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Law Firm Goes Green, but Could It Do More?

This piece from MSNBC (5/22/07) discusses how a number of companies are trying to increase their "green-ness" by making business trips more eco-friendly. Efforts range from staying at hotels that tout their environmental efforts and bypassing use of hotel toiletries (to avoid waste). And at least one law firm, Arnold and Porter, is doing its share by purchasing carbon credits to offset business travel. In the article, a firm spokesperson described:

The firm travels in the millions of miles per year in total," says Jonathan Martel, a partner in Arnold & Porter's environmental practice. "It's not easy to reduce the amount of travel lawyers do for clients, but it is something we could offset."

Arnold and Porter's efforts are admirable, but it got me wondering: In this era of high tech, how much travel is really necessary? Clearly, lawyers need to physically attend court hearings (though for minor matters, it would seem to make more sense to retain and send a local per diem attorney). But for routine meetings, or even depositions or matters which the firm is only interested in a limited piece of the case, aren't conference calls and online video an appropriate substitute? Unlike some who believe that carbon credits are a fraud (because they don't reduce pollution), I believe that they're an important tool for financing and encouraging new sources of renewable energy, and I applaud Arnold and Porter for its efforts. Still, at a time when clients are complaining of burgeoning legal costs, it seems that Arnold and Porter could save clients money and protect the environment by using technology to avoid travel where ever possible.

How much do you travel for business -- and how much do you think you could eliminate?

Posted by Carolyn Elefant on May 23, 2007 at 06:20 PM | Permalink | Comments (3)


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