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by Vault Law Editors | April 14, 2008

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Last November, this blog noted that Nixon Peabody was the first major law firm to appoint a “chief sustainability officer.” Since then, as the New Jersey Law Journal mixed metaphorically observed, “The greening of

To wit:

The American Bar Association has launched a slew of green initiatives, including: ABA-EPA Law Office Climate Challenge Waste Wise (reduction of paper use in the office); Green Power Partnership (the purchase of energy from renewable sources); Energy Star Programs  (encourages 10% energy reduction) and LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, i.e. “green buildings”).

As for individual law firms, it appears—unsurprisinglyNorthern California is at the vanguard of greener practices.  Oakland’s  Wendel, Rosen, Black & Dean, was, back in 2003, the first law firm in the country to be certified as a “green business.” In addition to a ‘Green Biz’ practice group featuring experts in areas such Natural Food Laws and Green Building, the firm has overhauled its own internal practices in order to become more environmentally-friendly:

 The firm switched from 30 percent to 100 percent post-consumer, chlorine-free recycled paper. The change eliminates 40,000 pounds of greenhouse gases that would be created annually, saves 260 mature trees, 24,000 gallons of water and 33,000 kilowatt hours of electricity—enough power to run 3.4 homes for a year.

The greening of Wendel Rosen did experience a couple of setbacks, including a failed attempt to introduce the use of eating utensils made from corn starch—it turned out they dissolved in hot liquids. 

Across the Bay, Farella Braun & Martelwas the first law firm to be certified green by the city of San Francisco and the second firm tracking air emissions with California's Climate Action Registry. Being "green" is considered one of the firm's  "core values."

                                                                       -posted by brian

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