On March 4, I did a radio show on ways to reduce paper and make your law firm more eco-friendly. During the show, I interviewed attorney and Solosezzer, Walter James. While we often read articles and blogs about complex ways to go paperless and reduce our carbon footprint, this show was about real ways attorneys in any size firm can make small changes that will have big impacts. Seven years ago, Walter reduced 200 boxes down to one file cabinet when he made the transition from big law to his own solo practice. Today, this environmental lawyer maintains a “paper less” office and strives for a more eco-friendly office. During our show, he shared his insight from experience and practical tips on how any lawyer can go green.
- In evidence class, one professor told James, “The only time you don’t need the original is when you don’t have the original.” James took that a step further: If you don’t have the original, you don’t need a hard copy.
- Going green isn’t just about the environment; it can have a positive effect on another type of green—money. By reducing paper in your office, you can cut down the cost of storage space, increase efficiency by saving files as searchable documents, and convert dead space into profitable opportunities, such as office space for other attorneys or associates.
- You don’t need tons of equipment to go paperless. James uses a high-speed scanner, software to convert documents to searchable PDF files, and a dedicated server to back up files.
- To keep things organized, his system is simple. He tells his clients to keep the originals, and he stores copies in his own system of folders and file names. Instead of following someone else’s complex system, develop a file system that makes it easy for you to save, search and maintain your files.
- When shopping for a new building, look for environmentally friendly features. Walter’s office has a lot of natural lighting, and he uses motion-sensor lights that shut down automatically if no one is in the room. In addition, he equipped his office with foam insulation and high-efficiency AC units and planted trees around his office to help keep things cool during the summer heat.
For more tips and insight, check out the full show here, and join us on April 6 at 12pm Central for our next show: ABA TechShow Roundup. For more information about Total Expert Radio or any of our other free programs, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.