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Going Green to Stay in the Black

Money-Saving Sustainability Tips

How about doing your firm’s bottom line and the environment a big favor? There are multiple green initiatives that accomplish both. What’s more, going green could help your practice attract clients who are looking for service providers that demonstrate a com mitment to sustainability. Meritas’s Green Guide for Lawyers is a best practices guide developed by the Meritas Leadership Institute to help law firms increase efficiency and reduce waste. Meritas CEO Tanna Moore offers these money-saving sustainability tips that are not only good for the environment-, they can be good for your practice, too.

  • Do away with the paper or polystyrene cups and go with reusable mugs and glasses. Ditch plastic silverware and use the regular, washable kind. This saves money on the costs of disposable cups and utensils and looks more professional.
  • Filter water instead of providing bottled water.
  • Encourage workers to power down computers and turn out the lights at the end of each workday or install motion sensitive switches. This will reduce your electricity bill.
  • Switch to double-sided printing, which can reduce paper usage by as much as 30 to 45 percent. (For a firm that uses 2,000 reams of paper per month, that’s a cost savings of $40,000 to $60,000 per year.)
  • Use Energy Star electronic equipment. A 200-person office using equipment with Energy Star features could save as much as $30,000 annually on its electricity bill.
  • Conduct meetings via videoconference rather than in person to reduce travel expenses.
  • Replace your paper fax system with a system that converts incoming faxes to PDF files for electronic distribution.
  • A dopt the TransitChek program for commuters. It gives benefits to both the employer (reduced payroll taxes) and employee (reduced income taxes) and allows employees to apply pre-tax money to things like mass transit use and parking, so it’s beneficial even in areas where public transit isn’t as much of an option as in other cities.

The Green Guide is modeled after the ABA-EPA Law Office Climate Challenge and is available for download at To join the Law Office Climate Challenge, go to