximately 100 clients that are certified B Corporations, which balance purpose and profit and are driving a global movement of people using business as a force for good.
The firm highlighted the sustainability practice of a few of those clients in particular, showing concrete examples of their work in this arena. The efforts of the firm’s clients have always served as inspiration to Cooley – from B Corps like Allbirds, Sweetgreen and Grove Collaborative to other organizations with missions centered around political action and civic engagement, including great environmental nonprofits like the Yosemite Conservancy, Save the Redwoods League and the Environmental Defense Fund, among others – especially now as Cooley looks to bolster its own sustainability commitment.
Joining the Law Firm Sustainability Network this year is the first step of Cooley’s journey to truly realizing its commitment to the world we inhabit.
Hogan Lovells has sent out an Earth Day pledge electronically for employees to sign up to support sustainable actions for the workplace and at home. Employees sign their name electronically to the pledge. The firm also sent out links to Earth Day Network quizzes as an opportunity to educate in a fun and interactive way.
Hogan Lovells is working virtually. The firm tracked paper savings in the short run and, as of the end of March, is already at a 36% lower usage than the first two months of the year. It is also reducing all of the HVAC requirements across all US offices to weekend hours which will have significant energy savings.
Morgan, Lewis is a proud member of the Law Firm Sustainability Network. The global Sustainability Working Group is comprised of lawyers and professional personnel who are serving at the forefront by leading its firm-wide sustainability initiatives. First on the group’s agenda is a comprehensive audit of the firm’s sustainable practices using the ALISS tool in order to develop a thorough roadmap for our program.
Recognizing that the way people want to work is changing, Morgan Lewis in March 2017 established a market-leading, first-of-its-kind Remote Working Program. As the COVID-19 pandemic has spread across the globe, we have stepped up to the call of a sustainable way of working and have transitioned to remote working for the time being.
A key initiative to establish environmental sustainability is the firm’s electronic records management program. To date, Morgan Lewis has digitized approximately 42,000 documents across the firm, and will be fully implemented in all offices by the end of 2020. Appropriate printed material will be securely destroyed, and recycled where suitable, as part of the firm’s shred-all program, which has also been implemented in all offices across the globe. In 2019, this program preserved 13,219 trees, 21,593,974 gallons of water, and 1,780,394 kWh of electricity.
On Earth Day, as well as every day, the firm is committed to taking care of the environment by making conscious choices and following wholesome business practices in turn reducing our environmental impact while contributing to a more sustainable future for all.
Nixon Peabody's internal recognition of Earth Day this year included a news article on its intranet with a suggestions for sustainability activities that can be done from home and highlighting some of its internal sustainability successes.
The firm also joined the Lawyers for a Sustainable Economy initiative, pledging to perform more than $2 million worth of pro bono legal services in support of groups and efforts designed to promote environmental sustainability.
Nixon Peabody recently completed two large office buildouts. It's San Francisco office received a LEED Silver certification and its Boston Office received a LEED Gold certification in 2019.
Orrick created the Green Orrick Network, which enlists participation by attorneys and staff in all of its world-wide offices, and retained an expert consultant to assess its sustainability activities. With assistance from our consultant, the firm conducted an assessment of its carbon footprint and assessed its sustainability activities across all its offices, including its U.S., European and Asian offices. Our offices have adopted sustainability plans and initiatives, including elimination of non-reusable coffee and water cups, two-sided copying, and increased recycling. As part of a firm-wide sustainability initiative, Orrick purchased carbon offsets for all worldwide travel and attendance at its planned 2020 partner meeting in San Antonio, Texas. Although that meeting was not held due to COVID-19 concerns, the carbon offsets will be applied to future business travel. Orrick plans to have speakers raise awareness of the firm's green efforts and accomplishments.
Among the actions undertaken by its offices, the Orrick Paris office has replaced all disposable plastic items with reusable cutlery and crockery, and the Orrick New York office partnered with SweetGreen to arrange for a single delivery for all carry-in lunch deliveries, which reduces transportation emissions, and is planning to work with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority to conduct an audit of office energy use. In its Boston office, Orrick has installed a green roof deck and plans to add another one in 2020, and the London office is acquiring pens made from recycled materials.
Seyfarth is committed to moving along the path to sustainability in order to enhance the well-being of our communities. The firm continues to select third-party vendors based upon mutual sustainability goals. The firm also has five offices, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington, DC that are in LEED certified buildings and the Atlanta office is LEED-certified Gold.
The firm also joined the Lawyers for a Sustainable Economy initiative, pledging to perform more than $500,00 worth of pro bono legal services in support of groups and efforts designed to promote environmental sustainability.
Steptoe Johnson's Chairman, Phil West, shared with the firm the history of Earth Day and its current importance. He also shared how he is celebrating at home and how others can too. The firm's affinity group, Leading Green, held virtual events to discuss the current environmental implications of the stay-at-home global orders.